WASHINGTON – Playing the Old Dominion Athletic Conference preseason favorite Washington & Lee, a team that The Catholic University had only beat four times in the past 35 years, The Cardinals put forth a spirited effort, but were ultimately edged, 23-22.
Catholic scored first and held the lead into the fourth quarter, but the Generals scored twice in the final five minutes, including the game-winning field goal that came off a costly turnover. The fumble recovery gave W&L the ball on the Catholic 15-yard line with just 2:38 to play.
It was a wet and rainy game thanks to the after effects of Hurricane Matthew, as ball security was at a premium throughout. Catholic was able to capitalize on two first-half fumble by the Generals, but a low Cardinals snap on a punt late in the fourth cost the Cards a chance to win, as Washington & Lee converted on the field goal and held the Catholic offense on the final drive.
Rookie quarterback Alejandro Ros made his first career start and threw for 334 yards and a score.
He led the Cards to a touchdown on its first drive of the game, capped off by a three-yard run by sophomore running back by Nick Esposito as Catholic took an early 7-0 lead. The Cardinals went on to add a first quarter field goal by senior Peter Rosa and held W&L on a two-point conversion try late in the second to take a 10-6 lead into the break.
Catholic continued its strong play in the second half as Rosa connected on a 22-yarder on the first drive before junior lineman Patrick Vidal sacked the W&L QB for a safety on the next series and a 16-5 lead.
Washington & Lee answered with a 98-yard drive and touchdown mid-way through the third, but again the Cardinals were able to march and score as Ros found senior wideout Billy Smith for a 25-yard, back corner touchdown.
The fourth quarter was all Washington & Lee however as the Generals scored a touchdown with 4:06 to play before the fateful fumble recovery that set up the game-winning kick.
Both teams totaled over 400 yards of offense, with Washington & Lee utilizing the triple option to gain 434 yards on the ground, completing just one pass for 21 yards.
Senior wide receiver Joe Taylor III had a career game with seven catches and 126 yards, making several contested receptions.
The Cardinals will look to get back in the win column next Saturday on Cardinal Weekend as Catholic hosts Hampden-Sydney at 1 p.m., in the team's Homecoming game.