Scoreless for three quarters, UW-W wins with 17 in fourth
WHITEWATER—It's time to stop worrying about UW-Whitewater football's team struggling to defeat nonconference opponents.
That's what Warhawk head coach Lance Leipold told his team after Whitewater was held scoreless for three quarters before unleashing a 17-point outburst to get past Washington University 17-7 here Saturday afternoon.
Jake Kumerow nabbed a 30-yard touchdown catch, while Dennis Moore added a 28-yard touchdown run to help the Warhawks open the season with a sluggish victory.
“I told our team that we aren't going to apologize for victories around here anymore,” Leipold said. “Those days are long gone, but we found ways to make plays when needed to.”
The names of the guys making the big plays are also going to take some time to get used to. Moore, who got his opportunity after starting running back Ryan Givens was injured in the first half, gained 71 of his team-high 72 rushing yards in the fourth quarter to help turn the momentum in Whitewater's favor.
“It was a great experience because I've been working really hard to get the opportunity to play,” Moore said. “The offensive line stepped up in the second half and made some holes in the second half.
Moore's hard, downhill running style set up a perfectly executed 30-yard hitch-and-go touchdown pass from quarterback Matt Behrendt to Kumerow that put Whitewater ahead for the first time, 10-7.
Moore later tacked on his 28-yard touchdown to seal the victory later in the fourth.
“The second half was definitely better than the first,” Kumerow said. “We made adjustments and came out the second half and weren't going to have it any other way.”
The first half, however, was a different story for Whitewater, which was outgained 156-115 during the first two quarters.
“We had no consistency offensively in the first half,” Leipold said. “We get a couple good plays, and then we'd shoot ourselves in the foot.”
The Bears proved to be the more consistent offense at the start of the game. Quarterback Eric Daginella put the visitors on top with a 9-play 75-yard opening scoring drive capped by his 29-yard touchdown pass to Will Smith.
To the surprise of the 4,282 Perkins Stadium fans, the Warhawks never found an answer in the first half. Both the Warhawks' inexperienced offensive line (a junior and four sophomores) and Behrendt struggled to figure out the Bears' elaborate blitz packages.
“They had a lot of different blitzes, outside and inside,” Leipold said. “There's no secret that we have so many young guys on the offensive line. Some of the guys weren't even on the offense last year.”
Fortunately for Leipold, the inexperienced guys stepped up their game in the second half and eventually wore down the Bears en route to victory.
“We had a good fourth quarter, and we battled back, Leipold said. “But we've got a lot of work to do.”
WHITEWATER 17, WASHINGTON (Mo.) 7
Washington-St. Louis 7 0 0 0—7
UW-Whitewater 0 0 0 17—17
Scoring summary: Wa.—Will Smith, 29 pass from Eric Daginella (Alex Hallwachs kick). WW—FG, Eric Kindler, 32. WW—Jake Kumerow, 30 pass from Matt Behrendt (Eric Kindler kick). WW—Dennis Moore, 28 run (Kindler kick).
Statistics: First downs—Wa 9, WW 14. Rushing—Wa 27-48, WW 43-97. Yards passing—Wa 147, WW 161. Passes—Wa 9-26-1, WW 15-26-0. Fumbles—Wa 2-1, WW 0-0. Penalties—Wa 8-60, WW 6-47.