Whitewater Defense and Howards' Returns Key 65-0 Win
The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater capitalized on six
turnovers and a pair of Howard (Justin and Zach) punt returns in a
65-0 win over Waldorf College Saturday in Perkins Stadium in
Photo Gallery (courtesy of Alex Saager)
Justin Howard's 27 yard punt return gave UW-W the ball on Waldorf's 28 yard line on the Warhawks' first possession. Nine plays later Eric Kindler booted a 31 yard field goal to put Whitewater in front 3-0 with 12:33 left in the opening quarter.
The Warhawk defense stymied the Warriors with a three and out, and the UW-W offense took over at the 50 yard line. It took just six plays, highlighted by a 29 yard pass from Matt Behrendt to Jake Kumerow, for Nick Patterson to carry it in from six yards out with 10:12 on the clock Kindler's extra point made it 10-0.
Just three plays into Waldorf's next time with the ball, quarterback Sam Fisk fumbled and linebacker Ryan Cortez recovered at the Waldorf 22 for UW-W. Behrendt found Tyler Huber with a scoring strike on the next play and Kindler's kick upped the Whitewater lead to 17-0 with 9:23 left in the first period.
Waldorf had just earned its initial first down of the game when, facing second and ten at their own 43, Fisk was picked by defensive back Brady Grayvold, who took the ball back 35 yards to the Waldorf 31. On the fourth play Dennis Moore plunged in from the one yard line for a 24-0 lead after Kindler's kick, 6:29 still remaining in the first quarter.
Whitewater's defense holed up Waldorf again, setting up the UW-W offense on Whitewater's 44 after a punt. Kindler, a senior, converted that possession too, connecting on a 50 yard field goal, the longest of his career to put the Warhawks in front 27-0. His previous best was a 47 yarder at UW-Oshkosh October 22, 2011.
The 27 points is the most UW-Whitewater has scored in the first quarter since notching 28 versus Dakota State University September 11, 2010. It is also the most points in any quarter since the Warhawks scored 28 in the second stanza against Franklin College October 10, 2011.
Late in the second quarter defensive back Andrew Keister stepped in front of a Fisk pass and sailed 88 yards down the right sideline to increase the Whitewater lead to 34-0 with Kindler's kick with 1:30 left in the half. Keister's interception return for a touchdown is the second longest in school history, behind only Daryl Schliem's 92-yarder in 1982.
The Warhawk defense keyed another score in the second quarter, with safety Zach Nellis recovering a fumble at the Waldorf 44. Ryan Givens' three yard run capped a six play drive that ended with 2:51 still to go to halftime. Kindler's PAT made it 41-0.
The defense also set up the final score of the half. Linebacker Ryan Cortez intercepted a Fisk pass and returned it to the Waldorf 13, where Kindler's third field goal of the half, from 32 yards with 0:56 on the clock, made it 44-0 at halftime.
The 44 points is the most scored in a half by UW-Whitewater since totaling 48 September 12, 2007 against Midland Lutheran College.
Whitewater started the second half on its 25 after the Warrior kickoff was downed in the end zone. Freshman quarterback Chris Nelson directed a seven play, 75 yard drive for the touchdown. Nelson connected with wide receiver Steve Morris for 51 yards on the drive, and sophomore offensive lineman Johnny Wiederholt recovered a Warhawk fumble in the end zone for the score, increasing the Whitewater lead to 51-0 after Kindler's extra point.
As with the start of the game, a 35 yard punt return by Howard (this time Zach) went to the Waldorf five, and set up a five yard scoring run by sophomore Jordan Ratliffe. The extra point by Kindler made it 58-0 with 13:43 left in the game.
The Warhawk defense bottled up Waldorf again, and after punt, UW-W's offense started at the Waldorf 40. Freshman Booker Ross' nine yard run, and Kindler's kick, ended the scoring with 2:48 left in the game.
The 65 point difference is the second largest winning margin in UW-W history. The largest came in a 70-0 win over UW-Eau Claire in 1958
Whitewater's defense limited Waldorf to 189 yards, just 78 for a 2.1 average on the ground. The Warriors completed 12-29 passes for 111 yards, with UW-W forcing three interceptions and recovering three fumbles. UW-W did not turn the ball over. The Warhawks rushed for 228 yards, 5.2 per carry. The passing game, 16-28, contributed 193 yards.
Ratliffe led six UW-W rushers with 73 yards on ten carries. Behrendt completed 12-22 for 131 yards, with Kumerow catching four for 62 yards. For the Warriors, Emmanuel Osuchukwu rushed 15 times for 56 yards. Fisk was 8-22 for 75 yards, with the three interceptions. Senior wide receiver Chris Salinas caught half of Fisk's completions for 25 yards.
Thirty Warhawks defenders recorded a tackle in the game, led by senior linebacker Cole Klotz with nine, plus two tackles for a loss. Strong safety Kenny Brown had nine for Waldorf and one tackle for a loss.
UW-W, 3-0, will open Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play next Saturday, October 5 at UW-La Crosse. The next home game for Whitewater will be October 12 at 2:00 versus UW-Stout, the annual Family Fest campus event.