UW-Whitewater hammers Mary Hardin-Baylor
Then again, UW-Whitewater also has humbled a few “Yankee” coaches over the last few years.
Whitewater cornerback Matt Blaziewske and linebacker Tristan Borzick each had 60-yard interception returns for touchdowns, and quarterback Danny Jones added a pair of touchdown runs as the third-ranked Warhawks overwhelmed second-ranked Mary-Hardin Baylor, 41-14, in nonconference battle of NCAA Division III powers.
Compounding the Warhawks’ impressive victory was UW-Stevens Point’s 27-10 loss to UW-Oshkosh, which assured Whitewater (7-1, 5-0) of at least a share of the WIAC championship. A victory at UW-Stout next Saturday clinches the Warhawks’ third consecutive outright conference title.
“I did tell the team that, no matter how our game with Mary Hardin-Baylor comes out, we’ve got to get back focused on the conference,’’ Whitewater first-year coach Lance Leipold said. “Even though Oshkosh beat Stevens Point today, you don’t want to be stubbing your toe late in the season.
“I think this win is a good gauge for us, but you’re only as good as your next game.”
Meanwhile, Fredenburg is still trying to figure out how his team went from averaging an astonishing 532 yards and 57 points a game to committing five costly turnovers and suffering a lopsided 27-point defeat.
“I had a coaching buddy tell me the other day that as well as you’re playing, always remember that you’re just three or four turnovers away from being very humbled,” Fredenburg said. “And we are very humbled right now.”
The Crusaders were humbled on Whitewater’s first possession. Justin Beaver capped a 9-play 68-yard scoring drive with a 23-yard touchdown run through the middle of the Mary Hardin-Baylor defense.
Three plays later, Whitewater safety Andy Murray intercepted Josh Welch’s pass at the Crusader 42 and returned it to the 9. Jones immediately capitalized on the field position with an 8-yard touchdown run that gave Whitewater a commanding 14-0 lead before all of the 6,061 fans could take their seats.
Welch’s afternoon quickly worsened on the ensuing possession. Blaziewske stepped in front of another pass and sprinted 60 yards untouched for another Warhawk touchdown, making it 21-0 with 3:20 left in the first quarter.
“We felt we had to be physical early in the game,” Leipold said. “They (the Crusaders) are so explosive and so talented that, if anything, we had to make them drive the field and not give up big plays.”
Fortunately for Leipold, his players made all the big plays.
Jones’ 2-yard run and kicker Jeff Schebler’s 40-yard field goal put the Warhawks in celebration mode, 31-0, with 11:00 left in the third quarter.
Mary Hardin Baylor finally answered with Quincy Daniels touchdown runs of 1 and 10 yards to cut the deficit to 31-14 in the final period.
But the Crusaders’ momentum quickly ended with Borzick’s 60-yard touchdown interception return.
“Our goal was to hammer the quarterback all day and have 11 guys run to the ball all day,” Warhawk linebacker A.J. Raebel said. “They gashed us with the run game a little bit more than I expected, but certainly when you looked at their scoring averages, you certainly can’t complain.’’
At least nobody from Whitewater is complaining.
WHITEWATER 41, MARY HARDIN-BAYLOR 14
Scoring summary: UWW—Justin Beaver, 23 run (Jeff Schebler kick). UWW—Danny Jones, 8 run (Schebler kick). UWW—Matt Blaziewske, 60 pass interception return (Schebler kick). UWW—Jones, 2 run (Schebler kick). UWW—FG, Schebler, 37. MHB—Quincy Daniels, 1 run (Joel Munoz kick). MHB—Daniels, 10 run (Munoz kick). UWW—FG, Schebler, 40. UWW—Tristan Borzick, 60 interception return (Schebler kick).
Statistics: First downs—MHB 18, UWW 16. Rushing—MHB 46-186, UWW 43-135. Yards passing—MHB 113, UWW 155. Passes—MHB 29-12-3, UWW 19-13-0. Fumbles—MHB 3-2, UWW 0-0. Penalties—MHB 13-87, UWW 9-85.