/seasons/2010/contrib/20101211vdxpi6

Warhawk defense locks up Salem trip

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UW-Whitewater defense
After getting knocked around a bit the first two weeks of the playoffs, the UW-Whitewater defense has allowed just 17 points in the past two games.

For the fourth consecutive week, UW-Whitewater didn't have Matt Blanchard at quarterback. But once again, it didn't matter. Both the Warhawk offense and defense were clicking on Saturday as the defense intercepted five passes, including three picks in four Justin Sottilare pass attempts, to pull away to a 27-7 win.

With Lee Brekke at quarterback, the Warhawks (14-0) drove to the 1-yard line before having to settle for a 19-yard Eric Kindler field goal, which got tipped at the line but still had enough to make it through the uprights, to put UW-W on the board with 8:01 left in the first.

Taking advantage of field position, Wesley began a drive later in the quarter on its own 45. On the third play of the mini-drive, Wesley quarterback Justin Sottilare found Matt Barile with a 38-yard scoring toss. Barile's first touchdown of the season, and just his fifth catch of the season, put Wesley in front 7-3 with 1:08 on the clock.

"They were playing man coverage and we had a good play call," Barile said. "Justin made a good throw and I just ran under it and caught it. It gave us the lead and I thought a good shot to win."

UW-W answered on the next drive, traveling 72 yards on six plays, with Brekke connecting with Adam-Brandes for a 35 yard score, making it 10-7 Whitewater with 13:24 left in the half.

The Warhawk defense forced a three-and-out, and its offense began marching again. Wesley ended the drive with a Jeff Morgan interception at the Wesley 22. The UW-W defense responded in kind, with defensive back Jared Kiesow picking off a Wesley pass at the 16, and he returned it to the Whitewater 34. UW-W moved the ball 24 yards on three plays, but Morgan picked off his second Warhawk pass of the day at Wesley's 32.

The teams went in to the locker room with a halftime score of 10-7 Whitewater.

Neither team scored in the third period until a Matt McCulloch interception set up a run by Levell Coppage with 3:25 left in the quarter. The Wolverines turned the ball over again and Coppage plunged in from the one for a 24-7 lead through three quarters of action.

"There were turnovers on our part and there were turnovers on their part and that's what happens in games like this," UW-Whitewater coach Lance Leipold said after the game. "It was a very good defense (for Wesley). ... At this stage we're just happy to get out with a win."

UW-W turned to its offensive line and the Coppage offense, much like the second half in the win over North Central last week, handing the ball off to the junior running back eight consecutive plays, ending with a one yard touchdown run to put the Warhawks in front 17-7 with 3:25 left in the third.

Deja vu for Wesley, because Sottilare was picked off on its first play after the kickoff, this time by linebacker Greg Arnold who made it from the Whitewater 36 to the one yard line. Sottilare had thrown four passes in this span, with three of them picked off by the Warhawks. Coppage walked in on the next play to make it 24-7 with 3:01 left in the third, giving UW-W 14 points in 24 seconds.

The next time they had the ball the Wolverines drove to the Whitewater 26, but lost yardage to the 33 and failed on a fourth and nine attempt.

Whitewater's final score ended a seven play, 56 yard drive, highlighted by a 32 yard run by Coppage. Kindler booted his second field goal of the day, this time from 28 yards with 10:01 left in the game and UW-W leading 27-7.

Wesley continued to come back, advancing to the Whitewater 8, but a Wesley Hicks sack pushed the Wolverines back to the 19, where Sottilare threw his fifth interception of the day with Kiesow picking off his second in the end zone.

The five interceptions are the most by UW-W since the Warhawks picked off eight UW-Superior passes in 1982.

The Warhawk defense limited Wesley to minus-7 yards rushing, the fourth time this season that UW-W has held an opponent to negative yards rushing. Whitewater, behind 146 yards by Coppage, rushed for 172 yards. Wesley made up some of the difference passing, throwing the ball 44 times for 256 yards.

"The run wasn't a big part of our game plan," said Wesley coach Mike Drass. "I mean, you look at who has run the ball on them this year and the answer is no one. We thought we could move the ball through the air. We'd have liked to have run the ball better, but we also didn't plan to run the ball 40 times either."

Brekke went 13-for-19 passing for 144 yards, one TD and two interceptions. Senior wide receiver Aaron Rusch led both teams with six catches for 64 yards. Sottilare was 24-for-43 for 256 yards, one TD and the five picks. Sophomore tailback Brandon Wright was on the receiving end of five of those passes for 62 yards.

Linebacker Lane Olson topped the Warhawks with four solo tackles, five assists and one tackle for a loss. Wolverine senior safety Aaron Benson had a game ten tackles, eight of them solo. Morgan was one of four players with seven tackles on the afternoon, intercepted two passes and broke up another.

With 12 wins this season, the Wolverines are 25-2 the past two years, the third best mark in Division III, but couldn't get over the hump in the national semifinals for the fourth time in six seasons.

"UW-Whitewater, there weren't any chinks (in their armor)," said Drass. "You don't get out there and say 'ah hah, here's where we're going to attack them.' You gotta outplay them.

"I think there are some teams out there that are real close but you gotta perform."

UW-Whitewater will meet Mount Union in Salem, Va., for the national championship, next Saturday, Dec. 18. "This is the sixth year in a row. It's not as easy as it might appear to people on the outside," said Leipold. "It's an honor every year to get there and have a chance to compete for a national championship. We definitely don't take it for granted."  

Oct. 19: All times Eastern
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Martin Luther 21, at Northwestern (Minn.) 6
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at Stevenson 33, Wilkes 21
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at RPI 31, Hobart 24
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at MIT 13, Coast Guard 0
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Norwich 15, at Maine Maritime 7
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at Dean 53, Gallaudet 21
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Endicott 45, at Becker 13
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Frostburg State 24, at Montclair State 17
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SUNY-Maritime 68, at Castleton 41
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at Trinity (Texas) 28, Sewanee 14
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Johns Hopkins 51, at Gettysburg 14
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N.C. Wesleyan 29, at Brevard 21
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Union 29, at St. Lawrence 7
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at Middlebury 35, Bates 34
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Trinity (Conn.) 48, at Bowdoin 6
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Springfield 23, at Catholic 11
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Amherst 33, at Wesleyan 3
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at Plymouth State 17, Massachusetts Maritime 14
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at Husson 54, Anna Maria 14
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TCNJ 13, at Kean 8
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Carnegie Mellon 41, at Thiel 7
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Salve Regina 30, at Curry 21
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King's 37, at Albright 26
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Trine 31, at Finlandia 0
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Susquehanna 41, at Ursinus 35
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Delaware Valley 52, at Lebanon Valley 7
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at Western New England 70, University of New England 13
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Franklin and Marshall 35, at Dickinson 14
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at Wabash 32, Oberlin 7
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at Westminster (Pa.) 27, Washington and Jefferson 20
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at Hampden-Sydney 38, Guilford 35
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at Randolph-Macon 44, Bridgewater 41
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Cortland 56, at Hartwick 3
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at Denison 27, Ohio Wesleyan 10
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Waynesburg 12, at St. Vincent 10
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Salisbury 33, at Southern Virginia 0
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at Methodist 42, Greensboro 6
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Christopher Newport 39, at William Paterson 10
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Albion 49, at Adrian 42
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Thomas More 35, at St. Scholastica 0
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Lake Forest 24, at Grinnell 0
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at John Carroll 27, Marietta 24
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at Tufts 28, Williams 21
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Ohio Northern 49, at Capital 46
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Baldwin Wallace 35, at Wilmington 33
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at Lycoming 52, Alvernia 0
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at Rose-Hulman 44, Anderson 6
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Hanover 48, at Manchester 14
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Mount St. Joseph 20, at Defiance 0
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Maryville (Tenn.) 37, at LaGrange 17
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Framingham State 27, at Westfield State 2
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Morrisville State 35, at St. John Fisher 7
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at Muskingum 21, Otterbein 14
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at Berry 28, Millsaps 21
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at Muhlenberg 42, McDaniel 18
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at Rowan 28, Wesley 27
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at Wooster 28, Hiram 21
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Allegheny 54, at Kenyon 10
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at Nebraska Wesleyan 23, Luther 15
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Wheaton (Ill.) 20, at Augustana 3
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at Eureka 50, Benedictine 20
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Mary Hardin-Baylor 49, at Belhaven 0
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at Hardin-Simmons 58, Texas Lutheran 14
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Chicago 63, at Beloit 0
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at Concordia (Wis.) 45, Concordia-Chicago 34
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Aurora 25, at Rockford 7
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Lakeland 38, at Wisconsin Lutheran 12
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at St. John's 57, St. Olaf 7
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at Gustavus Adolphus 42, Augsburg 0
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Dubuque 38, at Buena Vista 7
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UW-Stout 31, at UW-Stevens Point 27
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Millikin 14, at Elmhurst 13
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UW-Eau Claire 40, at UW-Platteville 16
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at St. Thomas 68, Carleton 0
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at Mass-Dartmouth 41, Worcester State 27
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at Wartburg 47, Central 20
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at UW-Oshkosh 24, UW-La Crosse 13
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at UW-Whitewater 44, UW-River Falls 7
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at Birmingham-Southern 47, Austin 35
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Centre 41, at Rhodes 14
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at Carroll 23, North Park 0
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at Kalamazoo 17, Alma 10
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at Pacific Lutheran 33, Willamette 20
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at Averett 45, Huntingdon 17
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Washington and Lee 38, at Ferrum 35
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Redlands 35, at La Verne 17
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Whitworth 47, at Puget Sound 13
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Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 27, at Occidental 7
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Linfield 14, at George Fox 0
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at Hope 35, Olivet 30
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at Western Connecticut 50, Bridgewater State 48
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Case Western Reserve 27, at Geneva 14
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at Sul Ross State 28, Howard Payne 27
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East Texas Baptist 48, at Louisiana College 27
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Illinois Wesleyan 27, at Washington U. 21
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St. Norbert 46, at Lawrence 0
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at Pomona-Pitzer 42, Whittier 17
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Chapman 33, at Cal Lutheran 29
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Frostburg State 24, at Montclair State 17
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at RPI 31, Hobart 24
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Trine 31, at Finlandia 0
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at Wittenberg 38, DePauw 23
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at Westminster (Pa.) 27, Washington and Jefferson 20
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Delaware Valley 52, at Lebanon Valley 7
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Johns Hopkins 51, at Gettysburg 14
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at Mount Union 54, Heidelberg 0
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at John Carroll 27, Marietta 24
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at Berry 28, Millsaps 21
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at Rowan 28, Wesley 27
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at Muhlenberg 42, McDaniel 18
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Wheaton (Ill.) 20, at Augustana 3
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Mary Hardin-Baylor 49, at Belhaven 0
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at St. John's 57, St. Olaf 7
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at Hardin-Simmons 58, Texas Lutheran 14
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North Central (Ill.) 26, at Carthage 14
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at St. Thomas 68, Carleton 0
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at UW-Oshkosh 24, UW-La Crosse 13
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at UW-Whitewater 44, UW-River Falls 7
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at Brockport 65, Buffalo State 7
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Whitworth 47, at Puget Sound 13
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Linfield 14, at George Fox 0
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Case Western Reserve 27, at Geneva 14
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Illinois Wesleyan 27, at Washington U. 21
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