On Stout's Hall of Fame day and in a steady rain, fifth-ranked UW-Whitewater defeated the Blue Devils 41-7 Saturday afternoon at Don and Nona Williams Stadium in Menomonie, Wisconsin to retain a share of first place in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. UW-W, 5-1 overall and 3-0 in the WIAC, will host UW-Oshkosh, 6-0 and 3-0, Saturday, October 20 at 1:00 in Perkins Stadium for Whitewater's annual Homecoming and Athletic Hall of Fame game.
UW-S received the kickoff, but as happened on four of the first five Blue Devil possessions, the Whitewater defense forced a three and out.
While the defense was doing its job, the Warhawk offense went 59 yards on 11 plays, consuming 5:51 on the clock, with Desmin Ward scoring from one yard out at 8:23 for a 7-0 Whitewater lead. Ward ran the ball nine times for 42 yards on the drive, and quarterback Lee Brekke completed both of his pass attempts.
Whitewater's second drive used just six plays to cover 49 yards, with Brekke going 2-2 on the drive again. Brekke connected with fullback Bernie Tamsett for the ten yard score to push the lead to 14-0 with 2:46 left in the first quarter.
Eric Kindler's 27 yard field goal at 10:38 in the second quarter made UW-W three for three, and increased Whitewater's margin to 17-0.
Zach Howard's 28 yard punt return, to the Stout 28, set up the Warhawks' fourth score, another Kindler field goal, this time from 42 yards with 7:46 left in the half to make it 20-0.
Stout finally got on the board in the second quarter, striking quickly on a five play, 71 yard drive. The big play was a 35 yard Michael Blizel to Trevor Morning pass that put the ball at the three yard line. Morning caught two long touchdown passes (39, 45) against the Warhawks in last year's meeting between these two teams. Eric Brown ran it in on the next play to cut the lead to 20-7 with 3:39 on the clock.
UW-W took less than two minutes to get those points back, using just three plays to eat up 68 yards. Ward rushed for 38 yards, followed with five more, then, with Brekke's play action occupying the defense, Brekke found Joe Worth for a 35 yard touchdown, Worth's first of the season. UW-W led 27-7 with 1:46 left in the half.
Stout managed four yards rushing, 16 yards of offense and one first down in the first quarter. By halftime Whitewater had accumulated 278 yards of offense, split almost evenly between passing (131) and rushing (147). Brekke hit the first seven passes he attempted, ending up 8-12. Stout had 107 yards at intermission.
Brekke's pass to Steve Morris at the right corner of the goal line, Morris' team high third touchdown reception, increased Whitewater's lead to 34-7 at 9:15 in the third quarter. The 38 yard completion is UW-W's longest of the season.
Stout mounted a scoring threat in the third, but facing a fourth and one at the Whitewater 18, Blue Devil running back Tanner Kuehn was tackled for a two yard loss by Jake Hohlstein.
Early in the fourth quarter, after the Warhawk defense stopped UW-S inside their five yard line, UW-W returner Zach Howard brought a short punt back 19 yards to the Stout 9. On the next play, sophomore QB Matt Behrendt found Worth for his second touchdown of the day, ending the scoring at 41-7 with 12:45 remaining in the game.
After playing in wet conditions all game, the teams made it through three quarters without a turnover. That was particularly noteworthy because Whitewater came into the game leading the WIAC in turnover margin. But the ball suddenly became a hot potato, as the teams combined for five turnovers, two fumbles and three interceptions, in the next five possessions. UW-W defensive back Andrew Keister accounted for two of the picks.
UW-W limited Stout to 136 yards of total offense, just six of those coming on 17 rushing attempts. The Warhawks had eight tackles for a loss and three quarterback sacks.
Whitewater's Ward, the leading rusher in the WIAC, carried the ball 24 times for 120 yards.
Tickets for the Whitewater-Oshkosh game can be purchased at the UW-W ticket office in the Connor University Center on the main campus mall during normal business hours Monday-Friday. Tickets will also be sold at Perkins Stadium Saturday. Call 262-472-2222 for ticket information.