Jackson, Miss., Oct. 22, 2016 – Washington University in St. Louis head football Larry Kindbom picked up career win No. 200 in a thrilling 31-28 victory at Millsaps College Saturday in Jackson, Miss.
Kindbom became the 80th coach among all NCAA divisions (14th active) to reach the 200-win plateau. He was 28-30-1 in six seasons at Kenyon College, and is 172-106 in 28 years at WashU, for a career mark of 200-136-1 (.595).
"I'm ecstatic for our players. I thought we had our backs against the wall, but I am excited that when it was all said and done that we prevailed," said Kindbom, who ranks third in NCAA Division III victories by active coaches.
WashU improved its overall record to 6-1, 5-1 in the Southern Athletic Association (SAA), while Millsaps fell to 2-5, 1-4 in the SAA. The win for WashU kept the Bears in a four-way tie for first-place in the SAA standings.
With WashU leading by three with 39 seconds remaining, Millsaps drove to the WashU six-yard line and called timeout to set up for the game-tying field goal. WashU followed with a pair of timeouts, and then Millsaps was called for a fall start pushing the ball back to the 11-yard line.
On the ensuing play, junior defensive lineman Jared Lake got a hand on the 29-yard field goal attempt by Millsaps' Carson King to secure the Bears' fifth-straight win. Lake also made three solo tackles and added a blocked extra point in the first quarter.
Senior quarterback J.J. Tomlin went 25-for-37 with 305 yards and three touchdowns in the win, and passed Thor Larsen (1994-97) for the all-time school record with 69 TD passes.
Millsaps drove the field on its opening drive to take an early 6-0 lead, but WashU answered back with a TD following a one-yard TD run by senior Austin Smestad to give WashU the early 7-6 advantage.
Millsaps pushed the advantage to 13-6 with a one-yard run by Taz Watson with 10:56 left in the second quarter. Tomlin was picked off on back-to-back possessions, and a 22-yard field goal by King made it 16-7.
WashU answered back with a seven-play, 81-yard drive in 1:16, capped by a 10-yard screen pass for a TD from Tomlin to sophomore running back Logan Bash. The extra point by junior Dan Kalvaitis was good with 35 seconds left and trimmed the deficit to 16-14.
WashU's defense limited to Millsaps to 176 yards in the first half, and forced three punts. Tomlin was 13-of-21 for 154 yards.
The Bears marched into Millsaps territory on their first possession of the third quarter, and went for it on 4th-and-6 on the Major 28-yard line. Tomlin was pushed out the pocket, and then found senior tight end Matt Page open across the middle for a 28-yard touchdown.
After another stop by the WashU defense, Kalvaitis split the upright from 37 yards to push the advantage to 24-16. Watson scored a pair of touchdowns to give Millsaps the 28-24 lead with 10:17 to play.
Following Watson's fourth TD of the day, WashU marched right back down the field and took the 31-28 lead following a 59-yard pass from Tomlin to senior wide receiver Kevin Hammarlund.
Hammarlund went over 100 yards for the fourth-straight game with nine receptions for 148 yards and a TD. He passed Vernon Butler (1994-97) into second place in school history for receiving yards (2,547), and is one reception shy of 200 for his career. Page added eight catches for 85 yards and a TD in the win.
Sophomore defensive lineman Michael Iloegbunam (four tackles, two tackles for loss, one sack) and senior defensive lineman Josiah Situmeang (four tackles, one tackle for loss, one sack) also had dominant performances for the WashU defensive, who limited Millsaps to 356 yards of total offense.
"The specialness is the kids, Kindbom added. "I am glad we won, but the scoreboard is an imposter. But what is not is the kids. The way they play and the passion they show on the field. I am just glad to be a part of it."
WashU steps out of SAA play to host Case Western Reserve University on Saturday, Oct. 29, at noon.
BEAR NOTEBOOK: Millsaps leads the all-time series 8-2, but WashU has won the last two meetings … Tomlin threw for more than 300 yards for the 14th time in his career … The Bears are of to their best start since the 2007 … WashU has won four-straight road games … Freshman Johnny Davidson averaged 47.0 yards per punt.