No. 5 UW-Whitewater Earns Win, Ticket to NCAA Second Round

The No. 5 ranked University of Wisconsin-Whitewater football team scored 35 points in the second quarter Saturday afternoon to take control in a 67-14 victory over Eureka (Ill.) in the first round of the NCAA Division III Championship at Perkins Stadium.

The Warhawks (11-0 overall), who picked up their 16th straight win dating back to last season, advance to next Saturday's second round, where they'll face St. Norbert, a 31-7 winner over No. 12 Trine (Ind.) in the first round.

Time and location of the second-round game will be announced Sunday.

UW-Whitewater totaled a season-high 649 yards, including 500 rushing yards, and held the Red Devils (9-2), who came in averaging more than 335 rushing yards per game, to 71 yards on the ground and 1.8 yards per carry.

Junior running back Ronny Ponick posted 12 carries for a career-high 202 yards and three touchdowns, and sophomore running back Alex Peete rushed for 116 yards on 10 carries and added three touchdowns.

Sophomore wide receiver Ryan Wisniewski posted two rushing touchdowns for a combined 83 yards, and sophomore running back Preston Strasburg registered 10 carries for 75 yards and one score.

Senior linebacker Bryce Leszczynski totaled a team-best seven tackles. Junior linebacker Jacob Erbs posted six tackles, including two for a loss, and one forced fumble, and senior defensive back Bailey Breunig added five stops and one forced fumble and recovered fumble.

After forcing a punt, the Warhawks opened with a 50-yard pass from senior quarterback Cole Wilber to senior wide receiver Jerimie Richards and an 18-yard touchdown run by Wisniewski on the next play to take a 7-0 lead with 11:43 to go.

UW-Whitewater tacked on another touchdown late in the second quarter as Peete dashed in from 20 yards to make it 15-0 after junior Andy Cooper ran in for a two-point conversion.

All five of the Warhawks' scoring drives in the second quarter were less than two minutes. Sophomore running back Ronny Ponick completed a six-play, 81-yard drive – all on his running plays – with a 1-yard plunge for a touchdown.

After Breunig jarred the ball away from Eureka's Le'Anthony Reasnover on the first play of the next drive, Ponick converted another score with a 19-yard run to make it 29-0 at the 9:15 mark.

Peete ran for consecutive touchdowns, the second after a botched hanoff gave UW-Whitewater the ball at the Red Devils' 20-yard line.

After the Warhawks held on fourth down on the next drive, Wisniewski scampered untouched for 65 yards to the end zone to make it a 50-point lead with 56 seconds left until halftime.

Sophomore kicker Wojciech Gasienica knocked a 31-yard field goal attempt through the uprights for a 53-0 lead three minutes into the third quarter, and Ponick recorded all 95 yards on UW-Whitewater's next drive to make it 60-0 at the 3:41 mark of the period.

Eureka scored touchdowns on each of its next two drives, but the Warhawks found the end zone last as Strasburg completed a six-play, 56-yard drive with a 3-yard score.

UW-Whitewater last played St. Norbert in a first-round game of the NCAA Playoffs in 2015, defeating the Green Knights 48-0 at Perkins Stadium.