#1 Whitewater Looks to Extend NCAA's Longest Win Streak at UW-River Falls
UW-Whitewater will travel to River Falls for a 3:00 kickoff Saturday.
Won-Lost: Whitewater is 6-0 overall and 3-0 in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (W 35-0 vs. Adrian College, W 70-7 vs. Dakota State University, W 37-7 vs. Campbellsville University, W 49-17 vs. Platteville, W 30-7 vs. Stout, W45-0 vs. Eau Claire). River Falls is 0-6 overall and 0-3 in the WIAC. The Falcons opened the season with a 35-21 loss to 11th ranked Ohio Northern University, then lost to fourth ranked University of St. Thomas 35-14, lost to 15th ranked Trine University 35-14, lost 43-15 in their first conference game to Oshkosh, and lost last weekend to Stout 24-7.
By the Numbers: The River Falls offensive line averages 278 pounds. The River Falls offense will start five seniors, four juniors, and two sophomores. The UW-River Falls defensive line averages 250 pounds. The defense includes four seniors, three juniors, and four sophomores. The Whitewater offensive line averages 274 pounds. The offense will start seven seniors, three juniors, and one sophomore. The UW-W defensive line averages 248 pounds. The Warhawk defense will start six seniors, four juniors, and one sophomore.
Win Streak Longest in the NCAA: UW-W has a twenty-one game win streak, dating back to the 2008 loss to Mount Union in the Stagg Bowl. The win streak is the longest in NCAA football, all divisions. Division I Boise State is second right behind the Warhawks with a twenty game win streak.
WIAC Streak: UW-W has won thirteen consecutive games in the WIAC, dating back to the 17-16 loss to UW-Stevens Point October 25, 2008 in Perkins Stadium.
Non-Conference Streak: Not on the line this week, but UW-W has won 11 straight non-conference games dating back to the 31-26 loss to Mount Union December 20 in the 2008 Stagg Bowl.
Home Streak: Another streak on hold ... the Warhawks have won 18 consecutive games at Perkins Stadium, dating back to a 17-16 loss to UW-Stevens Point, October 25, 2008.
Streak Vs. River Falls: UW-Whitewater leads the series, which began in 1914, 30-18-3. The Warhawks have won the last eight times the teams have met, going back to the 2001 season when RF won 34-31. The most points UW-W has scored against RF was 58 in a 58-2 win in 1970, which is also the largest margin of victory by either team. The most points RF has scored came in a 52-28 win in 1998. That game 52-28, was also the largest combined score between the two teams. The fewest points the teams produced, a 7-0 win by RF, came in 1915. The current streak is Whitewater's longest in the series, and the Falcons longest was three games (1998-2000).
National Polls: UW-W is ranked first in both the AFCA and the D3football.com polls. The Falcons are not ranked.
UW-W Head Coach: Lance Leipold is in his fourth year at UW-Whitewater, his only head coaching position. He is 48-3 (.941) during his tenure with UW-W, including a 23-1 (.958) mark in the WIAC. The Warhawks have won Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference titles all three years (and five in a row) and advanced through the NCAA III playoffs to the Stagg Bowl all three years (and five in a row), winning national titles in 2007 and 2009.
River Falls Head Coach: John O'Grady is the longest tenured football coach at UW-River Falls and recently announced his retirement after he finishes his 22nd season with the Falcons. O'Grady, 56, played for the Falcons as a linebacker from 1972-75 and earned four letters. He was the team's captain and voted most dedicated in 1975 when the Falcons won their first WIAC title in 18 years. O'Grady was inducted into the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association (WFCA) Hall of Fame on April 5, 2008. He ranks second in all-time football wins among WIAC active coaches with a 104-103-3 overall record. He is seventh in all-time wins of all WIAC coaches. In WIAC play, O'Grady has led the Falcons to one first place finish (1998), three second-place finishes (1994, 1995, 1996) and five third place finishes (1989, 1992, 1999, 2000, 2001). He has had winning seasons in 10 of his 21 seasons with the Falcons. O'Grady was named the 1995 WIAC Coach of the Year. His teams have compiled a 72-71-3 record in WIAC play. He got his start at UW-River Falls as an assistant from 1976-80. Like UW-W's Leipold, O'Grady spent some time on the Badger sideline as a part-time assistant coach for the University of Wisconsin-Madison. While there, he worked with tight ends, the offensive line, and special teams.
About the Falcons: Junior running back Taylor Edwards leads the WIAC in rushing yards per game (120.2) and attempts (149). Edwards has rushed for 721 yards, with five touchdowns. Edwards accounts for three-fourth of the Falcons 162 yards per game on the ground. He has almost five times as many carries as the number two back for UW-RF, and he has scored 5 of the team's 11 TD's. He is also 21st in the NCAA III rushing stats. The Falcons use a short passing game to keep defenses off Edwards. QB B.J. Letourneau has completed 56% of his passes for three touchdowns and 110 yards per game. Letourneau has not thrown an interception in 98 attempts, but the Falcon signalcaller has been sacked 13 times and the offense has lost seven fumbles. John Wahlstrom and Joe Ganske are the top targets with 21 and 20 receptions, respectively. Both average over ten yards per catch. With 29 points to 35 for opponents in the first quarter, UW-RF has been outscored 71-24 in the second quarter and 42-6 in the fourth. On the defensive side, sophomore linebacker Lincoln Bjorklund is seventh in the WIAC in tackles per game (7.0). The Falcons are looking to snap their eight game losing streak.
About the Warhawks: Edwards may be the number one rusher in the WIAC, but UW-W leads the league in rushing and is eighth in Division III at 298 yards per game. UW-W is third in Division III in total offense (531.3 yards per game), iseventh in scoring (44.33), and third in pass efficiency. Matt Blanchard is completing 72% of his passes, and throws for 230 yards per game, with 13 touchdowns and without an interception. Wideout Aaron Rusch is one receiving touchdown away from tying Jim Lesczynski (25) for second place in the UW-W record book for career receiving touchdowns. Levell Coppage needs only 55 more yards to move into second place in career rushing yards. He currently has 4,246, ahead of Chad Wurth and behind only 2007 Gagliardi Trophy winner Justin Beaver's total of 6.584. Coppage continues to add to his school and WIAC record 66 rushing touchdowns. Receiver Adam Brandes (1.815) is just 60 yards shy of moving into the school's top ten in career receiving yards. On the other side of the ball, the Warhawks are second in D3 in rushing defense (41.27), third in total defense (192.82), and first in scoring (6.33). Lineman Jake Hohlstein leads the team with five tackles for a loss, despite not starting. Linebacker Lane Olson and lineman Louis Minett, another player that doesn't start, top the Warhawks in sacks with 3.5 apiece. DB Matt McCulloch has two interceptions, and Olson is number one in tackles with 26, just ahead of McCulloch and linebacker Greg Arnold. UW-W has eleven players in double figures for tackles. The Warhawk defense has not allowed a team to rush for 100 yards in a game this year, with 74 yards by Adrian in the opener the most UW-W has given up. Opponents are averaging just 1.5 yards per rushing attempt. Although still the most penalized team in the WIAC, UW-W had a season low 44 yards in penalties in last week's win at Eau Claire.
River Falls-Whitewater Last Year: Whitewater won 38-14 October 24, 2009 at Perkins Stadium. The game was tied 0-0 at the end of the first quarter; Whitewater scored 21 points in the second quarter to lead 21-0 at halftime, and scored another 17 points to lead 38-0 after three. Levell Coppage rushed for 73 yards on 17 carries and scored two touchdowns, while Jeff Donovan went 19-27 for 353 yards with three touchdowns and one interception, accounting for over three-fourths of the Warhawk offense. Ryan Luessenheide completed 8 of 15 passes for 76 yards, one touchdown, and no interceptions for the Falcons. Taylor Edwards rushed for 79 yards on 27 attempts. Warhawk Aaron Rusch, who had seven receptions for 127 yards, broke the career reception mark formerly held by Jim Leszczynski (2002-2005).
Follow the Warhawks: The game will be carried by long-time partner WKCH radio, 106.5 FM. The station's website and the UW-W athletics site (www.uwwsports.com) will stream the broadcast.
Coming Up: UW-W will host UW-Stevens Point at Perkins Stadium in the annual Homecoming game Saturday, October 30 with a 1:00 kickoff. The game is also UW-W Athletics Hall of Fame Day. Tickets can be purchased at the University Ticket Office, located in the Connor University Center on campus and open Monday-Friday during normal business hours, and at the Perkins Stadium ticket window on game day. Call 262-472-2222 for UW-W ticket information.