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Hawks Win and Advance!
Warhawks Ride 31 Point First Half to Quarterfinals
Lake Bachar (13), Dylan Morang (21), and Zach Koch (55) prepare to take the field for warmups at Wheaton College on Saturday. UW-W beat the Thunder 31-17 to advance to round 3 of the playoffs.
15 Warhawks Garner All-WIAC Recognition
Senior Linebacker Justin Dischler Senior Running Back Jordan Ratliffe
Junior Wide Receiver Marcus Hudson Senior Safety Ryan Winske
Junior OL Tony Koepnick Junior DL Brandon Tamsett
Jr. Punter Lake Bachar Jr OL Spencer Shier
Sr. DL Zach Franz Jr. OL Austin Jones
So TE Tony Gumina So LB Matt Seitz
Sr CB Dylan Morang SR WR Joe Worth
Jr. CB Vince Mason All Sportsmanship: Sr. OL Lucas Skibba
NCAA PLAYOFFS LEVEL ONE: ST. NORBERT COLLEGE AT UW-W
LEVEL ONE: NOTES AND OBSERVATIONS
*The Warhawks 412 yards rushing was the first time UW-W gained at least 400 yards rushing since gaining 413 yards at River Falls on October 23, 2010.
*The UW-W turnover advantage (+4) was the best of the 2015 season and the first time UW-W has enjoyed a (+4) advantage since October 18, 2014 at Eau Claire.
*Quarterback Chris Nelson has not thrown an interception in his last 158 passes.
*The Warhawks scored touchdowns on five of their six legitimate first half drives on Saturday. The Hawks have now scored TD’s on 23 of their 33 first half drives over the past five games.
*The Warhawks’ shut-out victory was their first playoff shut-out since 11/19/2011, a 59-0 victory over Albion.
*The Warhawks outscored St. Norbert 14-0 in the first quarter and 35-0 in the first half. UW-W has now outscored opponents 157-14 in the first quarter and 294-60 in the first half this year.
*After holding the Green Knights to 8 completions in 25 attempts on Saturday, the Hawks have now held three of their last four opponents to a completion percentage of under 50%.
*After Jordan Ratliffe’s 161 yard rushing day Saturday, he has now gained 379 yards over the past two games. The last running back to have that many yards over two games was Levell Coppage who gained a combined 445 yards against Wesley College and Mount Union in the 2010 Semi-Finals and Stagg Bowl.
Warhawks Eliminate Green Knights in Level One 48-0
The more things change,the more they seem to stay the same. The UW-Whitewater Warhawks, under first year head coach Kevin Bullis and his revamped coaching staff, continued the tradition of Whitewater success in the playoffs as they dominated St. Norbert 48-0 in their first round game on Saturday. The Whitewater offense was clicking from the start despite most of the game being played in the cold, windy, and wet conditions of a winter storm. The Hawks scored TD's in five of their six first half possessions in racing out to a 35-0 halftime lead. The Green Knights never drove deeper than the UW-W 39 yard line until their 11th drive of the game, deep into the third quarter. The Warhawks registered their first post-season shut-out since 11/19/2011, when they steamrolled Albion 59-0.
The Warhawks out-gained the Green Knights 492 to 274. St. Norbert, the Midwest Conference Champions, finish their season with a 10-1 record. The Wahawk will play a Level 2 NCAA Playoff game in Wheaton, IL against the Wheaton College Thunder at noon on Saturday, November 28th.
Defensive Tale of the Tape: SNC at UW-W
Defending the Run
Percentage of All Offensive Plays the Opponents Run the ball:
Rushing Yards Allowed Per Game:
Rushing Yards Allowed per Attempt
Rushing First Downs Allowed
Rushing Touchdowns Allowed
Defending the Pass
Percentage of All Offensive Plays the Opponents Pass the Ball:
Passing Yards Allowed Per Game
Passing Yards Allowed Per Attempt:
Passing Yards Allowed Per Completion:
First Downs Passing Allowed:
Passing Touchdowns Allowed:
General Defensive Statistics
Points Allowed Per Game:
Opponents 3rd and 4th Down Percentage:
Opponents’ Red Zone Scoring Percentage:
Opponent’s Red Zone TD Percentage:
Offensive Tale of the Tape: St. Norbert at Whitewater
The sun sets on Perkins Stadium late Wednesday afternoon as the Warhawks prepare to battle St. Norbert College in an NCAA Division III Level One Playoff game on Saturday.
Due to lack of common opponents and differences between the WIAC and the Midwest Conference, comparative statistics are not a valid source of evaluating these two teams. However, the statistics below can reveal tendencies as well as a glimpse of who to look for when each team has the ball.
The Running Game
Percentage of offensive plays that are runs:
Percentage of total offensive yardage from running plays:
Team rushing yards per carry:
SNC: 5.3 ypc
UW-W: 5.2 ypc
Average yards rushing per game:
Rushing game comments (SNC): St. Norbert divides up their carries among four players, all of whom have more than 50 carries.:
Elija Fort: 132 att, 719 yds, 5.4ypc, 16 TD’s, 71.9 ypg
Brad Bookmeier: 144 att, 696 yds, 4.8ypc, 5 TD’s, 69.6 ypg
Jack Becker(QB) 78 att, 418 yds, 5.4ypc, 5 TD’s 41.8 ypg
Brandon Carter 59 att, 361 yds, 6.1ypc, 2 TD, 36.1 ypg
Rushing game comments (UW-W): The Warhawks’ have ridden workhorse Jordan Ratliffe most of the season. While this will likely be the case in the post-season as well, the next three running backs are probably healthier than they have been throughout the season.
Jordan Ratliffe: 172 att, 1100 yds, 6.4ypc, 17 TD’s, 110.0 ypg
Jarrod Ware: 58 att, 289 yds, 5.0ypc, 3 TD’s, 28.9 ypg
Tyler Glass: 45 att, 254 yds, 5.6ypc 4 TD’s, 42.3 ypg
Nick Patterson: 44 att, 172 yds, 3.9ypc, 4TD’s 24.7 pg
The Passing Game
Percentage of offensive plays that are passes:
Percentage of total offensive yardage from passing plays
Average yards passing per game:
SNC: 166.9 ypg
UW-W: 233.5 ypg
Starting QB statistics (comp-att-int-td-comp%-ave yards per game)
SNC: 119c-184a-4i-10td-64.3%-147.8 ypg
UW-W: 133c-193a-2i-16td-68.9%-193.0 ypg
Passing game comments (SNC): QB Jack Becker has six receivers at his disposal who have caught at least 10 passes this year. Zach Reeves leads the way with 34 reception for 484 yards and a TD. Brett Olson has caught 20 balls for 341 yards and 2 TD’s. Becker has not put up huge numbers by design of the offense, not capability. It is likely SNC will have a different game plan against UW-W than they have shown all year. Because St. Norbert will likely have a hard time establishing the run for the first time this year, Becker will likely have a career high in attempts Saturday if he plays the entire game.
Passing game comments (UW-W): QB Chris Nelson completed 70.5% of his passes for 227.3 yards per game with 13 TD’s and 2 interceptions in WIAC play. Due to lopsided games and the occasional competitive snaps allotted to back-ups Canton Larson and Cole Wilber, Nelson’s totals don’t entirely reflect the productivity of the UW-W passing game. As a team, UW-W threw for 269.1 yards per game in WIAC play. Marcus Hudson leads UW-W receivers with 41 catches for 729 yards and 6 TD’s. Joe Worth has caught 36 passes for 452 yards and 4 TD’s. Tony Gumina has caught 25 balls for 341 yards and 3 TD’s.
NCAA D-III PLAYOFFS LEVEL ONE:
Warhawks Host St. Norbert College at Noon on Saturday!
Link to Game Notes from UW-W: Click Here
Link to Game Notes from SNC: Click Here
UW-Stout at UW-W Photo Gallery: CLICK HERE
Warhawks Down Stout 63-14
The UW-Whitewater Warhawks scored TD’s on their first five possessions, closing their regular season by rocking UW-Stout 63-14 before 5,145 Senior Day fans at Perkins Stadium on Saturday. Jordan Ratliffe set the tone with a 75 yard run on the Warhawks’ first play from scrimmage. After the UW-W defense held Stout to three yards on three plays and an ensuing punt, the Warhawks put together 61 yard scoring drive to take a 14-0 lead less than 3 ½ minutes into the game. The drive was capped with a beautiful 32 yard scoring strike on a deep post connection from Chris Nelson to Marcus Hudson. Stout responded with a 76 yard scoring drive to cut the gap to 14-7 with 6:12 left in the fourth quarter. But the Warhawks essentially put the game away with second quarter scoring drives on their next three possessions. Touchdown receptions by Joe Worth (four yards) and Tony Gumina (13 yards) and a 28 yard TD run by Ratliffe put the points on the board for the Hawks. Ryan Winske’s 70 interception return for a touchdown gave UW-W their 42-7 halftime lead.
The Warhawks wasted no time in the second half as Nelson hit Hudson with a 50 strike and the Warhawks had their seventh touchdown less than 2 ½ minutes into the second half. After the defense held Stout to a “three and out” for the sixth time in the game, Whitewater drove 62 yards in nine plays, capped by a Jarrod Ware three yard touchdown run to extend the Whitewater lead to 56-7. Freshman QB Cole Wilber closed the Warhawk scoring with a one yard touchdown run with 10:12 remaining in the fourth quarter. UW-Stout added touchdown on a 76 yard scoring drive, capped by an eight yard scoring pass with 5:07 remaining in the game.
The Warhawks registered 28 first downs to 12 for the Blue Devils. The Hawks out-gained Stout 595-212 in yardage. The drive chart really tells the story of the Warhawk dominance on Saturday. Whitewater scored touchdowns on 9 of their first 12 possessions. On the 13th, they did not score, but erased the final 4:55 on the clock. The Warhawk defense forced the Blue Devils to eight “three and outs” in their first 11 possessions before their 76 yard scoring drive the last time they had the ball.
The Warhawks earned the opportunity to extend their season by gaining an at large berth in the NCAA Championship Playoffs. The Hawks will host St. Norbert College at noon on Saturday.
Warhawks to Host St. Norbert College in Round One of Playoffs!
The UW-Whitewater Warhawks were selected as an at-large entrant into the NCAA D-III football playoffs on Sunday. The Hawks will host St. Norbert College at Noon on Saturday. MUCH MORE TO COME ON THIS GAME AS THE WEEK PROGRESSES!
Warhawks Prepare For Stout, Hope for Much More
The UW-Whitewater Warhawk football team knows it put itself in an unfamiliar position with an untimely loss at UW-Oshkosh on October 10th. The Warhawks lost control of their WIAC destiny on that Saturday afternoon in October. Whitewater, the winner of nine of the last 10 WIAC football championships, wasn’t about to panic. “Our goals remain intact.” Head Coach Kevin Bullis declared the week after the game. Whitewater, which has long adopted a philosophy focusing on getting better every day, kept going about their business. In the four games since the Oshkosh game, the Warhawks are 4-0, having outscored their opponents 170-45. Heading into Saturday’s Senior day clash with UW-Stout, the Warhawks have worked their way into a prime position for one of six at-large bids the NCAA hands out for their 32 team National Championship playoff.
“Since the Oshkosh game, we have been in a mode that we have to win them all, so Saturday is very important if we want a chance to the playoffs” Coach Bullis emphasized. The Warhawks are a far different team than the one that were held to a season low seven points and 226 yards against Oshkosh. “I believe our offensive identity is coming together. You are constantly developing that identity, but I think it is taking on some very good form. We are discovering our true areas of strength. We are also get to know what some of our weaker areas might be” the first year head coach explained.
Offensive Coordinator Craig Smith, who is in his first year at UW-W inherited an offense that lost All-Americans Matt Behrendt and Jake Kumerow. Coach Smith and 2015 starting quarterback Chris Nelson “have such a great rapport with each other. Rapport is not something that happens overnight. You have to go through the battles of the season to have that kind of rapport.” The progress of Nelson was cited as a key component of the transformation of the Warhawk offense. “Chris matures with every game. That is really pleasing in his first year being ‘the guy’. He is improving and gaining confidence with every game” Bullis noted. The Warhawks’ offense continues to be anchored by a veteran offensive line. Over the course of the season, the Warhawks have lost three offensive linemen. Tackle Johnny Wiederholt, All-American guard Conner Peters, and guard Eli Sloneker have all been out with injuries. Sloneker played in a limited role last week against River Falls but Peters and Wiederholt have not played since their injuries. But now Mitchell Schauer, Austin Jones, and Jordan Mueller have developed a rhythm and the offensive line is once again a strength of the team as they move forward into the Stout game and, hopefully, beyond.
Running back Jordan Ratliffe remains one of the stalwarts of the Warhawk attack. Ratliffe leads all WIAC running backs with 883 yards and 15 rushing touchdowns. “Jordan Ratliffe has been a pillar frome day one. He is a guy you can hand the ball off to and know he will get the tough yards. And he is a smart back. He is one of the smartest running backs I have ever been around. And he has a great position coach in Coach (Nelson) Edmunds” Bullis emphasized.
On Saturday, the Warhawks face a UW-Stout team coming off of a 34-31 win over UW-Stevens Point. The Blue Devils are 2-4 in the WIAC and 3-6 overall. The game is designated as Senior Day and kickoff at Perkins Stadium is set for 2:00 PM. The NCAA selection show will be aired at 5PM Central time. For a link to the streaming broadcast click here.
WARHAWKS SHUT OUT EAU CLAIRE 63-0
All week the coaching staff emphasized the importance of “finishing” as the Warhawks prepared for Saturday’s homecoming game against the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. They finished all right. Boy did they finish. “I couldn’t be more proud of the guys.” Bullis told a happy 5th Quarter crowd of Warhawks and supporters after the game. “We challenged them to finish. By finish we mean finishing blocks, finishing tackles, and finishing drives. They responded beautifully.” The Warhawks outgained the Blugolds in yardage 582 to 159.
All three phases of the team contributed to the overwhelming victory. After the defense forced a punt on Eau Claire’s opening possession, Jordan Gruettner blocked the ensuing punt, giving the ball to the Hawks offense at the Blugold nine yard line. It took two plays to score as QB Chris Nelson tossed his first of four TD passes and Marcus Hudson caught his first of two, giving the Warhawks an early 7-0 lead. In all, Nelson completed 11 of 14 passes for 291 yards and the four touchdowns. Hudson caught five passes for 152 yards and the two touchdowns. Jordan Ratliffe led the Hawks in rushing with 82 yards in 10 attempts and two touchdowns.
Defensively, Whitewater pitched its first shutout of the year. The Warhawks limited Eau Claire to only 39 yards passing. Justin Dischler and Kyle Schiedemeyer lead the defense with six tackles each. Dischler, John Flood, Andrew Mulshine, and Zach Franz each recorded sacks. Vince Mason intercepted his fourth pass of the year.
While Saturday’s victory was a complete team effort, Coach Bullis did recognize one group of players that deserved some special recognition. “Our seniors deserve a lot of credit for being where we are as a team today. Three weeks ago we lost a game. The seniors have done a fantastic job of leading through the adversity to the point we are now.”
The Warhawks played up-tempo most of the afternoon and the results were spectacular. Coach Bullis said in his weekly media conference call last week that an up-tempo offense is part of the identity of the 2015 Warhawks. “In the fourth quarter against Stevens Point, we had a drive that, in a traditional sense, would have been a time teams may try to work the clock. We made a decision to go up-tempo. The guys made it pay off when they drove to a touchdown. As we evaluate, the guys like playing that way and they are obviously good at it. You will see quite a bit of it moving forward,” said the Warhawk Head Coach. Eau Claire saw plenty of it on Saturday. Next up for the Warhawks is a trip to River Falls. Last year, the Falcons threw a scare into the Warhawks as they scored with 1:20 left in the game to take a 25-21 lead. The Warhawks scored with 26 seconds remaining to take back the victory 28-15.
RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER…
Vince Mason (4) and Dylan Morang (21) lead a cornerback group that have come up big in answering questions anyone may have had entering the 2015 season.
After losing possibly the best cornerback tandem in Whitewater history in Marcus McLin and Brady Grayvold, it was natural for many to wonder how the cornerback position would hold up this season.
McLin was an extremely talented cover corner who had a knack for the big play. Teams, recognizing his cover-skills and playmaking ability, decided to throw far more often the other way. That didn’t work out so well. Grayvold was a big play machine as he ended his career #2 on UW-W’s all-time interception list with 19. He is UW-W’s all time interception return yardage leader and recorded the most interceptions for touchdowns in Whitewater history with five. It was a formula that helped UW-Whitewater to two National Championships. It turns out Whitewater had answers for the questions.
Dylan Morang and Vince Mason were the corners returning in 2015 with most of the experience. Morang played in six games in 2013 and 13 games in 2014. Mason played in 14 games last year. Defensive Coordinator Rob Erickson expected them to step up right from the get-go. “I was excited in the spring when I saw Dylan and Vince running around. I’ve been saying this whole time those two were going to establish themselves and they did. They are playing well. ”
For their part, neither Morang nor Mason were particularly daunted by the task of replacing to All-American level players. “What coaches have always done here is teach us to prepare as if we are going to be the starter. That’s how you approach practice, that’s how you approach game day, that’s how you approach the entire week as if you are the starter. So, if the opportunity does come, you have to be ready. You have to know the checks and you have to know what types of plays are coming from certain formations. Because when our opportunities come, we have to do it the Whitewater way as it has been done in the past.
“Our mindset is that being a year older, Vince and I have to put that weight on our shoulders and step up and make plays because our teammates are relying on us,” Morang explained
Mason added, “We have always operated with a ‘next man up’ mentality. You can see it with our running backs right now. Everybody is treated as our starting guy. You never know. Somebody could go down in front of you, so you have to be fully ready.”
Both cornerbacks agreed that because they are used to preparing as the starters, the transition to being the starter doesn’t seem like much of a change. “We have been doing this for three or four years,” Mason noted.
Morang, a senior, and Mason, a junior, agreed that most of the emphasis at Whitewater is on improving yourself, not on your opponent. “I’m sure you’ve heard Coach Bullis say it, ‘We focus on ourselves.’ Sure we pay attention to formations and we learn what type of player we are playing against. But our main focus is on improving ourselves.” Mason noted that while video is available to players, most of his time is spent studying his own technique rather than his opponent. “I get the opportunity to see my footwork, my technique. I get to see what I need to work on to improve.”
The starting corners have combined for four of the team’s nine interceptions through the first six games. In spite of playing several teams with pass oriented offenses and numerous very talented wide receivers, the Warhawks have yielded only three passing touchdowns in the first six games. It should be noted that the touchdown and interception numbers are about the whole defense working together. “On one of our interceptions Friday night, the quarterback had two defensive linemen all over him in the end zone. If it hadn’t been intercepted, it would have been a safety,” according to Head Coach Kevin Bullis.
Clearly the defensive line, the linebackers, and the safeties deserve equal credit for the defensive performance this year. But perhaps no position group on the defensive side of the ball was questioned more by those outside the program than the cornerbacks. Erickson believes with good health, cornerback will be a UW-W strength for years to come. “Jake Gierlak is a kid who we were excited about and he is doing a good job.
“We are really excited about two freshmen, Brion Nash and Famous Hasty. They are climbing through the ranks a little bit and they are really playing like sophomores and juniors. So the future is very bright. The entire group is playing really, really well,” according to the defensive coordinator who also has the title of defensive backs coach. While Erickson bears the title, he credits another assistant coach for the performance of the defensive backs. “I’m fortunate because I have Ryan Givens, who is a really good athlete that knows defensive back play. He has taken those guys individually and works with them really, really well. I give the position some oversight, but for the most part Ryan works on the footwork and the hand placement. So they have more one on one time than they had in the past.”
The Warhawks’ next test will be Saturday afternoon at Stevens Point in a 1:00 PM start in Community Stadium at Goerke Park.
2015 Warhawk Football Captains
Joe Worth Ryan Winske
2015 Captain 2015 Captain
Conner Peters Zach Franz
2015 Captain 2015 Captain
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