/seasons/2010/contrib/20101211vdxpi6

Warhawk defense locks up Salem trip

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UW-Whitewater defense
After getting knocked around a bit the first two weeks of the playoffs, the UW-Whitewater defense has allowed just 17 points in the past two games.

For the fourth consecutive week, UW-Whitewater didn't have Matt Blanchard at quarterback. But once again, it didn't matter. Both the Warhawk offense and defense were clicking on Saturday as the defense intercepted five passes, including three picks in four Justin Sottilare pass attempts, to pull away to a 27-7 win.

With Lee Brekke at quarterback, the Warhawks (14-0) drove to the 1-yard line before having to settle for a 19-yard Eric Kindler field goal, which got tipped at the line but still had enough to make it through the uprights, to put UW-W on the board with 8:01 left in the first.

Taking advantage of field position, Wesley began a drive later in the quarter on its own 45. On the third play of the mini-drive, Wesley quarterback Justin Sottilare found Matt Barile with a 38-yard scoring toss. Barile's first touchdown of the season, and just his fifth catch of the season, put Wesley in front 7-3 with 1:08 on the clock.

"They were playing man coverage and we had a good play call," Barile said. "Justin made a good throw and I just ran under it and caught it. It gave us the lead and I thought a good shot to win."

UW-W answered on the next drive, traveling 72 yards on six plays, with Brekke connecting with Adam-Brandes for a 35 yard score, making it 10-7 Whitewater with 13:24 left in the half.

The Warhawk defense forced a three-and-out, and its offense began marching again. Wesley ended the drive with a Jeff Morgan interception at the Wesley 22. The UW-W defense responded in kind, with defensive back Jared Kiesow picking off a Wesley pass at the 16, and he returned it to the Whitewater 34. UW-W moved the ball 24 yards on three plays, but Morgan picked off his second Warhawk pass of the day at Wesley's 32.

The teams went in to the locker room with a halftime score of 10-7 Whitewater.

Neither team scored in the third period until a Matt McCulloch interception set up a run by Levell Coppage with 3:25 left in the quarter. The Wolverines turned the ball over again and Coppage plunged in from the one for a 24-7 lead through three quarters of action.

"There were turnovers on our part and there were turnovers on their part and that's what happens in games like this," UW-Whitewater coach Lance Leipold said after the game. "It was a very good defense (for Wesley). ... At this stage we're just happy to get out with a win."

UW-W turned to its offensive line and the Coppage offense, much like the second half in the win over North Central last week, handing the ball off to the junior running back eight consecutive plays, ending with a one yard touchdown run to put the Warhawks in front 17-7 with 3:25 left in the third.

Deja vu for Wesley, because Sottilare was picked off on its first play after the kickoff, this time by linebacker Greg Arnold who made it from the Whitewater 36 to the one yard line. Sottilare had thrown four passes in this span, with three of them picked off by the Warhawks. Coppage walked in on the next play to make it 24-7 with 3:01 left in the third, giving UW-W 14 points in 24 seconds.

The next time they had the ball the Wolverines drove to the Whitewater 26, but lost yardage to the 33 and failed on a fourth and nine attempt.

Whitewater's final score ended a seven play, 56 yard drive, highlighted by a 32 yard run by Coppage. Kindler booted his second field goal of the day, this time from 28 yards with 10:01 left in the game and UW-W leading 27-7.

Wesley continued to come back, advancing to the Whitewater 8, but a Wesley Hicks sack pushed the Wolverines back to the 19, where Sottilare threw his fifth interception of the day with Kiesow picking off his second in the end zone.

The five interceptions are the most by UW-W since the Warhawks picked off eight UW-Superior passes in 1982.

The Warhawk defense limited Wesley to minus-7 yards rushing, the fourth time this season that UW-W has held an opponent to negative yards rushing. Whitewater, behind 146 yards by Coppage, rushed for 172 yards. Wesley made up some of the difference passing, throwing the ball 44 times for 256 yards.

"The run wasn't a big part of our game plan," said Wesley coach Mike Drass. "I mean, you look at who has run the ball on them this year and the answer is no one. We thought we could move the ball through the air. We'd have liked to have run the ball better, but we also didn't plan to run the ball 40 times either."

Brekke went 13-for-19 passing for 144 yards, one TD and two interceptions. Senior wide receiver Aaron Rusch led both teams with six catches for 64 yards. Sottilare was 24-for-43 for 256 yards, one TD and the five picks. Sophomore tailback Brandon Wright was on the receiving end of five of those passes for 62 yards.

Linebacker Lane Olson topped the Warhawks with four solo tackles, five assists and one tackle for a loss. Wolverine senior safety Aaron Benson had a game ten tackles, eight of them solo. Morgan was one of four players with seven tackles on the afternoon, intercepted two passes and broke up another.

With 12 wins this season, the Wolverines are 25-2 the past two years, the third best mark in Division III, but couldn't get over the hump in the national semifinals for the fourth time in six seasons.

"UW-Whitewater, there weren't any chinks (in their armor)," said Drass. "You don't get out there and say 'ah hah, here's where we're going to attack them.' You gotta outplay them.

"I think there are some teams out there that are real close but you gotta perform."

UW-Whitewater will meet Mount Union in Salem, Va., for the national championship, next Saturday, Dec. 18. "This is the sixth year in a row. It's not as easy as it might appear to people on the outside," said Leipold. "It's an honor every year to get there and have a chance to compete for a national championship. We definitely don't take it for granted."  

Sep. 16: All times Eastern
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at Worcester State 42, Fitchburg State 26
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at Ursinus 35, Juniata 28
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Salve Regina 27, at Dean 0
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at Johns Hopkins 37, Moravian 7
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Massachusetts Maritime 34, at Maine Maritime 25
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Wesley 33, at TCNJ 0
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at RPI 31, Western New England 14
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Buffalo State 53, at Morrisville State 48
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at Rochester 14, Alfred State 7
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Stevenson 52, at FDU-Florham 14
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Union 31, at Gallaudet 21
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at Williams 28, Bowdoin 14
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Sewanee 29, at Austin 17
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at Middlebury 30, Wesleyan 27
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at Tufts 35, Hamilton 28
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Salisbury 21, at Kean 13
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at Olivet 37, Aurora 21
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at Amherst 41, Bates 17
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at Trinity (Conn.) 35, Colby 0
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at Franklin and Marshall 43, McDaniel 41
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Montclair State 24, at Southern Virginia 0
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Rowan 41, at William Paterson 14
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Springfield 66, at Mount Ida 20
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UW-Platteville 38, at Hampden-Sydney 29
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DePauw 55, at Hiram 28
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at Alma 45, Benedictine 40
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at Trine 55, Wisconsin Lutheran 7
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at Albion 79, Concordia (Wis.) 7
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Dickinson 24, at Gettysburg 21
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at Wooster 38, Ohio Wesleyan 20
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Thiel 28, at Bethany 13
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LaGrange 39, at Methodist 30
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at Wabash 62, Kenyon 7
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King's 44, at Lebanon Valley 39
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at Martin Luther 42, Iowa Wesleyan 20
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at MIT 31, Endicott 26
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at Alfred 24, Utica 17
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Maryville (Tenn.) 56, at Emory and Henry 46
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Averett 19, at Ferrum 7
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at Catholic 25, Randolph-Macon 20
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Susquehanna 14, at Muhlenberg 11
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at Cortland 31, Hartwick 30
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Brevard 63, at Greensboro 7
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Ithaca 24, at St. Lawrence 13
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at St. Scholastica 48, Westminster (Mo.) 18
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MacMurray 48, at Crown 34
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at Greenville 21, Northwestern (Minn.) 15
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Eureka 48, at Minnesota-Morris 20
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UW-Whitewater 40, at Washington U. 21
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at Widener 34, Misericordia 21
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at Coast Guard 13, Nichols 0
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at Hope 37, Lakeland 35
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Heidelberg 40, at Ohio Northern 21
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Carnegie Mellon 30, at Waynesburg 20
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Mount Union 69, at Marietta 3
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at Centre 52, Hendrix 42
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Albright 21, at Lycoming 17
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Bluffton 32, at Mount St. Joseph 31
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at Franklin 42, Defiance 12
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at Anderson 27, Earlham 16
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SUNY-Maritime 38, at Merchant Marine 31
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Concordia-Chicago 41, at Kalamazoo 29
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at Rose-Hulman 38, Hanover 28
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John Carroll 24, at Baldwin Wallace 21
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at Otterbein 56, Wilmington 28
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Trinity (Texas) 28, at Millsaps 26
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at Buena Vista 39, Central 38
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at Concordia-Moorhead 31, Bethel 7
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St. John's 56, at St. Olaf 7
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Gustavus Adolphus 42, at Augsburg 37
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Coe 35, at Nebraska Wesleyan 25
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Wartburg 40, at Simpson 31
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Elmhurst 23, at North Park 20
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at Huntingdon 41, N.C. Wesleyan 30
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at Hardin-Simmons 55, Louisiana College 10
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UW-River Falls 30, at Missouri Baptist 3
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at Whitworth 53, La Verne 0
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St. Thomas 63, at Carleton 0
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Denison 62, at Allegheny 26
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Lewis and Clark 40, at Pomona-Pitzer 29
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at Wittenberg 34, Oberlin 0
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at Western Connecticut 37, Plymouth State 29
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Washington and Lee 24, at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 14
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Warner at Pacific Lutheran
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Cal Lutheran 28, at Willamette 13
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Mary Hardin-Baylor 24, at Linfield 3
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at George Fox 13, Redlands 10
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at Mass-Dartmouth 51, Westfield State 26
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at Castleton 28, Norwich 14
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at Berry 34, Rhodes 13
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Brockport 38, at St. John Fisher 7
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at WPI 38, Becker 0
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at Adrian 62, Rockford 7
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Frostburg State 33, at Christopher Newport 30
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at Hobart 56, Shenandoah 30
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at Case Western Reserve 42, Grove City 10
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at Davidson 42, Guilford 21
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at Bridgewater 52, The Apprentice School 0
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at Capital 39, Muskingum 28
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at Washington and Jefferson 37, Thomas More 29
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at North Central (Ill.) 26, Illinois Wesleyan 13
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at McMurry 33, Howard Payne 21
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at Dubuque 27, Loras 24
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at Wheaton (Ill.) 37, Carthage 14
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at Texas Lutheran 37, Belhaven 0
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at Carroll 28, Augustana 25
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St. Vincent 31, at Geneva 27
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East Texas Baptist 28, at Southwestern 10
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Pacific at Occidental
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Sep. 16: All times Eastern
Final
Wesley 33, at TCNJ 0
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at Johns Hopkins 37, Moravian 7
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at Alfred 24, Utica 17
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UW-Platteville 38, at Hampden-Sydney 29
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Mount Union 69, at Marietta 3
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John Carroll 24, at Baldwin Wallace 21
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at Hardin-Simmons 55, Louisiana College 10
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Final
St. John's 56, at St. Olaf 7
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at Concordia-Moorhead 31, Bethel 7
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Final
at Whitworth 53, La Verne 0
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Final
St. Thomas 63, at Carleton 0
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Final
at Wittenberg 34, Oberlin 0
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Mary Hardin-Baylor 24, at Linfield 3
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Final
at George Fox 13, Redlands 10
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Final
Brockport 38, at St. John Fisher 7
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Frostburg State 33, at Christopher Newport 30
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at Case Western Reserve 42, Grove City 10
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at Washington and Jefferson 37, Thomas More 29
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at Wheaton (Ill.) 37, Carthage 14
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at North Central (Ill.) 26, Illinois Wesleyan 13
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