Nov. 28, 2009

Courtesy of Wis.-Whitewater

UW-Whitewater advanced to the quarterfinals of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III playoffs with a 45-7 second round win over Illinois Wesleyan University Saturday afternoon at Perkins Stadium in Whitewater, Wisconsin.  UW-W, 12-0, will host Wittenberg University, 12-0, in a quarterfinal game at 12:00 Saturday, December 5 in Perkins Stadium.

UW-W senior defensive back Paul Wick intercepted a Kraig Ladd pass, the third offensive play of the game for the Titans, to give Whitewater a first and goal at the seven.  After a two yard run Jason Ford caught a Jeff Donovan pass to open the scoring.  It was Ford's first touchdown as a Warhawk.

Wesleyan returned the kickoff to their own 29.  After moving the ball downfield, Ladd threw an apparent TD pass to Eli Williams from six yards out, but the score was nullified by a holding penalty.  With third and goal from the 22 Ladd dropped back again and was intercepted by UW-W's Zach Christopherson at the two.

Later in the first quarter IWU pinned the Warhawks at the one by downing a punt.  UW-W then went 97 yards on eleven plays setting a second and five at the IWU ten, but a Warhawk fumble, forced by Dan Rogers, was recovered by Neil Loftus at the two.  

The Warhawk defense pinned IWU back in their zone, and gave the ball to the UW-W offense at the 50.  Donovan hooked up with Jordan Wells  for thirty yards on the first play.  Two Levell Coppage rushes later Donovan and Wells combined for a four yard TD, putting UW-W up 14-0 after the Jeff Schebler kick.

Wesleyan cut the deficit in half with a five play 74 yard drive, with Ladd and Williams going 42 yards for the score.

A 46 yard field goal by Jeff Schebler capped the half with Whitewater leading 17-7.

Whitewater took the second half kickoff and covered 71 yards in nine plays.  Coppage ran the ball six times for 45 yards on the drive, eleven coming on the touchdown run at 10:24 in the third to put UW-W in front 24-7 after Schebler's kick.

The Warhawk defense set up another score in the third quarter.  Anthony White sacked Ladd and forced a fumble that Luke Hibner recovered at the IWU 31.  The third play after the turnover Donovan threw his third TD of the day, hitting Adam Brandes for 33 yards out.  Schebler made 31-7 at 2:10.

UW-W's next possession was a workman-like 12 play, 85 yard drive.  Coppage ran the ball ten times, totaling 47 of the drive, including a six yard TD play.  Schebler made it 38-7.

The defense established field possession, in fact possession, again when UW-W DB Graham Hall picked off Ladd at the 50 yard line in the fourth.  Antwan Anderson ran the ball eight of the nine plays on the ensuing drive, running in from the four to end the scoring.

UW-W rolled up 507 yards of offense and IWU 206.  IWU's total included 30 yards rushing on 22 attempts.   

Ladd completed 17-31 passes for 170 yards, with the one touchdown and three picks.  He was sacked three times.  Williams caught eight passes for 79 yards for the Titans.  Safety Robert Beauchamp had 17 tackles (8 solo) for IWU and fellow DB P.J. Cummings had 12 (seven solo).

Donovan was 21-28 for 271 yards and three touchdowns.  He did not throw an interception and was sacked once, just the fourth sack of a Whitewater QB this season.  Aaron Rusch, UW-W's all-time reception leader, caught seven passes for 83 yards.  He has 180 catches for 2,472 yards, third highest career yardage total in the UW-W record book.  Coppage rushed 32 times 188 yards and two scores.  His season total of 1,764 is third in the school book, passing Travis Talton (1,599 in 1988) and Spencer Johnson (1,697 in 1994).  Coppage, now with 29 rushing touchdowns, added to his school and Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference record.  White was credited with 2.5 sacks today, breaking a tie and placing him alone in fifth place on the school career list with 21.5

UW-W opened the playoffs with a 70-7 home field win over Lakeland College November 21.