CONWAY — Freshman wide receiver Spencer Smith’s 34-yard reception as time expired ended just inches from the goal line as the Hendrix College football team lost 45-41 to Washington University at Young-Wise Memorial Stadium on Saturday.
The Warriors (2-3) took a stab at the endzone from the Bears’ (4-2) 35-yard line with 3.4 seconds remaining. Back-up quarterback Tanner Frye threw the ball up near the goal line and the 6-4 Smith came down with it, but was tackled by Andrew Skalman just shy of scoring as the clock ran out.
Wash U. scored the go-ahead touchdown with 51.7 seconds left in the game after a 10-play, 70-yard drive was capped by a 17-yard touchdown pass from Eric Daginella to Zach Strittmatter.
The Bears opened the scoring early in the first quarter after a Warrior turnover at their own five. Cody Rattermann punched it in on the next play to put the Bears up 7-0. Hendrix immediately answered when freshman Dayton Winn returned the ensuing kickoff back 89 yards to tie the game. Alex Hallwachs scored on a 31-yard field goal at the 7:03 mark of the opening quarter to give the Bears a 10-7 lead.
Winn had a two-yard run and freshman quarterback Seth Peters hit freshman Travus McMahon for a two-yard shuttle pass in the second quarter. Zach Lonneman and Danginella scored on two and one-yard runs, respectively in the second as well. Warrior freshman kicker Steve Crenshaw hit a 30 yard field goal as time ran out of the second half to tie the game at 24-24.
In the third quarter, Daginella capped a 12-play, 74-yard drive with another keeper from the one yard line to put Washington up 31-24. Winn tied the game with 5:12 left in the third on a 16-yard run. Ratermann gave the Bears a 38-31 lead with a one-yard rushing TD with 1:07 to play in the third quarter.
Crenshaw made a 21-yard field goal with 12:55 to play to cut the deficit to 38-34. Frye ran the ball in from four yards out with 4:56 to play to give the Warriors a 41-38 lead. The Bears took four minutes off the clock on their next possession and scored the game-winning touchdown with 51.7 seconds left.
Hendrix ran 70 plays for 448 yards, while Wash U. had 81 plays for 524. The Bears possessed the ball for 34:45 of the game.
Winn had 20 carries for 99 yards and two scores. On the day, the Pea Ridge, Ark. product had 216 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns. Peters went 19-of-25 passing for 232 yards and a touchdown before leaving with an injury midway through the fourth quarter. Frye was 7-of-9 for 84 yards. McMahon had eight catches for 92 yards and Smith recorded a season-best six catches for 99 yards.
Lonneman led the Bears’ ground attack with 21 carries and 137 yards. Daginella had 10 carries for 83 yards and two scores and was 19-of-32 for 220 yards and a touchdown.
On defense, redshirt freshman safety Caleb Shannon came up with 16 tackles for Hendrix. Freshman Gray Stanton had 10 tackles, three of which were for a loss, and freshman corner back Matt Ramirez had nine.
Tate Byers led Wash U. with eight tackles, two for a loss, and a forced fumble.
Hendrix will return to Southern Athletic Association play on Saturday, Oct. 19 when they host Berry College.