|Matt Blanchard completed 19 of 25 passes for 289
yards and ran for 46 more in his first start at
Photo by Darryl Tessman, d3photography.com
Adrian went into its contest at No. 1 UW-Whitewater with a shock-the-world mentality and after the first quarter it looked like maybe the Bulldogs could. But the defending national champion Warhawks capitalized in the second quarter with 12 points heading into the locker room and the Adrian offense never got going after the break in a 35-0 loss on Saturday afternoon at Perkins Stadium.
Both teams took a while to settle in to a rhythm. The teams
combined for just one more first down than punts (5-4) in the
scoreless first quarter, and Whitewater scored two touchdowns in
the second to take a 12-0 lead into halftime. The Warhawks scored
more points in the third, 13, than they did in the first half, and
wrapped up with 10 more in the fourth.
Whitewater opened the scoring with a 17 yard pass from Matt Blanchard to Adam Brandes. The drive started when Warhawk punter Kris Rosholt pinned the Bulldogs at the 1-yard line. Three plays netted 1 additional yard, and UW-W took possession on Adrian's 44.
UW-W also scored the next time it had the ball, moving 70 yards in nine plays, with junior quarterback Matt Blanchard running the ball the last six yards for the Warhawks' 12-0 lead at the half.
A Blanchard-to-Adam Brandes 26-yard pass capped an 85-yard drive for the Warhawks at 6:13 in the third quarter. For the third time UW-W failed to convert the point after, making the score 18-0.
That drive signaled that the Warhawk offense was feeling more comfortable, as UW-W scored on four consecutive possessions in the second half.
The next time Whitewater had the ball the Warhawks covered 60 yards in seven plays, with Blanchard tossing a 5 yard score to Aaron Rusch. Whitewater led 25-0 after a change in kickers led to the first successful PAT of the day.
Rusch, UW-W's all-time leader in career receptions and receiving yards, scored his first rushing touchdown on a five yard run with 1:02 left in the third.
Eric Kindler kicked the first field goal of the season with 12:35 left in the game, putting it through the uprights from 24 yards to give Whitewater a 28-0 lead.
Booker Stanley's three yard run with 2:21 remaining, and Kindler's kick, capped the scoring.
Whitewater's defense limited Adrian to 162 yards, including 74 on 41 rushing attempts, a 1.8 yard per carry average. UW-W's offense totaled 472 yards, with 183 of those coming on the ground with a 4.9 per carry average. The shutout was UW-W's first since a 58-0 win over Midland Lutheran in the second game of the 2009 season, a string of thirteen games. Defensive back Matt McCulloch and linebacker Lane Olson topped the Warhawk defenders with 9 tackles each, with seven of McCullouch's coming on solo stops.
The Warhawk offense averaged 4.9 yards per carry because four players (Levell Coppage, Antwan Anderson, Blanchard and Stanley) gained 35-53 yards each. None averaged less than 4.4 per attempt. It marked the first time since October 24 of last season, a run of eight games, that Whitewater has not had a 100 yard rusher in a game. Blanchard, in his first start, completed 19-25 passes for 289 yards and no interceptions. Rusch, 5 for 78, and Brandes, 4 for 131, led the receiving corps.
Quarterback Justin Hemm led Adrian with 47 yards rushing on 17 carries, also completing 5-10 passes for 24 yards with one interception. Mike McGee came on in the fourth quarter as Adrian played catch-up to complete 9-11 passes for 64 yards. Mitch Gabriele and Kyle Timmis split six catches and 57 yards evenly (okay, one yard plus to Gabriele) for AC. Safety Darren Walter led the Bulldogs with nine tackles, four of them solo.