Warhawks’ defense steps up
Minett’s forced fumble leads to UW-Whitewater’s lone TD
SALEM, Va. -- In Friday's Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl, points weren't easy to come by.
That's going to happen when two top-five scoring defenses square off against one another.
Wisconsin-Whitewater held off Mount Union 13-10 to claim its third consecutive national championship, and guess who made the biggest play of the game?
That's right. The defense.
The Warhawks were leading 3-0 late in the third quarter and Mount Union had the ball deep in its own territory.
On 3rd-and-16, Whitewater lineman Loussaint Minett stripped the ball away from Mount Union quarterback Matt Piloto, and Cole Klotz recovered the ball at the 1-yard line to set up the Warhawks for an easy score.
Levell Coppage ran the ball in on the next play and Eric Kindler nailed the extra point to put Whitewater up 10-0.
So how did Minett come up the the strip?
"I can't remember what was going through my head," said Minett, who was named most outstanding player of the game. "Every play I just focus on keeping my motor running. I chased him down. I ripped it out. It was a great feeling."
While that may have been one of the biggest plays of the game, it wasn't the only example of how great the two defenses played.
The numbers don't lie.
Besides the low score, the other offensive stats aren't too pretty either.
Mount Union finished with 238 yards of total offense while Whitewater only tallied 210.
|Wisconsin-Whitewater vs. Mount Union|
Coppage, who shredded the Raiders defense for 299 yards and three touchdowns last season, finished with just 91 yards in 32 attempts on the ground.
The first points of the game didn't even come untill Kindler's field goal with 11:19 left in the second quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Mount Union managed to score 10 points to tighten its deficit, but when Whitewater needed it most, the defense again stepped up.
The Raiders trailed 13-10 and had the ball on their own 31 with time running out.
But the Warhawks stiffened up to force three incompletions and just a 3-yard reception on fourth down to seal the victory.
"Another exciting fourth-quarter game between these two football teams that went down to the very end," Whitewater coach Lance Leipold said.