La Crosse, Wis. - The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse football team wrapped up its 2012 season with a 24-0 loss to UW-Whitewater Saturday afternoon at Roger Harring Stadium at Veterans Memorial Field Sports Complex. The Eagles finish 4-6 overall and 3-4 in the WIAC while the Warhawks finish 7-3 overall and 5-2 in the conference.
UW-L's Andy Sires was intercepted by UW-Whitewater's Ryan Wenkman at the Warhawks' 21-yard line on the first possession of the game Saturday. UW-Whitewater went 79 yards on nine plays in 4:43 to take a 7-0 lead with Desmin Ward scoring on a 27-yard touchdown run with 8:53 remaining in the first quarter.
The contest then featured six straight punts before UW-L took over at its own 49-yard line with 9:50 left in the first half after Jacob Flegner returned Joe Gardener's punt 14-yards. The Eagles drove to the Warhawks' 25-yard line, setting up a 42-yard field goal attempt. UW-L tried a fake field goal on fourth-and-four, but Kevin Schams was intercepted by Steve McCollom at the UW-Whitewater 15-yard line.
UW-Whitewater later drove to the UW-L 30-yard line in the second quarter, but Matt Behrendt was intercepted by UW-L's Gavin Marquart at the Eagles' one-yard line.
UW-Whitewater maintained its 7-0 lead at halftime.
Eric Kindler gave the Warhawks a 10-0 lead with a 39-yard field goal on the first drive of the second half. UW-Whitewater went 53 yards on seven plays in 2:55.
Sires was later intercepted by Brady Grayvold at UW-L's 38-yard line with 7:55 left in the third quarter. Ward scored his second touchdown of the game, this time on a one-yard run, with 4:27 remaining in the period to make it 17-0. The Warhawks went 36 yards on eight plays in 3:31.
On the next drive, Sires completed a 22-yard pass to Brock Mc Mullen on third-and-18, but UW-Whitewater's Andrew Keister forced a fumble with Grayvold recovering the ball. Behrendt then threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Jake Kumerow with 13;09 remaining in the game to make it 24-0. The Warhawks went 45 yards on nine plays in 4:26.
UW-L drove inside UW-Whitewater's territory in its final four drives of the game, but failed to score as the Warhawks recorded their third shutout in the last six meetings with the Eagles.
UW-L finished with 219 yards of offense Saturday, including 52 rushing and 167 passing. The Eagles had 12 first downs and were two-of-12 on third-down.
Sires was 18-of-26 for 167 yards and two interceptions. He was sacked five times. Kelly O'Leary had 47 yards rushing on seven attempts while Dillon Bean finished with 38 yards on eight carries. Jake Welch caught six passes for 42 yards while Joe Kracht had three catches for 33 yards.
UW-Whitewater had 307 yards, including 217 rushing and 90 passing. The Warhawks finished with 17 first downs and were eight-of-16 on third-down. UW-Whitewater won the time of possession, 34:57 to 25:03.
Behrendt was seven-of-17 for 90 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Ward finished with 108 yards rushing on 26 attempts and two touchdowns while Nick Patterson had 71 yards on 20 carries. Kumerow (44 yards, touchdown), Zach Howard (23 yards) and Steve Morris (22) each had two catches.
Christian Hallingstad averaged 41.8 yards on eight punts with four inside the 20-yard line for UW-L.
Jon Becker led UW-L with 14 tackles while Jack Leahy and Max Nicholson each finished with nine. Jordan Pendergast totaled eight tackles, including 1.5 for loss.
Gardener averaged 47.4 yards on eight punts for UW-Whitewater.
Cole Klotz led the Warhawks' defense with 12 tackles. Loussaint Minett had 3.0 tackles for loss and 2.0 quarterback sacks.