November 5, 2011

UW-Platteville Wins Third-Straight WIAC Game in 27-17 Win Over UW-Stout

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The Pioneers (6-3, 4-2 WIAC) jumped out to a 21-3 first quarter lead to start the contest. UW-Platteville quarterback Nick Anderson completed 14 of 21 passes for 123 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another touchdown; plus, running back Lee Vlasak ran the ball 12 times for 53 yards and a touchdown as the Pioneers had a balanced attack in the win.

Freshman defensive back Jaylan Bailey became the first Pioneer in a little over a year to pick off two passes. With a balanced offensive attack, it was an aggressive Pioneer defense that sacked UW-Stout quarterback Ross Carey three times and picked off three passes. Freshman linebacker Jacob Zilbar had a team-high nine tackles, including a sack and junior defensive back Ryan McWethy had eight tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery.

UW-Stout (5-4, 3-3 WIAC) also featured a balanced attack with Eric Brown leading the Blue Devils with a game-high 105 yards and two touchdowns. Carey threw for 121 yards after completing 11 of 21 passes as three different Blue Devils had an interception in the loss.

After going three and out to start the game, the Pioneers scored a touchdown on its next three possessions for the early lead. To spark the first touchdown, the Pioneers' junior Ryan McWethy picked off his second pass of the season and returned it down to the UW-Stout 9. Three plays later, on third down, Anderson found Ryley Bailey for a 13-yard touchdown pass to put the Pioneers in front 7-0.

The Blue Devils answered the UW-Platteville score with a 31-yard field goal to cut the lead to 7-3. Next, the Pioneers moved down the field as Anderson completed five of seven passes. The last of the five completions was a 20-yard touchdown pass to Paul Reit on a 3rd and 10 play. The touchdown put the Pioneers up 14 to 3 with 3:59 left in the first quarter.

On the next possession for UW-Stout, McWethy and the Pioneers special teams unit gave UW-Platteville the ball at the 17-yard line when punter Mike Scherr muffed the snap. An alert McWethy landed on the ball for the Pioneers to set up the ball in the red zone for UW-Platteville.

The Pioneers got the ball down to the UW-Stout 8 before a penalty on the Blue Devils extended a drive for the Pioneers. Two plays later, Anderson ran the ball in from the five to put the Pioneers ahead 21-3 with 43 seconds left in the first quarter.

UW-Stout cut into the Pioneer lead when Brown scored his first of two touchdowns, early in the second quarter, when he ran it in from 28 yards out. Next, the Blue Devils successfully recovered an on-side kick. However, two plays later, Bailey intercepted his first of two passes to take away the UW-Stout momentum. The Pioneers were unable to capitalize on the turnover and UW-Stout embarked on a 16-play drive for the next eight minutes. However, the Blue Devils came away without any points as a 32-yard field goal sailed wide right. UW-Stout did get back on the scoreboard, early in the third quarter, when they took advantage of a Pioneer turnover to cut the deficit to 21-17.

At the end of the third quarter, the Pioneers took control of the clock and the scoreboard. UW-Platteville went on a 12 play, 51-yard drive that took 5:39, ending with a 1-yard touchdown plunge by Lee Vlasak to stretch the Pioneers lead to 27-17. Twice on the drive, UW-Platteville converted on third down.

After the touchdown by the Pioneers, the Blue Devils moved down the field to the UW-Platteville 24. Bailey ended the drive for the Blue Devils with his second interception of the game. UW-Stout forced the Pioneers to punt on their next drive, but again, it was the UW-Platteville defense that answered the challenge. Facing a 4th and 1, Pioneer safety Dave Daino came up and stopped the Blue Devils' Paul Bernier for a two-yard loss.

After the stop, the Pioneers took possession with 6:19 left in the game. Back-to-back runs of 15 yards by Vlasak moved the ball down to the Blue Devils 19. Later in the drive, facing a 4th and 3 with 2:15 to play, John Kelly completed a 10-yard pass to Ryley Bailey to ice the victory for the Pioneers.

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