Washington U. Falls at No. 6 Wittenberg, 37-7

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No. 6 ranked Wittenberg University raced out to a 21-point first quarter lead en route to a 37-7 victory over visiting Washington University in St. Louis on Saturday afternoon at Edwards-Maurer Field in Springfield, Ohio.

It was the Josh McKee show for the Tigers, as the senior wide receiver had nine catches for a school record 318 yards and five touchdowns. McKee had five catches for 157 yards and three touchdowns in the first quarter.

On the second play from scrimmage, junior quarterback Ben Zoeller connected with McKee for a 64-yard touchdown pass to make it 7-0.  Zoeller found McKee open for an eight-yard TD to push the lead to 14-0, and then McKee was left wide open on a 33-yard halfback pass to push the Wittenberg lead to 21-0. The Tigers rolled up 220 yards off offense in the first quarter.

A 28-yard field goal by Sean Williams and a 41-yard touchdown reception from Zoeller to McKee made it 31-0 at halftime. McKee had eight catches for 251 yards and four touchdowns in the first half, as Wittenberg had a 395-23 advantage in total offense.

Zoeller completed 14-of-21 for 322 yards and three touchdowns in the first half for the Tigers. Junior punter Austin Morman was the lone bright spot for the Bears in the first half, connecting on four punts for a 41.8 average.

McKee recorded his school record fifth touchdown of the day as he raced down the sideline with 13:18 left in the fourth quarter to push Wittenberg's lead to 37-0. Senior Jim O'Brien's 36-yard touchdown run with 3:27 left in the fourth quarter ended the shutout for the Tiger and cut the lead to 37-7. O'Brien finished the day with 13 carries for 81 yards, moving just 39 yards away from 2,000 for his career. 

Wittenberg (3-0) rolled up 533 yards of total offense, and limited Washington University to 195. Senior quarterback Stephen Sherman was 10-of-18 for 59 yards, but was picked off three times. Junior linebacker Nick Hillard made a team-best eight tackles for Washington University. He also had two tackles for loss, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Senior defensive lineman Greg Larson and senior defensive back Nick Vom Brack added seven stops in the loss.

Washington University (1-2) returns home on Saturday, Sept. 25, to take on Westminster College. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Francis Field.

Bear Notebook: Wittenberg leads the all-time series, 2-1 … Senior Brandon Brown made his 33rd-consecutive start at defensive back … Wittenberg head coach Joe Fincham recorded his 129th career victory, tied for most in school history.