The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater wrapped up its fifth consecutive Wisconsin Intercollegdiate Athletic Conference title and the league's automatic berth in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III championship playoffs with a 40-7 win over UW-Oshkosh in Perkins Stadium Saturday afternoon.
The Warhawk football team's run of five consecutive league championships is the second longest streak since the WIAC crowned its first champion in 1913 (UW-La Crosse, six, 1949-54) and the second longest for any sport in UW-Whitewater history (wrestling, 19074-80).
Whitewater went 70 yards on twelve plays, including seven rushes by Levell Coppage, ending a five yard TD from Coppage at 2:43.
UW-W mounted another long drive late in the second quarter, going 89 yards on 14 plays. Coppage accounted for 47 of the yards on nine carries, ending with another score from six yards out, making it 14-0 with 5:34 left in the half.
Whitewater's defense held Oshkosh to three plays and a punt, and the Warhawks set up for their final score in the half. Moving from their own 35 to the Oshkosh 18, Jeff Schebler converted a 35-yard field goal with two seconds left in the half.
UW-W took the opening kickoff of the second half and went 65 yards in eleven plays. Jeff Donovan floated a pass over an Oshkosh defender into the arms of John Novak in the corner of the end zone from eleven yards out. UW-W missed the extra point, making it 23-0 with 9:38 left in the third.
Late in the third the Warhawks began another drive, starting from their own 36 and setting up Schebler for a 39-yard field goal to put UW-W up 26-0 with 13:57 left in the game.
Oshkosh drove the ball from their own 25 to Whitewater's 28, but two incompleted passes on third and fourth down turned the ball over to UW-W. After a six yard run by Coppage, he took the next handoff from Donovan and outran the Oshkosh defense for a 66-yard score to up the margin to 33-0. The dash was the second longest offensive play of the season for UW-W, behind only a 68-yard run by Coppage at UW-Stevens Point October 31.
Oshkosh began another drive at their ten. Two rushes, an incomplete pass, and an Oshkosh penalty set the ball at the Oshkosh 25. Tyler Wegner, Oshkosh's number two quarterback, threw a pass into coverage that was tipped by an Oshkosh receiver and picked out of the air by Paul Coburn to go 75 yards for the Titans' only score of the day.
Aaron Samplawksi returned the ensuing kickoff 60 yards to the Oshkosh 28. Four plays later, all C.J. Miller runs, UW-W ended the scoring at 0:52.
Coppage rushed 27 times for 209 yards, his third 200+ game in his two year career. He rushed for 235 against Eau Claire September 13 last year and 387 versus Eau Claire October 10 this season. With 2,950 yards Coppage moved in to seventh place on the UW-W career rushing list, passing John D'Amato (2,852, 1995-97). The three touchdowns give him 43 career rushing scores, second only to Justin Beaver's (2004-2007) 44.
Schebler's ten points today inched him closer to the NCAA record. Schebler, who already owns the Division III career kick scoring record, has the all-time all-division NCAA mark set by Art Carmody of Louisville (2004-2007), 433 points, in sight.
Warhawk QB Jeff Donovan, who has completed 73% of his passes this season, didn't hurt his percentage with a 29-33 day for 229 yards, one TD and one interception. Senior wideout Jordan Wells set a personal collegiate high with 12 catches for 90 yards.
Whitewater's defense still has not yielded a point in the first quarter this season. DB Jeremy Diebert led the team with five solo tackles, and DB Troney Shumpert had five total tackles and one tackle for a loss. Linebacker #Kyle Supianoski led UW-W with seven total tackles. Oshkosh linebacker James Taraboi was the game's leading tackler with 16 total, including ten solo. Taraboi also had a tackle for a loss. Titan free safety Jack Breese was credited with 14 total tackles, and strong safety Frank Martin was also in double figures, with 11.
Freshman QB Nate Wara completed 19-30 passes for 145 yards with no interceptions. He spread his completions among eleven receivers. Wara also led the Titans with 34 yards rushing on eight carries.
UW-W, 9-0 overall and 6-0 in the WIAC, is 35-1 at Perkins Stadium since the start of the 2005 season. The Warhawks have also won 38 of their last 39 WIAC games, and are 64-5 in that span. The Warhawks will conclude the regular season at UW-La Crosse next week. The NCAA III playoffs will begin November 21, with sites and opponents announced Monday, November 16.