/playoffs/2013/warhawks-channel-near-perfection

Warhawks channel near perfection

More news about: UW-Whitewater

UW-Whitewater celebrates its fifth title, won in dominating fashion.
Photo by Larry Radloff, d3photography.com
More photos from Stagg Bowl XLI 

By Ryan Tipps
D3sports.com

SALEM -- O, my!

UW-Whitewater’s offense channeled near perfection on Division III’s biggest stage Friday evening, and Mount Union discovered just how unforgiving Warhawk momentum can be.

Stagg Bowl XLI closed 52-14, the most lopsided national championship game in more than a decade, and Whitewater re-established itself as the top of the pantheon just one year after a 7-3 season and missing the playoffs.

The Warhawks have spent the postseason defying opponents with their defense, yet it was the offense that set the tone early, marching 75 yards on seven plays in the game’s first drive. Capping it was a 17-yard touchdown pass to All-American Jake Kumerow.

“The goal is to win a national championship. And there’s no better feeling,” said Warhawk quarterback Matt Behrendt, who finished Friday by throwing four touchdowns and 40 total on the season. He has just one interception in 15 games.

Perhaps markedly different than previous offensive outings – especially in the postseason, which was labored by some slow starts by UW-W – was Behrendt’s legwork: Coming into the Stagg Bowl, he had minus-69 rushing yards on the year. Friday, he ran for 56 yards, which coupled with 249 passing yards, earning him the game’s most outstanding player honor.

“I saw some holes, and they were trying to double coverage our guys, and that opened up lanes for me,” Behrendt said.

Whitewater was making its eighth Stagg Bowl appearance, each of them being against Mount Union, starting in 2005. Friday night’s victory was the fifth championship in that span, the last coming in 2011.

The team capped the season beating Linfield, Mary Hardin-Baylor and Mount Union, the No. 2, No. 3 and No. 1 teams in the Top 25 poll, respectively.

“It feels better than it did in 2011 because it’s right now,” said defensive end Lou Minett after the game.

Players and coaches often say that they learn more from a loss than they do from a win. Minett said UW-W wouldn’t have made it to Salem this year if the struggles of 2012 never existed.

UW-W coach Lance Leipold is quick to say that from his 94-6 record over the past seven season, his losses stand out much more than his wins. It’s clear, though, that some wins deep in December make an impact.

“When you can play a game like that against a great program like Mount Union,” Leipold said, “that’s a pretty significant exclamation point on a very exciting season.”

And this season offered no guarantees.

“When we broke camp back in August,” he said, “I never thought we’d probably be sitting here. We were fighting our way back after last season, and this group was proud and determined.”

Wide receiver Tyler Huber was coming off a broken leg from last year, and doubts about the team from outsiders were certainly present.

Toward the end of the season, Leipold said he was particularly happy to have Kumerow and Huber on the field at the same time. They combined for 168 yards Friday and all four UW-W receiving touchdowns. Perhaps one of the most dramatic moments of the night was a touchdown grab by Kumerow, dragging his toes as he pulled in the pass nearly out of bounds in the front corner of the end zone.

Over the course of the evening, the tide also turned on interceptions. Brady Grayvold set a program record with his ninth interception, including a pick-6 that wrapped up the game’s scoring midway through the fourth quarter.

Both Whitewater and Mount Union had fumble recoveries that gave them great field position and on which they both used to reach the end zone.

The Whitewater defense consistently snuffed any momentum that Mount Union attempted to build, including a forced fumble by Marshall Rutherford in the first minute of the third quarter. Rutherford ripped the ball from Mount Union running back Bradley Mitchell’s arms and gave Mount little opportunity to put its halftime adjustments into play.

Whitewater poured it on from there, turning a 21-14 score at the break into the 38 point lead behind five scoring efforts that gave us the final. It was a dominating performance that showed how far a team can climb over 12 months. And it earned Leipold D3football.com Coach of the Year honors.

“I think what it really shows,” Leipold said, “is some of the things that were accomplished before and again today. You have to go out and earn it … and we didn’t earn it last year."

This year, they certainly did.

Aug. 31: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Moravian at King's
Live stats Tickets
7:00 PM
Methodist at Campbell
7:00 PM
Alfred State at Coast Guard
Live stats
7:00 PM
Allegheny at Thiel
Live stats
7:00 PM
Stevenson at Frostburg State
Video Live stats
7:00 PM
Wesley at Delaware Valley
7:00 PM
Mayville St. at Buena Vista
7:30 PM
Manchester at Trine
Video Live stats
8:00 PM
McMurry at Okla. Panhandle
8:00 PM
Millsaps at Belhaven
8:00 PM
Greenville at Millikin
Sep. 1: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Salisbury at Albright
7:00 PM
Mount Ida at Mass-Dartmouth
Video Live stats
7:00 PM
Fitchburg State at Curry
Video Live stats
7:00 PM
Johns Hopkins at Washington and Lee
Video Live stats
7:00 PM
FDU-Florham at TCNJ
7:00 PM
MIT at Becker
Video Live stats
7:00 PM
Westfield State at Nichols
Video Live stats
7:30 PM
Anna Maria at WPI
Video Live stats
7:30 PM
Gettysburg at Bridgewater
Video Live stats
Sep. 2: All times Eastern
12:00 PM
Grove City at Juniata
Live stats Audio
12:00 PM
Framingham State at Endicott
Video Live stats
12:00 PM
Worcester State at Salve Regina
Live stats
12:00 PM
Maine Maritime at SUNY-Maritime
Live stats
12:00 PM
Norwich at Morrisville State
Live stats
12:00 PM
Bethany at Ursinus
Video Live stats
12:00 PM
Brockport at Hobart
12:00 PM
Augustana at Cortland
12:00 PM
Bridgewater State at Buffalo State
Video Live stats
12:00 PM
Carnegie Mellon at Washington U.
Video Live stats Live stats
12:30 PM
N.C. Wesleyan at Mount Union
Live stats Audio
1:00 PM
Wilkes at Muhlenberg
1:00 PM
Kalamazoo at Oberlin
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Catholic at McDaniel
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Heidelberg at Olivet
Live stats
1:00 PM
Franklin and Marshall at Lebanon Valley
1:00 PM
Alma at St. Vincent
1:00 PM
Castleton at Plymouth State
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Lycoming at Susquehanna
1:00 PM
UW-Oshkosh at John Carroll
Video Live stats Audio
1:00 PM
Alfred at Ithaca
1:00 PM
Misericordia at Merchant Marine
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Albion at Wabash
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Dickinson at Randolph-Macon
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Bluffton at Wooster
Video Live stats Audio
1:00 PM
Union at Husson
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Springfield at Western New England
1:00 PM
Wittenberg at Westminster (Pa.)
1:00 PM
St. John Fisher at Washington and Jefferson
1:00 PM
Ferrum at Emory and Henry
Video Live stats Audio
1:00 PM
Averett at Hampden-Sydney
Video Live stats Audio
1:00 PM
Berry at Maryville (Tenn.)
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Waynesburg at Muskingum
Live stats
1:00 PM
William Paterson at RPI
1:00 PM
Franklin at Thomas More
Live stats
1:00 PM
Greensboro at Apprentice
1:00 PM
Case Western Reserve at Chicago
Video Live stats
1:00 PM
Kenyon at Sewanee
1:30 PM
Centre at Hanover
1:30 PM
Mount St. Joseph at Capital
Video Live stats
1:30 PM
Baldwin Wallace at Defiance
Live stats
1:30 PM
Earlham at Wilmington
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
Birmingham-Southern at LaGrange
Video Live stats Audio
2:00 PM
St. Norbert at UW-Stevens Point
2:00 PM
Carthage at Aurora
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
Hope at Monmouth
Video Live stats Audio
2:00 PM
Guilford at Huntingdon
2:00 PM
UW-Stout at Simpson
2:00 PM
Concordia-Moorhead at Nebraska Wesleyan
Video Live stats Audio
2:00 PM
Finlandia at Concordia (Wis.)
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
St. Scholastica at St. John's
Video Live stats Audio
2:00 PM
Dubuque at Bethel
2:00 PM
Westminster (Mo.) at Gustavus Adolphus
2:00 PM
Macalester at Carleton
2:00 PM
Grinnell at St. Olaf
2:00 PM
Hamline at Crown
2:00 PM
UW-Whitewater at Illinois Wesleyan
2:00 PM
Whitworth at Central
2:00 PM
Coe at UW-River Falls
2:00 PM
Loras at Elmhurst
2:00 PM
Concordia-Chicago at Ripon
Video Live stats
2:00 PM
Presentation at Lawrence
Video
2:00 PM
George Fox at UW-Platteville
Live stats
2:00 PM
Lake Forest at Beloit
Video
2:10 PM
UW-Eau Claire at St. Thomas
Live stats Audio
3:00 PM
Rockford at MacMurray
3:00 PM
Austin at Bacone
4:00 PM
Puget Sound at La Verne
5:00 PM
Western Connecticut at Hartwick
6:00 PM
Ohio Northern at Adrian
Live stats Audio
6:00 PM
North Park at Anderson
7:00 PM
Christopher Newport at Southern Virginia
Live stats
7:00 PM
Brevard at Davidson
7:00 PM
Gallaudet at Shenandoah
Live stats
7:00 PM
Otterbein at Ohio Wesleyan
7:00 PM
Marietta at Geneva
7:00 PM
Widener at Rowan
7:00 PM
St. Lawrence at Utica
7:00 PM
Southwestern at Denison
7:00 PM
Martin Luther at Minnesota-Morris
7:00 PM
Carroll at Lakeland
7:00 PM
Rose-Hulman at Illinois College
Video Live stats
7:00 PM
Trinity Int'l at Wisconsin Lutheran
Video Live stats
7:00 PM
Sul Ross State at Texas-Permian Basin
7:00 PM
Luther at UW-La Crosse
7:00 PM
Wayland Baptist at Louisiana College
7:00 PM
Knox at Eureka
Video Live stats
8:00 PM
Northwestern (Minn.) at Augsburg
8:00 PM
Iowa Wesleyan at Cornell
8:00 PM
Robert Morris-Chicago at North Central (Ill.)
Video Live stats Audio
8:00 PM
Wheaton (Ill.) at Benedictine
8:00 PM
Lyon at Hendrix
8:00 PM
Howard Payne at Southwestern Assemblies
10:00 PM
Trinity (Texas) at Redlands
10:00 PM
Rhodes at Willamette
Live stats
Maintenance in progress.