The longest win streak in college football is still alive.
UW-Whitewater, the five time defending Wisconsin Intercollegiate
Athletic Conference champion, opened the 2010 league schedule with
a 49-17 win over UW-Platteville Thursday night at Ralph Davis
Stadium in Platteville, Wisconsin. UW-W has won nineteen in a
row, with Alabama sitting at 18 going in to their game against the
University of Florida Saturday.
After stopping Platteville on the opening series, UW-W had a chance to jump in front, but a drive ended with a missed field goal. The teams then exchanged series that didn't produce any points.
But the Pioneers struck quickly later in the quarter, with Nick Anderson connecting twice with Joe Burkeland, once for 57 yards and the second for 33 and the touchdown to take a 7-0 lead at 6:35. It marked the first time Whitewater had trailed in a game since the fourth quarter of last year's NCAA III semifinal, when Linfield led the Warhawks 17-13.
UW-W responded with an 11 play, 82 yard scoring drive to knot the game at 7-7. Matt Blanchard completed 4-5 passes on the drive and ran the ball in from seven yards with 1:32 left in the first quarter.
UW-P took the ensuing kickoff and marched sixty yards and, when the drive stalled at the Whitewater ten yard line, Zach Litchfield booted a 27 yard field goal to put Platteville up 10-7 at 13:08 in the second.
In the volleying back and forth that was the first twenty-five minutes of the game, Whitewater's next possession resulted in an 80 yard drive, covered in eight plays. As with UW-W's first scoring drive, Blanchard's precision included 4-4 in the air and a 16 yard run. His fourth completion on the drive went for 33 yards to Adam Brandes and the Warhawks' first lead of the game, 14-10 at 4:37.
Whitewater never looked back.
After stopping Platteville on a three and out, UW-W took over in Platteville territory and advanced the ball to the 27 to set up a field goal attempt. The drive included the first pass attempt, a completion, of all-American tailback Levell Coppage's career. The kick was blocked. Platteville took over on their own 45, but Anderson was sacked by Greg Arnold, and Arnold recovered the ball as Anderson lost it.
A Blanchard to Adam Brandes completion for 33 yards, again, on the third play after the recovery put UW-W up 21-10 with 2:13 left in the half.
The Warhawk defense forced a three and out again, giving the offense the ball at Whitewater's 37 with 1:32 left. Blanchard was sacked for just the second time this season with UW-W at the three, moving it back to the Platteville 13. With four seconds left the Warhawks set up an apparent field goal, but faked instead and the pass was incomplete.
Whitewater went 70 yards in eight plays to open the second half, ending with a Coppage eight yard TD run to extend the lead to 28-10 at 10:38.
The following kickoff was fumbled, with UW-W's Max Ford recovering at the 24. Despite shooting themselves in the foot with three penalties on the drive, the Warhawks scored on a Blanchard to John Novak 16 yard pass at 8:19. Whitewater led 35-10.
Steve McCollom picked off an Anderson pass, the third play of the next drive, to set Whitewater up at their own 37. Five plays later Coppage took it in from 3 yards out to up the margin to 42-10.
Taking over at their own 34 after a Pioneer punt, Booker Stanley went eleven yards and then 55 for another Warhawk score. Whitewater led 49-10 with 1:43 left in the third quarter.
Platteville's Aaron Loferski blocked a Kris Rosholt punt, and returned it 15 yards, to account for Platteville's final score at the 13:14 mark.
The UW-W defense limited Platteville to minus 12 yards rushing on 18 attempts. Whitewater's school record is minus 58 versus UW-Superior in 1969. Platteville had 172 yards of total offense. Whitewater's offense rushed for 295 yards and passed for 342 to total 637, the second time in four games this season they have been over 600 yards.
Coppage rushed for 134 yards on 23 carries, and Blanchard went 24-30 for 337 yards, 3 TD's and no interceptions. Aaron Rusch led all receivers with 9 catches for 123 yards, putting UW-W's all time receiving leader over the 3,000 yard mark for his career (3,097). Greg Arnold had two sacks and two tackles for a loss, plus five tackles in addition to his fumble recovery for the Warhawk defense.
Anderson went 10-23 for 184 yards, one TD and one pick, for UW-P. Burkeland and Lee Vlasak both caught three passes, Burkeland's going for 91 yards. Defensive back Courtney Alexander led both teams with 12 tackles, ten solo.
UW-W, 4-0 overall and 1-0 in the WIAC, will host UW-Stout Saturday, October 9 at 3:00 in Perkins Stadium. Platteville, 2-2 and 0-1, will host UW-Eau Claire October 9 at 3:00.
Whitewater is ranked number one in both the American Football Coaches Association Division III poll and the D3football.com poll.