UW-Whitewater to play St. Norbert
The UW-Whitewater Warhawks, the undefeated champions of the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, will host the St. Norbert Green Knights on Saturday in the first round of the NCAA Division III football playoffs. It is Whitewater's 11th trip to the postseason, where it will be going for its fifth national championship since 2007.
After missing out on the postseason in 2012, the Warhawks returned to their dominant form in 2013, mainly through the play of quarterback Matt Behrendt. The junior completed 64.1 percent of his passes in the regular season and threw for 2,076 yards. He had 26 touchdown passes to only one interception.
Whitewater's defense also made its mark during the regular season, giving up just 221.6 yards and eight points per game. The Warhawks figure to be well prepared for the quality teams they'll run up against in the playoffs thanks to a pair of conference games against nationally ranked opponents, UW-Oshkosh and UW-Platteville. Whitewater won those games by a combined 52-30. Platteville will also participate in the 2013 D-III playoffs, opening with a game against Concordia.
St. Norbert was 8-2 overall and 8-1 in the Midwest Conference, but it will back into the playoffs after losing Saturday against Lake Forest College, 31-3.
Saturday's game will be the 30th between Whitewater and St. Norbert. The Warhawks lead the series, 17-9-3. The last game the teams played was a first-round playoff matchup in 2006. Whitewater won 59-17.
The possible second-round opponents for Whitewater are Franklin or Washington-St. Louis, who the Warhawks beat 17-7 to open the 2013 season.