|UW-Whitewater celebrated a seventh-annual national semifinal victory.|
No. 1 UW-Whitewater made it seven consecutive Stagg Bowls, jumping out to a 17-0 lead at halftime and cruising to a 20-0 win against No. 3 St. Thomas.
UW-Whitewater rushed for 173 yards, 110 by Levell
Coppage, against Division III's top rushing defense
in a 20-0 win over Saint Thomas.
The first time UW-W's offense was on the field they marched 57 yards in ten plays, with quarterback Matt Blanchard tossing his 23rd touchdown pass of the season, this time three yards to fullback Bernie Tamsett with 8:01 left in the first quarter.
UST came back with a 14 play drive. Facing a fourth and seven at Whitewater's 23, quarterback Dakota Tracy missed tight end Jon Nelson and the Warhawks took over.
On the first play following that stop, Coppage broke a 44 yard run that ended at the Saint Thomas 33. Six plays later Eric Kindler's 32 yard field goal made it 10-0 Whitewater with 13:31 in the second quarter.
Again Saint Thomas responded, using ten plays to cover 41 yards. Tim Albright's 31 yard field goal attempt was wide right.
Whitewater's next drive was (almost) all Blanchard. Blanchard, either throwing or running, accounted for 79 of the 80 yards, scoring on a five yard run with 3:57 before intermission and a 17-0 Whitewater lead. Saint Thomas had never trailed after halftime, and never trailed by more than seven points any time, this season.
After another defensive stop, the Warhawk offense traveled 54 yards on eight plays, and Eric Kindler came on for a 41 yard field goal attempt with 15 seconds left in the half. Saint Thomas' Willie Baregi blocked the attempt.
Whitewater received the second half kickoff, and moved the ball 67 yards on 16 plays, taking 7:49 off the clock, with Kindler booting a 30 yard field goal with 7:17 left in the third.
The Tommies had another long drive in the third quarter, but Warhawk defensive back Ryan Wenkman picked off a Nelson pass at the Whitewater three. In the fourth quarter linebacker Kyle Wismer cut another UST drive short with an interception at Whitewater's 29.
Saint Thomas came in to the game giving up just 47.5 rushing yards per game. UW-W had 71 in the first quarter. Coppage became just the second back this season to go over the 100 yard mark against the Tommies. The last time Saint Thomas was held scoreless was November 13, 2004, a 21-0 win by Saint John's University. Wenkman led the Warhawaks with nine tackles and Wismer had eight, adding a sack, a tackle for a loss, and the interception.
Blanchard, a Gagliardi Trophy finalist, went 14-19 for 179 yards and one TD and no interceptions. Wide receiver Tyler Huber had six receptions for 109 yards.
Whitewater was 4-4 in the red zone, and Saint Thomas was 0-4 on fourth down conversions and 0-1 in the red zone.
Tracy was 11-26 for 64 yards, with two interceptions. He added 62 yards rushing on 16 carries, and tailback Colin Tobin rushed 17 times for 82 yards. Wideout Fritz Waldvogel, also a Gagliardi finalist, caught eight passes for 45 yards. Linebacker Tony Danna topped both teams with 14 tackles, including two behind the line of scrimmage. Safety Tyler Erstad was also in double figures, with ten tackles.
The shutout was the second of the year for UW-W. The first came in a 45-0 win at Franklin College September 10 in Franklin, Indiana.
D3report from this game