St. Louis, Mo., September 22, 2012 — Sophomore Ryan Bednar's 84-yard interception return for a touchdown midway through the third quarter gave Washington University in St. Louis the lead for good as the Bears picked up heir first win of the season in a 28-23 victory over Kenyon College on Saturday afternoon at Francis Field in St. Louis.
With Kenyon driving deep into Bears' territory, Bednar intercepted Kenyon quarterback Dan Shannon on the Kenyon 16-yard line and returned it for the touchdown. The interception for Bednar was his first of the season and fourth of his career.
Washington U. extended the lead to double figures at 28-17 with 12:32 to play after senior Dan Burkett found sophomore Ryan Lubatkin wide open in the corner of the end zone for a 16-yard TD pass. The touchdown for Lubatkin was the first of his career.
Kenyon's lone score of the second half was a 10-yard touchdown reception from Shannon to Carlo Gagliardo with 8:50 left that cut the WUSTL lead to 28-23. Gagliardo finished the day with 10 catches for 138 yards and three touchdowns.
After a failed Washington U. fake field goal on the Kenyon 24-yard line, the Lords had once last chance to take the lead but Shannon was picked off by junior defensive back Andrew Skalman to seal the victory. The interception for Skalman was his team-leading second of the year.
Burkett finished the day 17-of-26 for 149 yards and two TDs and also picked up 59 yards on the yards on the ground on six carries. Senior running back Chris Castelluccio had up a season-high 99 yards on 27 carries, as Washington U. gained a season-high 161 yards on the ground. Senior wide receiver Drew Sexton had five catches for 82 yards and TD, while senior H-back Trevor LaBarge added five receptions for 41 yards.
Freshman linebacker Matt Goad made a career-high eight tackles to lead the defensive unit, while senior defensive lineman William Small made seven solo stops. Sophomore linebacker Fade Oluokun added five stops and two break-ups after missing last week's game against Coe. Washington U. outgained Kenyon 344-285 and had a 32:50-27:10 advantage in time of possession.
With junior quarterback Eric Daginella under center for the first start of his career, he orchestrated a seven-play, 50-yard drive to get Washington U. on the scoreboard on its opening drive. Castelluccio capped the drive with an 11-yard touchdown run to make it 7-0. The big play of the drive was a 26-yard completion from Daginella to Sexton on 3rd-and-16. Daginella was injured during the drive and was replaced at quarterback by Burkett.
Washington University's defense kept Kenyon's offense on its heals early in the contest, allowing 43 yards of total offense on the first four drives. The Bears forced the Lords into four punts on its first four possessions.
With Daginella still on the bench, Burkett drove the Bears into Kenyon territory following a 41-yard run on 3rd-and-6. Four plays later, Burkett found Sexton in the end zone for a 26-yard touchdown pass on a 4th-and-4. Sexton was taken down on the play but some how gathered the ball while on the ground.
Kenyon (2-2) scored 17 points in the final 8:47 in the second quarter as the Lords took a 17-14 lead to half. Shannon found Gagliardo on a play-action pass for 34 yards to make it 14-7 with 8:47 left in the second quarter. After the Lords forced a three-and-out, Kenyon's Sam Howard connected on a 21-yard field goal to make it 14-10.
Kenyon was not done yet for the half as the Lords took advantage of a costly fake punt by Washington U. to take over on the Bears' 32-yard with 1:02 to play. Two plays later, Gagliardo took a screen pass from Shannon and broke a few tackles and found the end zone to make it 17-14. Washington U. had a 201-177 advantage in total offense in first half, but gave up 131 yards through the air.
Washington U. (1-3) plays its second road game of the season on Saturday, Sept. 29, at DePauw University. Game time is set for 1 p.m. (ET) in Greencastle, Ind. The Tigers are off to an 0-3 start and fired head coach Robby Long on Sept. 16.
Bear Notebook: Washington U. and Kenyon met for the first time in school history … Head coach Larry Kindbom spent six seasons as head coach of Kenyon (1983-88) compiling an overall record of 28-30-1 (.483) … Dating back to the 2007 season, the Bears have won their last 19 games when scoring 21 or more points.