Warhawks rout Muskies 45-27 in first round of NCAA Division III - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Warhawks rout Muskies 45-27 in first round of NCAA Division III playoffs

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The No. 1/2 University of Wisconsin-Whitewater football team tallied 31 first-half points, including 24 in the second quarter, on Saturday en route to a 45-27 triumph over Lakeland in the first round of the NCAA Division III Football Championships at Perkins Stadium.

The Warhawks (11-0 overall) extended their home winning streak to a school-record 31 games and advanced to the second round, where they’ll face 17th-ranked Wittenberg (Ohio), a 33-30 first-round winner in four overtimes at No. 15 Thomas More (Ky.), next Saturday at noon at a location to be determined Sunday.

UW-Whitewater finished with 263 yards rushing and 485 total yards while holding the Muskies (7-4) to 27 yards on the ground.

The Warhawks held the ball for more than 37 minutes of the contest and converted 8-of-16 on third down.

Freshman running back Josh Ringelberg totaled 27 carries for 142 yards and three touchdowns, all career highs. Senior quarterback Chris Nelson completed 8-of-15 passes for 214 yards and three scores.

Junior wide receiver Marcus Hudson posted four receptions for 71 yards and a touchdown, and junior tight end Tony Gumina registered two receptions for a career-high 89 yards and one score.

Sophomore linebacker Bryce Leszczynski recorded a team-best eight tackles, including three for a loss. Senior defensive lineman Yuri Pogosyan was one of four players with two tackles for a loss, both on sacks.

UW-Whitewater struck first late in the opening period, taking advantage of a bad snap on a Lakeland punt. Ringelberg carried six times on the drive and converted two third downs, including his 3-yard scoring run on third and goal to give the team a 7-0 advantage with 4:09 remaining.

Sophomore Canton Larson took a reverse 25 yards on the final play of the quarter, and 15 more yards were added to the end of the run on a Lakeland personal foul. Four plays later, Ringelberg found the end zone from eight yards out to make it 14-0 with 12:50 to play in the second.

After a short punt later in the quarter, Nelson hit sophomore wide receiver Mitchell Dess for a 21-yard score to make it a three-touchdown contest with 5:58 left in the half.

On the Warhawks’ next possession, Nelson found Gumina for a 49-yard touchdown for a 28-0 lead with 4:01 on the clock.

After a Muskie 93-yard scoring play, junior kicker Will Meyer knocked in a 41-yard field goal to give UW-Whitewater a 31-7 advantage heading into halftime.

With 9:08 left in the third quarter, Nelson tossed a shovel pass to Hudson for an 11-yard score to make it 38-7.

Following a Lakeland touchdown, Ringelberg found the end zone from three yards with 2:50 left in the frame. The play was set up by a33-yard pass from Nelson to sophomore wide receiver Canton Larson two playsearlier.

The Muskies tacked on two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to account for the final margin.

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