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GAMEDAY: UW-W AT RIVER FALLS

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The UW-Whitewater Warhawks return to the scene of the almost-crime this afternoon when they take on the UW-River Falls Falcons this afternoon at Ramer Field in River Falls.  Last year, after breaking out to a 14-0 lead, the Warhawks fell behind 25-21 with just over a minute left in the game. However, after a 48 yard kickoff return by Marcus McLin, the Warhawks responded with a 39 yard touchdown drive capped by an 11 yard TD pass from Matt Behrendt to Justin Howard with 26 second left to capture a narrow 28-25 win.

       Coming off of their most complete victory of the season, the Warhawks will look to continue to peak as the regular season draws to a close.  “No doubt about it.  We want to continue to get better.  We are always about the process, getting better every single day.  It is never more important than right now” said Head Coach Kevin Bullis.

       For the Falcons, 2015 has been a step forward so far.  Coming off a 3-7 season, River Falls sits at 4-4 heading into the Whitewater game.  The Warhawks will provide a good measuring stick as to just how far the Falcon program has come. Bullis believes his team learned a lesson from last year. “One of the things we pride ourselves on is respect your opponent.”  Coach Bullis feels the Warhawks underperformed at River Falls in 2015 and he addressed that with the team this week. “Our players feel like they have a sense of redemption going back up to River Falls,” Bullis emphasized.  The Warhawks will be facing a Falcons team that has struggled defensively the past few weeks. Over the past three games, the Falcons have yielded an average of 53.7 points and 543 yards per game.  Meanwhile, the Warhawks have hit another gear offensively scoring 42.7 points and 507 yards per game over the past three games.

       The Falcons are led by QB Ryan Kusilek, a senior from River Falls. Kusilek, who grew up in River Falls and attended River Falls High School, will be making his last start on Ramer Field.  Kusilek was a four year starter in both high school and college, so Saturday wraps up an eight year stretch in which the team he leads calls Ramer Field home.

       The Falcons average 116 yards rushing and 172 yards passing per game to rank 7th in WIAC in total offense.  Defensively, the Falcons rank 5th in the WIAC, allowing 412.9 yards per game. The Warhawks bring the WIAC’s leading rusher, Jordan Ratliffe, who averages 100.5 yards per game and 13 rushing touchdowns.  QB Chris Nelson is second in the league in passing efficiency as he has completed 66.4% of his passes for 1443 yards and 10 TD’s against only 2 interceptions.  Kickoff is set for 1:00 PM Central Standard Time.