PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — UW-Platteville began the game in
orange jerseys for the first time in Ralph E. Davis Pioneer Stadium
history, and ended it with one of the most exciting comeback wins
in the 39-year-old facility.
Sophomore quarterback Nick Anderson connected with Darin Blaser for a 17-yard scoring pass with 1:12 remaining, lifting the orange-clad Pioneers to a 21-17 win over the University of Dubuque Saturday.
Anderson led the Pioneers on an 80-yard drive, covering 1:16. He completed all four of his passes on the winning drive, with three going to Blaser. One covered 41 yards to the Spartan 34, and three plays later, the duo hooked up for the game-winner down the right sideline. The ball grazed off of Spartan back David Ingham and to Blaser, who managed to stay inbounds.
"I couldn't really see it," Anderson said. "I just threw it up there because I knew Darin was open in the back of the end zone, and he just made a really great play on the ball. It was fantastic."
The Pioneers rallied from a 17-6 fourth-quarter deficit to post their 100th win in the stadium. (UWP is now 100-87-1.)
Anderson score on a two-yard run, capping a 75-yard yard drive with 7:30 to play, and Paul Pridemore converted the two-point attempt on what amount to a one-person double reverse. The receiver took the ball from the right side, was caught in the backfield trying to go left, pivoted and sprinted back around the right end, making the score 17-14.
The Pioneers broke out the orange for the first time ever. In fact, Coach Mike Emendorfer's club warmed up with the familiar blue jerseys, then came out on the field in the new orange look.
"I think it looks really good," Anderson said. "I think the fans loved it, and the players definitely loved it."
The Pioneers had three of their first four drives inside the Spartan five, but settled for three field goal attempts. Zach Litchfield converted on 21- and 24-yard attempts and missed from 20.
Dubuque took a 7-6 halftime lead after Justin Spaulding scored on a 15-yard rush with 4:25 left in the second quarter. The Spartans extended the advantage when record-setting receiver Michael Zweifel caught a 16-yard scoring pass from Wyatt Hanus at 11:14 in the third quarter. The margin reached 17-6 after Skyler Gebhard's 32-yard field goal with 9:49 left in the game.
The Pioneers then scored on their next two drives to win the game, which was sealed by Nick Snyder's interception with 20 seconds remaining.
The neighboring rivals combined for 865 yards on offense, with the Pioneers holding a one-yard advantage. Anderson completed 29 of 41 passes for 352 yards, with a whopping 16 for 195 yards going to Blaser. Dubuque's Wyatt Hanus completed 15 of 31 passes for 260 yards, with 10 passes and 183 yards going to Zweifel. With his first catch in the second quarter, Zweifel reached 300 for his career.
The brothers Snyder combined for 15 solo tackles for the Pioneers, with Nick making 8 and Brian 7. Corey Marks added 7 tackles, including a sack on the final drive.
The Spartans fell to 1-1, while the Pioneers improved to 2-0 with the home-opening win.
"It's really important because we get our get our fans back for some other games, but it's important to go 2-0, winning that non-conference and getting momentum heading into conference play," said Anderson, who improved to 5-2 as a Pioneer starter.