Warhawks take sole possession of first place with win over Pione - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Warhawks take sole possession of first place with win over Pioneers

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PLATTEVILLE, Wis. – The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater football team picked up timely first downs and stalled a pair of late drives deep in its own territory Saturday to defeat UW-Platteville 17-7 in a Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference contest and the 20th annual George Chryst Memorial Bowl at Pioneer Stadium.

With the win, the Warhawks (8-0 overall, 5-0 WIAC) take sole possession of first place in the conference and extend their winning streak to 25 games, the second-longest run in college football.

UW-Whitewater forced two turnovers in the second half, twice thwarting drives by the Pioneers (6-2, 4-1) deep in its own territory. The Warhawks also converted 6-of-15 on third down, including three in the fourth quarter that helped ice the game away.

“It was a great win and a great game,” UW-Whitewater coach Lance Leipold said. “Our guys are battling, and I'm awfully proud of them. They should be proud of this road win. It was not easy, but we found a way to get it done.”

Senior quarterback Matt Behrendt finished 16-for-27 with 177 yards and two touchdowns, while junior running back Jordan Ratliffe carried 14 times for 105 yards to lead the offense.

Junior wide receiver Justin Howard compiled six receptions for 84 yards, and tight ends Logan Solano and Derric Junakin each caught a touchdown pass.

Junior linebacker Justin Dischler tallied a team-best eight tackles and two forced fumbles to pace the defense. Defensive backs Marcus McLin and Ryan Winske made seven stops apiece, and senior defensive back Brady Grayvold registered five tackles and his 11th interception in his last 13 games.

Sophomore defensive lineman Ben Threloff led the effort up front with two tackles for a loss, including one sack. Junior defensive lineman Kevon Clunis also had a sack.

Following the game, Behrendt and Dischler were named George Chryst Memorial Bowl Players of the Game for UW-Whitewater.

The two teams combined to punt seven times on the first seven possessions before UW-Platteville got on the board midway through thesecond quarter.

The Pioneers marched 80 yards in 10 plays, finishing the drive with an eight-yard touchdown pass to take a 7-0 lead with 7:25 on theclock. It was the second time the Warhawks trailed in any game this season.

After two empty possessions, UW-Whitewater took advantage of a short field to tie the game at 7-7 with six seconds to play in the half.

The Warhawks forced a punt with just under a minute left in the second quarter, and got the ball at the UW-Platteville 40-yard line.

UW-Whitewater drove inside the Pioneers' 10-yard line. After two incompletions, Behrendt found Solano in the left corner of the end zone for a 7-yard touchdown to level the contest and give the Warhawks momentum heading into the locker room.

After a punt by UW-Platteville to open the second half, Behrendt connected with Howard for a 60-yard pass up the seam of the field to set up a 35-yard field goal by freshman kicker Will Meyer to give UW-Whitewater a 10-7 advantage with 6:55 on the clock in the third quarter. It was Meyer's second-longest field goal make of the season.

The Warhawks found the end zone for the first time in the second half early in the fourth quarter as Behrendt threw to Junakin, who found the right pile-on to put UW-Whitewater ahead by two possessions with 14:35 remaining in the period.

On the ensuing drive, the Pioneers drove deep into Warhawks territory, but Dischler stripped Russell Martin and sophomore linebacker Paul Foster recovered the fumble at the UW-Whitewater 10-yard line with 12:57 toplay.

After a UW-Whitewater punt, UW-Platteville drove all the way down to the Warhawks' 11-yard line, but Grayvold intercepted Bryce Corrigan near the goal line on third down.

UW-Whitewater ran out the clock on its next possession.

The George Chryst Memorial Bowl is named for former UW-Platteville head coach George Chryst, who died suddenly at the age of 55 in 1992. The winner of the game, which is dedicated to Chryst's memory, earns the Miner's Pick, the rivalry trophy.

The Warhawks close out their regular season home schedule next Saturday against UW-Stevens Point at 1 p.m. at Perkins Stadium. The affair marks Senior Day, Shriner's Day and Military Appreciation Day.

With a victory next Saturday, UW-Whitewater clinches at least a share of the WIAC title.

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