What: No. 8 Central (Pella, Iowa) College (12-0) at No. 3 UW-Whitewater (12-0).
When: Noon Saturday.
Where: Perkins Stadium, Whitewater.
TV/radio/internet: A telecast will be streamed live by portal.stretchinternet.com/uww. WKCH radio (106.5 FM) will broadcast the game, with an online stream at kix1065.com. Live statistics can be found at ncaa.com /game/5908758.
Last week: The Warhawks buried DePauw (Indiana), 45-0, to run up the score of their first two NCAA III playoff games to a combined 114-7. The Warhawks are now 56-7 in NCAA III playoff games. ... Central converted a late fourth-and-10 play and then scored on a 3-yard pass from Blaine Hawkins to Tanner Schminke on the final play of the game to beat No. 6 Wheaton (Illinois), 30-28, overcoming a 21-10 deficit in the fourth quarter.
The series: The Warhawks are 2-1 against the Dutch all-time. The last meeting was a 34-14 home victory that saw the Warhawks’ Justin Beaver run for 182 yards and a touchdown on 32 carries.
Up next: The winner will advance to a semifinal game on Dec. 11, taking on either No. 7 Linfield University (Oregon) or No. 2 Mary Hardin-Baylor (Texas) at a site to be determined. That winner will advance to the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl national championship game, set for Friday, Dec. 17, at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio.
About the Warhawks: This is the week when things get full-tilt serious for the Warhawks and coach Kevin Bullis (seventh season, 69-9 record). After two runaway victories, Whitewater is expected to get a real challenge from a deep, big and talented Central team. But the Warhawks certainly have the personnel to match—led by senior quarterback Max Meylor, a Gagliardi Trophy semifinalist and WIAC Offensive Player of the Year who has completed 199 of 284 passes (70.1%) for 2,620 yards and 33 touchdowns with two interceptions. … The Warhawks’ rushing attack has gotten a big lift from the play of senior Alex Peete, who has scored seven rushing touchdowns and caught one touchdown pass in Whitewater’s first two playoff games. He has gained 1,246 yards on 191 carries with 22 rushing touchdowns, along with three receiving scores. … The top receiver is Ryan Wisniewski, with 55 catches for 967 yards and 13 TDs. … Whitewater rushed for 332 yards and had 600 total yards of offense against DePauw and held the Tigers to minus-2 yards rushing, recording a school record-tying nine sacks. … Sophomore defensive lineman Niko Lemke had 2.5 sacks, four tackles for loss and seven tackles overall to lead the Warhawks, and freshman linebacker Luke Nelson totaled two tackles and an interception. … Whitewater averages 42.9 points and 458.2 total yards per game, while holding opponents to averages of 10.5 points and 263.8 yards. … Whitewater is 118-4 at home since 2005 and holds a 28-game home winning streak.
About the Dutch: Central coach Brett Dietz (18th season, 140-42) has led his team to its first NCAA III quarterfinal berth since 2007. He is 5-5 in six playoff trips. The Dutch—who average 56.8 points per game and have won 32 American Rivers Conference titles—have a program-record 15 fifth-year players, including quarterback Blaine Hawkins. Hawkins—also a Gagliardi Trophy semifinalist—has an opportunity to break the NCAA all-division record for touchdown passes in a season. He has thrown 61 TD passes in Central’s first 12 games, tying the record set by Linfield ‘s Brett Elliott in 2004. Joe Burrow, then of LSU, ranks third on the list with 60 in 2019. On the year, Hawkins has completed 304 of 424 passes for 4,189 yards and 61 touchdowns, with six interceptions (four in Central’s first two playoff games). Fifth-year receiver Tanner Schminke leads Division III with 19 touchdown catches and 1,421 receiving yards. Junior Jeff Herbers has 14 touchdown catches. Senior running back Jason Hopp averages 6.4 yards per carry. … Central’s offense leads all NCAA divisions in total offense (595.3 yards per game), passing efficiency (195.96) and first downs (365), and also leads Division III in passing offense (403.5 yards per game). … Central’s defense yields averages of 18 points, 111 yards rushing and 216.2 yards passing per game, with a plus-14 turnover margin. Sophomore linebacker Josh Van Gysel has a team-best 83 tackles and four interceptions. Senior cornerback Brayden Egli has 69 tackles and five interceptions, plus two blocked kicks.