LEXINGTON, Va. – The Washington and Lee football team overcame nine fumbles (five lost) to win its fifth straight game with a 49-21 victory over Bridgewater on Saturday afternoon at Wilson Field.
The Generals (7-2, 4-1) recovered from the setbacks behind the rushing of first-year running back Josh Breece (Lorton, Va. / Stone Bridge) and junior running back Collin Sherman (Virginia Beach, Va. / Cox), who combined for 408 yards and five touchdowns between them.
Breece rushed 27 times for 249 yards and one touchdown, the third-best single-game rushing performance in school history. He now has 1,376 yards for the season, eclipsing the former school-record of 1,325 set by Marc Watson '02 during the 2000 campaign.
Sherman carried 22 times for a career-high 159 yards and a career-best four touchdowns. All four scores came during the second half, when W&L out-scored the Eagles 28-0.
W&L quickly opened a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, as senior running back McKenna Johnston (Jupiter, Fla. / Benjamin School) finished off a 13-play, 74-yard game-opening drive with a 4-yard touchdown run. On Bridgewater's second play of its first offensive set, W&L senior cornerback Grey Reames (Nashville, Tenn. / Montgomery Bell) picked off Bridgewater junior quarterback Jay Scroggins and returned the ball 36 yards for a touchdown.
The rainy conditions then began to affect play late in the first quarter and the Eagles were spotted a short field after sophomore punter Bo Sheridan (Charlotte, N.C. / Woodberry Forest) dropped the punt snap and was tackled on the W&L 14-yardline for a 23-yard loss. Three plays later, Scroggins hit junior wide receiver Rayvon Johnson with a 12-yard touchdown pass that made it 14-7 with 2:32 left in the first quarter.
W&L then fumbled on its next offensive possession and the Eagles recovered at the Generals' 35-yardline. Three plays later first-year running back Raymond Goodman scored on a 5-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 14-14 with 12:59 left in the second quarter.
Breece gave the Generals the lead back just 52 seconds later when he ripped off a 63-yard touchdown run for a 21-14 advantage at the 12:07 mark. W&L forced a 3-and-out on the next BC series, but fumbled the ball away again and the Eagles once again turned the turnover into points. After taking over on its own 45-yardline, Bridgewater found paydirt six plays later on a 13-yard strike from Scroggins to Johnson with 6:46 left in the half.
W&L attempted to grab the lead before the break, driving 58-yard on eight plays, before a fumbled snap on a 1st-and-goal from the BC 3-yardline ended the threat with 19 seconds remaining.
Just as he set a tone for the defense in the first quarter, Reames made another big play to start the second half when he stripped the ball away from Johnson and the fumble was recovered by senior David Hogan (Matthews, N.C. / Charlotte Christian) at the BC 31-yardline. Sherman scored the first of his four second-half touchdowns on a 9-yard run four plays later for a 28-21 lead.
The W&L defense forced three straight 3-and-outs in the third quarter and Sherman extended the lead to 35-21 with a 29-yard touchdown run with 8:45 left in the penultimate quarter. The offense gave the ball away twice more in the quarter on fumbles, but the defense continually forced the Eagles into punts.
Sherman made it 42-21 with a 1-yard touchdown at the 14:00 mark of the fourth quarter and he added another score on a 23-yard scamper with 2:25 remaining.
Overall, the Generals racked up 490 yards of total offense and 449 yards on the ground. Reames finished with five tackles, two forced fumbles and one interception for the defense. Senior linebacker Max Garrett (Fairfield, Conn. / Choate Rosemary Hall) added a team-high 11 stops.
Bridgewater amassed just 205 offensive yards and had three turnovers of its own. Scroggins completed 8-of-15 passes for 90 yards and two touchdowns with one interception, while senior running back Malivai Barker recorded 56 yards on 13 carries. Johnson had three catches for 28 yards and two touchdowns, and sophomore linebacker Gary Ramey, Jr., had a game-high 12 tackles.
Washington and Lee returns to action next Saturday when it travels to Shenandoah for a 1:00 pm contest. A win would give W&L a second ODAC title in the last three seasons.