Top-ranked Warhawks open WIAC
Armed with the No. 1 ranking in both NCAA Division III football polls, UW-Whitewater is ready to begin the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference season tonight.
After a week off, the Warhawks travel to UW-Platteville for the WIAC opener in a rare weekday night game.
Whitewater (3-0) is rated No. 1 in both the American Football Coaches Association D-III and the D3Football.com top 25 polls.
The game is the 17th annual George Chryst Memorial Bowl. Chryst was Platteville’s head coach from 1979 to 1992. He died at the age of 55.
Platteville is 2-1, having lost its last game to Wheaton College, 51-20.
The Warhawks, who are gunning for their sixth straight WIAC title, have shown they have the power to be ranked No. 1 in the nation.
In the three nonconference victories, the Warhawks have outscored opponents, 142-14, piling up 1,003 rushing yards to just 136 for the opposition.
In the past two games, Whitewater has had three running backs with at least 100 yards rushing. Former University of Wisconsin back Booker Stanley leads the Warhawks’ three-headed monster with a 103.3-yards per game average. Levell Coppage is averaging 91.7 yards, and Antwan Anderson is averaging 86. Stanley is averaging 8.4 yards per carry, Coppage 8.6 and Anderson 6.0.
Opponents haven’t been able to stuff the line of scrimmage. First-year starting quarterback Matt Blanchard has completed 43 of 63 passes for 665 yards and seven touchdowns. He has not thrown an interception.
Meanwhile, the Warhawk defense has held opponents to an average of 199 yards per game, and just 3.2 yards per play.
Janesville Parker graduate Matt McCulloch, a starting senior cornerback, is tied with linebacker Lane Olson for most defensive points. McCulloch has 11 solo and five assisted tackles for 13.5 points. He has 1.5 tackles for losses, has one of the two Warhawk interceptions, and has broken up two passes.
Fort Atkinson High graduate Jake Keeser also has been a force in the first three games. The junior defensive lineman has seven solo and four assisted tackles, including four tackles for losses.
Platteville is coming off a 3-7 season. The Pioneers feature sophomore quarterback Nick Anderson, who started as a freshman last year. Anderson is 59 of 109 for 776 yards and four touchdowns.
Anderson also is a threat to run. He has rushed 25 times of 91 yards and two touchdowns.
Milton High graduate Hank McIvor is the leading Platteville rusher. The 5-foot-8, 160-pound sophomore has rushed 35 times of 127 yards (3.6 ave.) and one score.
McIvor also has returned 13 kickoffs for a 17.5 average.
Another Milton High graduate, Nick Karleski, will see action at wide receiver. The sophomore is a backup to starter Lee Vlasak.
Elkhorn High graduate John Cook, is a reserve outside linebacker for the Pioneers.