Warhawks Win Thriller at UW-Oshkosh, Advance to NCAA Semifinals - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Warhawks Win Thriller at UW-Oshkosh, Advance to NCAA Semifinals

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OSHKOSH – The No. 5 ranked University of Wisconsin-Whitewater football team stopped a two-point conversion late in the fourth quarter and made another defensive stop in the final minutes Saturday to hold on for a 31-29 victory over third-ranked UW-Oshkosh in a thrilling NCAA Division III Playoffs quarterfinal match-up at J.J. Keller Field at Titan Stadium.

The Warhawks (12-1 overall) advance to the national semifinals, where they’ll face top-ranked Mount Union (Ohio), a 56-35 winner against No. 11 Wesley (Del.). It is the Warhawks’ 10th appearance in the NCAA’s final four in 11 years.

Game time and location will be announced Sunday.

After converting a touchdown with 3:42 left in the contest, the Titans (11-2) went for two to tie the affair. UW-Whitewater stopped thepass play at the 1-yard line and declined an offensive pass interference penalty to keep its lead at two.

After being forced into a three-and-out on the ensuing possession, the Warhawks held on fourth-and-four in their own territory with 1:08 on the clock as Brett Kasper’s class sailed high for an incompletion.

Senior running back Jordan Ratliffe, who tallied his seventh 100-yard rushing game of the year with 34 carries for 164 yards and two touchdowns, picked up a first down on the second play of the next drive to ice away the contest.

Freshman running back Jarrod Ware added 59 yards on eight carries for UW-Whitewater, which rushed for 240 yards on the day.

Junior quarterback Chris Nelson finished 14-of-30 passing for 170 yards and two scores. Junior wide receiver Marcus Hudson registered six receptions for 106 yards and two touchdowns for his fifth 100-yard effort of the year.

Senior defensive back Ryan Winske led the Warhawks’ defense with 10 tackles. Senior defensive back Dylan Morang contributed eight stops, while junior linebacker Paul Foster recorded seven tackles and his second interception of the season. Sophomore linebacker Matt Seitz totaled six tackles, including one sack.

UW-Whitewater continued its strong play in the first quarter during the 2015 season, taking a 10-0 advantage through one period.

The Warhawks drove 74 yards in eight plays on their first possession. Ware posted carries of 20 and 26 yards to set up Ratliffe’s two-yard run with 9:28 remaining in the quarter.

Senior linebacker Justin Dischler intercepted Kasper later in the quarter to help set up a 33-yard field goal by sophomore kicker Will Meyer to make it a 10-point game with 1:28 left.

UW-Oshkosh responded late in the second quarter, scoring twice in the final 3:27 of the frame to make it 10-10 at halftime.

Just over a minute into the second half, Nelson hit Hudson wide open down the right sideline for a 48-yard touchdown to give UW-Whitewater a 17-10 advantage.

Following a Titan touchdown and missed extra point, the Warhawks converted three third downs and a fourth down on a 13-play, 63-yard drive to make it 24-16. Nelson and Hudson connected on third and goal from five yards out with 8:40 on the clock.

With 1:21 left in the third, Ratliffe found the end zone for the second time to cap a five-play, 55-yard drive. He posted 31 yards on the drive, finishing it with a five-yard run around left end to give UW-Whitewater a 31-16 lead.

UW-Oshkosh scored two minutes into the fourth quarter, and the Warhawks punted on their next two possessions to set up the final five minutes of the contest.

Next Saturday’s semifinal will be a rematch of last season’s Stagg Bowl national championship game. UW-Whitewater downed Mount Union 43-34 for its sixth NCAA championship in eight years.

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