Sept. 4, 2010

Courtesy of UW-Whitewater Athletics

The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, the defending NCAA Division III champion, opened the 2010 season with a 35-0 win over Adrian College Saturday afternoon in Perkins Stadium in Whitewater.

Both teams took a while to settle in to a rhythm.  The teams combined for just one more first down than punts (5-4) in the scoreless first quarter, and Whitewater scored two touchdowns in the second to take a 12-0 lead into halftime.  The Warhawks scored more points in the third, 13, than they did in the first half, and wrapped up with ten more in the fourth.

Whitewater opened the scoring with a 17 yard pass from Matt Blanchard to Adam Brandes.  The drive started when Warhawk punter Kris Rosholt pinned the Bulldogs at the one yard line.  Three plays netted one yard, and UW-W took possession on Adrian's 44.  

UW-W also scored the next time it had the ball, moving 70 yards in nine plays, with junior QB Matt Blanchard running the ball the last six yards for the Warhawks' 12-0 lead at the half.

A Blanchard to Adam Brandes 26 yard pass capped an 85 yard drive for the Warhawks at 6:13 in the third quarter.  For the third time UW-W failed to convert the point after, making the score 18-0.

That drive signaled that the Warhawk offense was feeling more comfortable, as UW-W scored on four consecutive possessions in the second half.

The next time Whitewater had the ball the Warhawks covered 60 yards in seven plays, with Blanchard tossing a 5 yard score to Aaron Rusch.   Whitewater led 25-0 after a change in kickers led to the first successful PAT of the day.  

Rusch, UW-W's all-time leader in career receptions and receiving yards, scored his first rushing touchdown with a five yard run with 1:02 left in the third.  

Eric Kindler kicked the first field goal of the season with 12:35 left in the game, putting it through the uprights from 24 yards to give Whitewater a 28-0 lead.  

Booker Stanley's three yard run with 2:21 remaining, and Kindler's kick, capped the scoring.

Whitewater's defense limited Adrian to 162 yards, including 74 on 41 rushing attempts, a 1.8 yard per carry average.  UW-W totaled 472 yards, with 183 of those coming on the ground with a 4.9 per carry average.   The shutout was UW-W's first since a 58-0 win over Midland Lutheran in the second game of the 2009 season, a string of thirteen games.  DB Matt McCulloch and linebacker Lane Olson topped the Warhawk defenders with 9 tackles each, with seven of McCullouch's coming on solo stops.

The Warhawk offense averaged 4.9 yards per carry because four players (Levell Coppage, Antwan Anderson, Blanchard and Stanley) gained 35-53 yards each.  None averaged less than 4.4 per attempt.  It marked the first time since October 24 of last season, a run of eight games, that Whitewater has not had a 100 yard rusher in a game.  Blanchard, in his first start, completed 19-25 passes for 289 yards and no interceptions.  Rusch,, 5 for 78, and Brandes, 4 for 131, led the receiving corps.

Quarterback Justin Hemm led Adrian with 47 yards rushing on 17 carries, also completing 5-10 passes for 24 yards with one interception.  Mike McGee came on in the fourth quarter as Adrian played catch-up to complete 9-11 passes for 64 yards.  Mitch Gabriele and Kyle Timmis split six catches and 57 yards evenly (okay, one yard plus to Gabriele) for AC.   Safety Darren Walter led the Bulldogs with 9 tackles, four of them solo.  

UW-W will stay at home next week, hosting Dakota State University at 12:00 in Perkins Stadium.