UW-Whitewater extended its NCAA (all divisions) best win streak
to twenty-one games with a 45-0 win over UW-Eau Claire at Carson
Park in Eau Claire, Wisconsin Saturday.
Whitewater scored on five of its six possessions in the first
half, with only the first drive of the game failing to produce
A Kris Rosholt punt put Eau Claire at their 14, and a sack by Luke Hibner pushed the Blugolds back to their nine. That helped UW-W take over after an EC punt at the Eau Claire 41. Four plays, a Matt Blanchard to Aaron Rusch pass and three runs by Levell Coppage put the ball in the end zone for a 7-0 Whitewater lead at 7:17.
A fumble by EC quarterback Austin Neu, recovered by Warhawk linebacker Greg Arnold, set up the second UW-W drive at Eau Claire's 33. The same combination, three Blanchard to Rusch passes and two Coppage runs, resulted in a 14-0 lead with 3:06 left in the first quarter. The 15 TD reception by Rusch was his 24th of his career, moving him within one of tying Jim Lesczynski (2002-2005) for second place in the UW-W record book. Rusch has had a reception in all fifty of the games of his Warhawk career.
Whitewater's defense forced another three and out, and the offense took over in their own end of the field, but barely, at the 47. Nine plays later Coppage went in from 19 yards to bring his UW-W and WIAC record to 66 career rushing touchdowns. Whitewater led 21-0 with 11:59 left in the second quarter.
Eau Claire moved the ball from its own 20 to Whitewater's 38 on the following drive, but a fumble by tailback Matt Jaskowiak was recovered by UW-W on their own 35. Eight plays and 5:06 later Rusch was on the other end of a pass for the first time in his career, hitting Jason Ford from ten yards out to put UW-W up 28-0 with 4:24 left in the half.
The UW-W defense forced another three and out, and gave the ball to the Warhawk offense on their 41. Whitewater moved to the EC 20, but three incomplete passes brought Eric Kindler into the game, and he connected on a 37 yard field goal, his longest of the season to make it 31-0 with 0:51 left in the half.
The Warhawk defense contributed a score of its own in the third quarter, with Matt McCulloch picked off a Neu pass at the 42 and ran it in to make it 38-0 Whitewater. It was the second interception TD of McCulloch's career, the other coming November 21, 2009 in Whitewater's NCAA playoff first round win over Lakeland College.
The final score, to be repetitive, again resulted from a Rosholt punt that was caught at the seven, and another three and out series. The Warhawk offense began its drive at the EC 41, and three Antwan Anderson rushes completed the scoring for the day.
In addition to its NCAA leading win streak, UW-W marked its ninth straight win over UW-Eau Claire and thirteenth in a row in the WIAC. Whitewater has shut out Eau Claire eight times in the series history, which began in 1923.
The Warhawk defense limited Eau Claire to six first downs, 68 yards rushing on 28 attempts, and 82 yards passing.
Coppage led both teams with 106 yards rushing on 18 carries. The junior tailback's career total stands at 4,246 yards, third on the school's career list with Chad Wurth (2000-2003) second at 4,301. Blanchard completed 18-26 for 170 yards with the TD and no interceptions, nine of the completions to Rusch, adding to his UW-W record for career receptions. Freshman Louis Minett, playing late in the game, recorded two solo tackles, a quarterback sack, and two tackles for a loss in his most productive game as a Warhawk.
EC's Jaskowiak gained 34 yards on eight carries, and Neu went 11-21, four of those to David Goodman. Linebacker Ben Shea led both teams with ten tackles, including nine solo.
UW-W is 6-0 overall, 3-0 in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. UW-EC is 3-3 overall and 1-2 in league play.
Whitewater will play at UW-River Falls Saturday, October 23, and return to Perkins Stadium to host UW-Stevens Point October 30 for the annual Homecoming game.