The No. 23 ranked University of Wisconsin-Whitewater football team concluded the regular season with its sixth consecutive victory Saturday, earning a 36-3 win against UW-Eau Claire in a Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference contest at Perkins Stadium.
The Warhawks (7-3 overall, 6-1 WIAC) wrapped up a second-place finish in the conference and a perfect 4-0 record in home games this season.
Junior running back Drew Patterson led UW-Whitewater with 20 carries for 173 yards and three touchdowns. Senior wide receiver Marcus Hudson caught four passes for 101 yards and one score, and junior quarterback Cole Wilber totaled 168 passing yards and one touchdown.
Junior linebacker Bryce Leszczynski collected a team-high 11 tackles. Junior defensive lineman Harry Henschler posted six stops, including two sacks to increase his league-leading total to 14.
The Warhawks' defense surrendered only 98 rushing yards and forced three turnovers, allowing only a third-quarter field goal in the contest.
After the two teams exchanged punts to start the game, Wilber hit Patterson for a 39-yard screen pass, and freshman kicker Wojciech Gasienica kicked his first of three field goals on the day, a 19-yarder with 6:12 left in the first quarter.
The Blugolds (1-9, 0-7) drove into UW-Whitewater territory on the ensuing drive, but a sack by Henschler on fourth down gave the Warhawks the ball near midfield.
On the first play of the drive, Wilber hit Hudson down the right sideline for a 53-yard touchdown and a 10-0 lead with 2:14 remaining in the first. The touchdown for Hudson was the 21st of his career to place him in a tie for fifth in program history.
A botched punt gave UW-Whitewater the ball back deep in UW-Eau Claire territory, and Gasienica hit from 26 yards out to give the team a 13-0 advantage with 14:54 to go in the first half.
Gasienica converted another field goal later in the quarter, a 41-yard strike that put the Warhawks ahead 16-0 with 5:14 on the clock.
After an interception by junior defensive back Famus Hasty, UW-Whitewater drove 62 yards in eight plays as Patterson reached over the pile at the line of scrimmage for a 1-yard touchdown at the 1:13 mark of the second quarter.
The Warhawks made a goal-line stand on third-and-goal from the 1-yard line on the next possession to take a 23-0 shutout into the second half.
After an interception by freshman defensive back Shannon Sanford Jr., UW-Whitewater scored again on its first drive of the third as Patterson weaved his way to the left pile-on for a 23-yard score with 12:42 left in the quarter.
The Blugolds got on the board with 5:20 to play in the third. Following a Warhawk turnover, junior defensive back Bailey Breunig returned the favor with an interception in the end zone to give UW-Whitewater the ball back near the end of the third quarter.
On the second play of the fourth, Patterson raced 82 yards for his third score of the game on a carry that put him over 1,000 rushing yards for the second straight season and gave the Warhawks their 14th consecutive season with a 1,000-yard rusher.
UW-Whitewater recognized its 13 seniors and two senior student managers prior to the contest. Led by the group over the last four years, the program posted a 46-6 record and one national championship (2014), two other NCAA Playoffs appearances and a pair of WIAC championships.
The Warhawks also recognized 2017 Shriner queen Ashley Utter, a 19-year-old who was born three months premature and diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Shriners Hospital for Children is one of the largest pediatric subspecialty health care systems in the world.
As part of Veterans Day, all current and former military personnel were admitted free to the game with one guest. UW-Whitewater donned special military appreciation uniforms as part of the recognition.