PLATTEVILLE — A pair of long field goals proved to be the difference in second-raked UW–Whitewater’s 30–24 victory over No. 8 UW–Platteville in Saturday’s annual George Chryst Memorial Bowl.
Junior kicker Will Meyer connectd on three field goals on the afternoon, the last from 42 yards out with 2:42 left to account for the final six-point margin, to lift the visiting Warhawks to the win in the WIAC conference opener for both teams.
Meyer made a 48-yarder late in the first quarter and converted a 26-yard field goal early in the fourth, and made all three of his extra point attempts on the day.
The Pioneers took advantage of an early UW–Whitewater miscue to strike first. The Warhawks snapped the ball over punter Ryan Curran’s head on their second drive of the game, and Curran was forced to pounce on the loose ball at his own 28 resulting in a turnover on downs deep in Whitewater territory. Three plays later senior Tom Kelly threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to senior Patrick Sheehan and, Samuel Herkert’s extra point made it 7–0.
The Warhawks responded with a 74-yard drive, capped by Meyer’s 48-yard boot to make it 7–3 with 2:33 left in the opening quarter.
Whitewater took the lead on the very next drive when second-string quarterback Cole Wilber (the Warhawks alternated two quarterbacks throughout the game) hit sophomore Manny Jones on a wheel route down the sideline for a 68-yard TD pass and a 10–7 lead.
After a UW–Platteville punt, Wilber struck again, this time from 25 yards out to senior Marcus Hudson to increase the visitors’ lead to 17–7 with 6:15 left in the half.
After Herkert missed a 37-yard field goal late in the first half, senior defensive back Brandon Johnson intercepted Wilber near the midfield to give the Pioneers new life.
Kelly and the offense responded with a scoring drive of their own as the senior QB from Chicago connected on passes of 17 yards to senior Dan Arnold and 18 yards to senior Quinn Buschbacher to move UW–Platteville inside the 10-yard line. Kelly ran it the final four yards two plays later to make it 17–14 with 1:12 left before halftime.
The Pioneer defense forced a punt to start the second half and the offense drove 88 yards to the Whitewater 5, but had to settle for a 22-yard game-tying field goal by Herkert with 6:10 left in the third quarter.
Meyer’s 26-yard field goal on the third play of the final quarter gave the Warhawks a slim 20–17 advantage once again with 14:48 left in the game.
The Pioneers converted a pair of third downs en route to the go-ahead touchdown, a 14-yard Kelly-to-Arnold slant pass with 10:41 left. Kelly completed a 20-yard pass to Arnold pass on 3rd-and-18 and later ran for five yards on 3rd-and-4 to extend the drive.
Whitewater’s game-winning drive started at its own 29-yard line and culminated in a 4-yard touchdown pass from Wilber to Canton Larson with 3:58 remaining.
Then, junior defensive lineman Ben Threloff made one of the plays of the game, a strip sack on Kelly and recovered the fumble at the Pioneer 21. Three plays later Meyer kicked a 42-yard field goal to account for the final score.
The Pioneers had one final possession and drove deep into Whitewater territory. A 31-yard Kelly pass to junior Tim Jansen put the ball at the Whitewater 31. On the very next play, Kelly found Arnold over the middle down to the 9-yard-line, but a penalty nullified the play and made it 1st-and-20.
Kelly was dropped for a 19-yard sack, then two plays later was intercepted by Colin Buck at the Whitewater 5-yard line with 16 seconds left in the game.
Kelly completed 29 of 51 passes for 435 yards and two touchdowns and was intercepted once. Dan Arnold was named the Pioneers’ Offensive Player of the Game after hauling in a team-high 10 passes for a game-high 184 yards an a touchdown.
Wilber finished the day 14 of 23 for 246 yards with three TDs and one interception to earn UW–Whitewater’s Offensive Player of the Game award.
Senior linebacker Colin Griffin made eight tackles for the Pioneers to earn UW–Platteville’s Defensive Player of the Game award. Junior defensive back Patrick Swanson was in on a team-high 16 tackles for the home team.
Defensive lineman John Floyd finished with three tackles and two sacks to earn UW–Whitewater’s Defensive Player of the Game award. The Warhawks’ defense recorded six sacks and held the Pioneers’ offense to negative-15 yards rushing on 18 attempts.
The Pioneers (3–1, 0–1 WIAC), who actually rose one spot in the Top 25 poll to seven after the loss, will look to rebound next Saturday at undefeated UW–Stevens Point. The Pointers opened conference play with a 28–19 victory at UW–Eau Claire on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m.
#2 UW–Whitewater 30, #8 UW–Platteville 24
(from Saturday, Oct. 1 @ Platteville)
UW–Whitewater 3 14 0 13 — 30
UW–Platteville 7 7 3 7 — 24
P: Patrick Sheehan 25 pass from Tom Kelly (Samuel Herkert kick)
W: FG Will Meyer 48
W: Manny Jones 68 pass from Cole Wilber (Meyer kick)
W: Marcus Hudson 25 pass from Wilber (Meyer kick)
P: Tom Kelly 4 run (Herkert good)
P: FG Herkert 22
W: FG Meyer 26
P: Dan Arnold 14 pass form Kelly (Herkert kick)
W: Canton Larson 4 pass from Wilber (Meyer kick)
W: FG Meyer 42
First downs — W 23, P 19. Rushing — W 41-101, P 18-(-15). Passing Yards — W 308, P 435. Passing — W 20-32-1, P 29-51-1. Fumbles–lost — W 2-0, P 2-1. Penalties — W 8-78, P 7-78.
Rushing — W: Drew Patterson 18-100; P: Kyle Whitman 5-7. Passing — W: Cole Wilber 14-23-1, 246; P: John Kelly 29-51-1, 435. Receiving — W: Manny Jones 3-106; P: Dan Arnold 10-184, Patrick Sheehan 8-112.