Winning never gets old, for the 35th time in a row the
UW-Whitewater football team won, this time 42-10 over UW-River
Falls in River Falls Saturday. The Warhawks have now defeated
the Falcons ten straight times. UW-W remains undefeated this
season, 5-0 overall and 2-0 in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate
Athletic Conference. UW-W also boasts 23 straight wins on the
road and 19 straight wins in the WIAC. UW-River Falls is now
0-5 overall and 0-3 in the WIAC.
UW-W, ranked first in the D3football.com and American Football Coaches Association polls, forced the Falcons into a three and out on the first possession of the ball game. The Warhawks followed by covering 52 yards in seven plays for the first score of the game, a rushing touchdown by UW-W's career touchdown leader Levell Coppage. The drive included a 34 yard reception by sophomore wide receiver Luke Menzel and a fourth and one conversion by Coppage. The extra point by Eric Kindler was good.
Again the 'Hawks forced the Falcons into a three and out but this time they weren't able to score on the ensuing possession. A third straight three and out followed for the Falcons and the Warhawks took over at their own 35 after downing the punt. On the third play of the drive Matt Blanchard threw his second interception of the season, just the fifth of his career, to Falcons' senior defensive back Matt Ainsworth. However, the Warhawk defense came through and held the Falcons to their fourth straight three and out.
UW-W took over on their own 33 after the Falcon punt and went 67 yards in six plays to take a 14-0 lead. Blanchard connected with Robinson for six yards on the first play of the drive. On the second play Coppage rushed for no gain, and on the third play, the Warhawks were aided by a Falcon pass interference call to gain a first down. After another completion by Blanchard, this time to Bernie Tamsett, then an incompletion, Coppage rushed 37 yards on third down for his second rushing touchdown of the game and ninth of the season.
The Falcons started the second quarter with the ball and a deficit of 14 points. After eight plays River Falls found themselves in a fourth and five situation. They decided to go for it but were flagged for a false start and were forced to punt. Shane Covington was set to return the punt for UW-W but bobbled the fair catch and the Falcons recovered at the three yard line. Two plays later the Falcons crossed the goal line and knocked through an extra point to tighten the score 14-7.
On the ensuing drive UW-W marched 80 yards and scored on a touchdown strike from Blanchard to Tamsett that covered four yards. Blanchard went 6-for-6 for 59 yards on the drive, while rushing for eight yards on two carries. Desmin Ward accounted for the other 13 yards on three carries.
With a 21-7 lead the Warhawk defense went back to work and stopped the Falcons after six plays. On the following drive the Warhawks went 83 yards, scoring on a 45 yard pass from Blanchard to Tyler Huber. The Warhawks used great balance on the drive throwing the ball five times and rushing four times.
The Falcons drove down to the Warhawk 27 yard line and lined up for a field goal to end the half, but Kyle Wismer blocked the kick and the teams went in to intermission with the Warhawks leading 28-7.
On the very first play of the second half, after a 30 yard kickoff return by Zach Howard that set UW-W up at the Falcon 40, Blanchard connected with Huber again, this time for 60 yards, to give UW-W a 35-7 lead after another Kindler extra point.
The following four drives, two by each team, resulted in no points.
The Falcons took over with 5:52 in the third quarter at their own 11 and drove to the Warhawk 29 yard line. On fourth and eight UW-RF elected to go for a field goal and Chad Blair again had his kick tipped at the line of scrimmage but it sailed through the uprights and the score was 35-10.
The teams traded possessions again without scoring. With 12:08 remaining in the game UW-W took over at their own 43. The Warhawks used 14 plays and 7:32 minutes to score their sixth and final touchdown of the game, this time a 10 yard rushing score by Desmin Ward.
River Falls punted after three plays and UW-W took over with 2:26 left in the game. On their first play of the drive UW-W coughed it up and the Falcons recovered. The Warhawk defense came through again forcing a loss of 19 yards for the Falcons before they punted it away. UW-W took a knee to run out the last 22 seconds of the game and preserve the victory.
Blanchard threw for 277 yards on 20 of 29 passing. Tyler Huber was on the receiving end of eight of those passes for 156 yards and 2 touchdowns. Coppage led both teams in rushing yards with 74 on 14 carries, an average of 4.9 yards per carry.
Jared Kiesow led the Warhawks with six total tackles, but Ryan Cortez chipped in five, two for a loss, and Greg Arnold tossed in four, also two for a loss. Zack Cook and Mykael Bratchett each recorded a sack. Cook's forced a loss of seven yards and Bratchett's a loss of 16. Noah Timm picked off one Falcon pass in the third quarter for the only Warhawk interception of the day.
The Warhawks own the nation's longest football win streak -- in any level of four year college football. UW-W, NCAA III champions in 2009 and 2010, has won 35 consecutive games, more than any NCAA FBS, NCAA FCS, NCAA II, or NAIA school. Whitewater's streak is not only longer but it is almost three times longer than the next team. Here are the longest current streaks at each level in college football:
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater (NCAA III): 35
Stanford University (FBS): 12 (play Saturday, October 8 at 6:30 pm)
Washburn University, Wayne State (NCAA II): 10
Sam Houston State (FCS): 6 (game on Saturday, October 8 was not yet complete)
NAIA (Carroll of Montana had the longest streak snapped at 15 with a September 10 loss)
Next up for UW-W will be UW-Stout who comes to Perkins Stadium in Whitewater for a WIAC matchup on Friday, October 14. The game is a 7:00 pm start and a fireworks display will be held following the game. Tickets for UW-W home games are sold at the University Center ticket office Monday-Friday during normal business hours. Tickets are also sold at Perkins Stadium on game day. Call 262-472-2222 for ticket information.