/seasons/2018/contrib/201809156akl1s

UW-La Crosse Drops Home Opener to Dickinson State

La Crosse, Wis. - The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse football team dropped its 2018 home opener, 35-17, to Dickinson State University (N.D.) Saturday afternoon at Roger Harring Stadium at Veterans Memorial Field Sports Complex.  The Eagles, ranked 23rd on D3football.com, fall to 2-1 on the season while the Blue Hawks, ranked 20th in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), improve to 2-1. 

In the first-ever meeting between the two teams and the heat index at 93 degrees, Dickinson State (N.D.) forced UWL to punt after the first possession of the game.  The Blue Hawks then went 86 yards in nine plays and 3:06 with Nick Miller scoring on a six-yard run. Cody Johnson converted the extra-point attempt.  After the teams traded punts, UWL cut the lead to 7-3 on Ryan Beirne's 24-yard field goal with 2:33 left in the first quarter. The drive went 71 yards in 15 plays and 5:53.

Dickinson State (N.D.) took a 14-3 lead with 9:12 remaining in the second quarter as Amad Andrews Jr. scored on a one-yard run.  The Blue Hawks went 69 yards in 11 plays and 4:11. The Eagles cut the lead to 14-10 at halftime on a drive late in the second quarter. UWL took over at its own 10-yard line with 2:24 remaining and went 90 yards in six plays and 1:39 to cut the lead to four after Ben Schramski connected with Cole Spieker on a 38-yard touchdown pass. Schramski went three-of-four on the drive for 73 yards. 

The teams traded turnovers on the first two possessions of the second half as UWL's Garrett Graf intercepted Gibson on the first play from scrimmage. Six players later, Schramski was intercepted by Lewis Dobitz in the Blue Hawks' end zone. Dickinson used a 80-yard, 13 play drive in 5:27 to take a 21-10 lead after Gibson threw a four-yard touchdown pass to Tyger Frye with 7:29 left in the third quarter.  Gibson and Frye connected again later in the quarter on a 70-yard touchdown pass to make it 28-10.  The Blue Hawks went 72 yards in three plays and :50.  Andrews Jr. scored on a one-yard run with 1:16 left in the third quarter to make it 35-10 as the team went 76 yards in five plays and 2:25.

UWL cut the lead to 35-17 with :50 remaining in the game as Evan Lewandowski hit Dominic Labellarte on a 38-yard touchdown pass. The Eagles went 67 yards in four plays and 1:09.  UWL recovered the onside kick, but the drive was ended on the Dickson State (N.D.) 31-yard line. 

UWL finished with 377 yards of offense Saturday, including 79 yards rushing and 298 yards passing.  Schramski was 18-of-36 for 219 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions while Lewandowski finished four-of-seven for 79 yards and one touchdown.  Austin Mancosky led the Eagles with 33 yards rushing on 12 carries while Jalen Clark finished with 31 yards on seven attempts. 

Spieker led the team with six catches for 87 yards while Labellarte had five receptions for a team-high 103 yards.  

UWL had 21 first downs while going five-of-14 on third-down. The Eagles were one-of-two in red-zone opportunities. It is UWL's first non-conference loss (8-1) under third-year head coach Mike Schmidt.

Dickinson State (N.D.) totaled 532 yards on offense, including 250 rushing and 282 passing.  Gibson went 18-of-28 for 282 yards with two touchdowns and one interception with Frye finishing with 132 yards receiving and two touchdowns on nine catches.  Roderick Ashford led the Blue Hawks with 74 yards rushing on four carries.  Andrews Jr. had a pair of touchdown rushes.

The Blue Hawks had 22 first downs, were 12-of-18 on third-down and won the time of possession, 36:50 to 23:10.  Dickinson State (N.D.) was four-of-five in the red-zone.

Peter Kissling led UWL with 17 tackles while Elijah McGeehan finished with 16 and Rusty Murphy with 10.  Kevin Brown, Aaric Spring and Derick VandeBossche each finished with six tackles to lead Dickinson State (N.D.). 

UWL returns to action Saturday, September 29 hosting 10th-ranked UW-Whitewater at 4 p.m. in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) opener. 

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