UW-Whitewater wins season opener against Washington University
UW-Whitewater, number one in the D3football.com poll, held Washington University without a first down and to zero yards of offense in the first half on the way to a 34-0 victory Friday night at Francis Field in Saint Louis.
The Warhawks received the opening kickoff, which went into the endzone for a touchback. UW-W drove to the Bears' 26 before stalling. Eric Kindler (Germantown/Germantown) kicked a 43 yard field goal to make it 3-0 with 11:43 left in the first quarter.
Later in the quarter Whitewater started a drive, short-lived, at their 11 yard line. The Bears forced a fumble and Tate Byers recovered at the 22. Three plays later Dan Burkett's pass was picked off by Marcus McLin (Delevan/Delevan) at the 13 to end the threat.
In the second quarter, an Eric Kindler (Germantown/Germantown) punt pinned Washington back at the ten, and three plays later a Bear punt rolled dead at their 35, setting up the Warhawk offense, which took five plays to up the lead to 10-0 with 8:15 on the clock. The final 17 yards came on a second and seven, Lee Brekke (Sun Prairie/Sun Prairie) connecting with Steve Morris (Racine/Horlick). Kindler added the extra point.
Whitewater linebacker Kyle Wismer (Spring Grove, IL/Richmond-Burton) stopped the Bears' next drive with his interception at the WashU 28. Three plays later Desmin Ward (Milwaukee/Hamilton) rumbled right for a 19 yard score, making it 17-0 with 6:57 on the clock.
Kindler kicked a 21 yard field goal with 0:17 left in the half to send Whitewater into the locker room with a 20-0 lead.
UW-W gained 238 yards in the half, while Washington had two yards passing and minus two rushing. Brekke completed 10-19 for 129 yards, with one interception, and Ward rushed nine times for 66 yards. Steve Morris (Racine/Horlick) caught seven Brekke passes for 103 yards in the half.
WashU moved into Whitewater territory midway through the third quarter, but Warhawk linebacker Cole Klotz (Elm Grove/New Berlin Eisenhower) picked off the pass at the 33.
Later in the quarter the Warhawk defense bottled up Washington again, but Whitewater fumbled the ball on a punt return to set the Bears up at midfield. McLin's second interception of the game not only ended that threat, but he took the return to the house, 59 yards, to increase Whitewater's lead to 27-0 with 1:54 left in the third.
Early in the fourth, facing a first and goal and the Bear 8, wide receiver Tyler Huber (Mukwonago/North Prairie) ran the ball in with a end around, upping the margin to 34-0 with 12:13 left in the game.
A combination of Bear defense and driving rain caused a Whitewater fumble, picked up by Chris LaBarge and returned to the Whitewater 43.
Both teams took the opportunity for the rest of the game to get game experience for backups.
The Warhawk offense produced 376 yards, while the defense limited the Bears to 55, ten on the ground and 45 on 9-25 passing -- with four interceptions. Defensive back Ryan Wenkman (Wisconsin Dells/Wisconsin Dells), and linebackers Klotz and Wismer, led UW-W with six tackles apiece. Bear junior linebacker Peter Lowery and sophomore back Ryan Bednar each collected a game high 11 tackles. Ward broke the 100 yard mark, carrying the ball 14 times for 108 yards. Brekke wound up 13-25 for 141 yards, with the one pick.
UW-W, a member of the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, and Washington, from the University Athletic Association, were both tabbed to win their respective league titles (the Bears as co-champion) in preseason polls.
The victory adds to Whitewater's win streak, now at 46 games, longest active streak in college football and fourth longest, and one away from tying the University of Oklahoma for third place all-time in the NCAA.
Whitewater has a bye next week, then will host Buffalo State College Saturday, September 15 at 1:00 in Perkins Stadium. The game has been designated as National Champions and Youth Day. Whitewater's national champion football, men's basketball, women's gymnastics, women's wheelchair basketball and men's wheelchair basketball will be honored at halftime.
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