Warhawks move on to national quarterfinals with win over Wabash - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Warhawks move on to national quarterfinals with win over Wabash

Posted: Updated:

WHITEWATER, Wis. – The No. 1 University of Wisconsin-Whitewater football team piled up nearly 500 yards of total offense and tallied 28 second-half points Saturday en route to a 38-14 victory over14th-ranked Wabash (Ind.) in an NCAA Division III Playoffs second round contest at Perkins Stadium.

With the win, the Warhawks (12-0 overall) advance to next Saturday's quarterfinals, where they'll take on No. 5 Wartburg (Iowa), a 21-10 winner over No. 13 St. John's (Minn.) in the second round. Time and location of the game will be announced tomorrow (Sunday).

The team also increased its current winning streak to 29 games, the highest in all of college football regardless of division.

UW-Whitewater's defense stymied the vaunted running game of the Little Giants (10-2), holding Wabash to 112 rushing yards at a rate of 2.9 yards per carry and a total of 234 yards. The Warhawks also forced three turnovers and registered three sacks.

Senior quarterback Matt Behrendt led the offense, throwing for 299 yards and matching a season high with four touchdowns through the air. Senior wide receiver Justin Howard was a recipient of three of Behrendt's scoring throws and caught six passes for 126 yards.

Junior running back Dennis Moore rushed for a career high 107 yards on 22 carries, and junior wide receiver Joe Worth totaled six receptions for 73 yards. Senior wide receiver Jake Kumerow added three receptions for 75 yards and a touchdown, his 11th of the season.

Junior linebacker Justin Dischler led the defense with 13 tackles and a pair of forced fumbles to raise his team-leading season total to six. Senior defensive back Zach Nellis recorded seven stops, a fumble recovery and a pass breakup.

Senior defensive back Brady Grayvold contributed his team-leading seventh interception of the season and also recovered a fumble. Grayvold now has 15 interceptions in his last 18 games and four picks returned for touchdowns in his career.

Freshman linebacker Matt Seitz and sophomore defensive lineman Tim Regan each contributed with one sack.

The Warhawks forced a three-and-out on Wabash's first drive, then marched 61 yards in just 1:43 as Behrendt connected with Howard from 18 yards out for the team's eighth game-opening touchdown drive with 11:18 left in the first quarter.

After another punt by the Little Giants and a pair of UW-Whitewater turnovers, the Warharks forced a Wabash miscue inside the redzone. Junior linebacker Justin Dischler stripped running back Mason Zurek, and senior defensive back Brady Grayvold recovered and returned it near midfield at the 12:16 mark of the second quarter.

On the ensuing drive, a field goal attempt by freshman kicker Will Meyer was blocked by the Little Giants and returned all the way back to the end zone to level the score at 7-7 with 10:50 remaining in the period.

The two teams exchanged punts before Meyer sent a 27-yard field goal attempt through the uprights to make it 10-7 with just over a minute left in the second.

UW-Whitewater finished the half with 298 total yards, including 122 rushing yards, more than double what the Little Giants, who entered the game leading the nation in rushing defense, allow on average per game.

Behrendt was picked off three plays into the third quarter, but Wabash missed a 47-yard field goal after a sack by junior defensive lineman Zach Franz and sophomore defensive lineman John Flood and a penalty pushed it out of the red zone.

Following a Warhawks punt, Dischler forced a fumble on the Little Giants' first play of the drive and Nellis recovered to give UW-Whitewater the ball at the Wabash 20-yard line.

Two plays later, Behrendt lofted to the corner for Kumerow, who rose above a defender and came down with an 18-yard scoring catch at the 9:26 mark of the quarter.

After a punt by the Little Giants, the Warhawks drove just over midfield and Behrendt threw to a wide-open Howard down the seam of the field for a 46-yard score to make it 24-7 with 3:33 left in the third.

UW-Whitewater broke the game open just under five minutes into the fourth quarter as Behrendt found Howard on third down from 16 yards out.

Two plays into the next Wabash drive, Grayvold stepped in front of a short Connor Rice pass and took it back for a 34-yard touchdown,moving the score to 38-7 with 9:58 remaining.

The Little Giants added a touchdown on fourth down with 2:27 left in the contest. It was the first touchdown allowed by the Warhawks' defense in the postseason, spanning over seven quarters of action.

Powered by Frankly