NEWBERG, Ore. — The 2,000-mile flight back to Wisconsin was a celebratory one.
The UW–Platteville football team dominated host George Fox University 35–0 in Saturday’s season opener in the Portland suburb of Newberg, Ore.
Senior quarterback Tom Kelly completed 30 of 44 passes for 331 yards and five touchdowns to lead the Pioneers’ high-powered offense, which returns nine seniors from last year’s 8-2 team.
UW–Platteville (1–0) wasted little time taking control. Kelly engineered a 13-play, 70-yard drive to start the game and capped it with a 9-yard touchdown pass to fellow senior Dan Arnold just five minutes into the game.
After both teams traded punts, the Pioneers drove 57 yards in 10 plays. Kelly tossed a 29-yard touchdown pass to senior Quinn Buschbacher and Michael Pratl added the extra point to make it 14–0. Pratl was a perfect 5-for-5 on extra points in the game.
The UW–Platteville defense held George Fox on fourth down on the ensuing drive when the Bruins dropped a fourth-down pass deep in UWP territory.
Kelly and company marched right down the field again. Kelly completed six passes to five different receivers to cover 67 yards in 2:48. Senior wide receiver Patrick Sheehan’s 17-yard TD catch with 11:25 left in the half made it 21–0.
Sophomore Luke Johnson blocked a 30-yard field goal on the next possession to keep the shutout intact.
Sheehan hauled in his second touchdown of the game, this time from six yards out, just five minutes into the second half to make it 28–0.
Kelly capped his day with a 38-yard scoring strike to Arnold late in the third quarter before giving way to junior backup quarterback Jack Eddy.
Arnold finished the game with eight catches for 105 yards. Buschbacher was Kelly’s top target, making a team-high 13 grabs for 114 yards. Sheehan added six catches for 77 yards.
Sophomore halfback Wyatt Thompson led the Pioneers with 46 yards rushing on four carriers. Senior starting halfback Kyle Whitman rushed for 45 yards on 10 carries.
The Pioneers racked up 27 first downs in the game and outgained the Bruins in total offense 477–286.
Junior linebacker Chandler Crary led the Pioneers’ defense with seven tackles. Junior linebacker Marty McGrail and sophomore linebacker Ben Mogilevsky each made six stops.
The 12th-ranked Pioneers return home to host St. Francis (Ill.) Saturday at 1 p.m. The Saints, ranked 14th in the NAIA, opened the season Saturday afternoon with a 42–35 loss at St. Xavier.
UW–Platteville 35, George Fox 0
(from Saturday, Sept. 3 @ Newberg, Ore.)
UW–Platteville 14 7 14 0 — 35
George Fox 0 0 0 0 — 0
UWP: Dan Arnold 9 pass from Tom Kelly (Michael Pratl kick)
UWP: Quinn Buschbacher 29 pass from Kelly (Pratl kick)
UWP: Patrick Sheehan 17 pass from Kelly (Pratl kick)
UWP: Sheehan 6 pass from Kelly (Pratl kick)
UWP: Arnold 38 pass from Kelly (Pratl kick)
First downs — UWP 27, GF 14. Rushing — UWP 26-91, GF 28-61. Passing Yards — UWP 386, GF 225. Passing — UWP 36-55-0, GF 20-36-1. Fumbles–lost — UWP 3-0, GF 3-0. Penalties — UWP 9-85, GF 8-82.
Rushing — UWP: Wyatt Thompson 4-46, Kyle Whitman 10-45; GF: Wesley Riddell 10-22. Passing — UWP: Tom Kelly 30-44-0, 331; GF: Grant Schroeder 19-34-1, 224. Receiving — UWP: Quinn Buschbacher 13-114, Dan Arnold 8-105; GF: Trevor Daniels 5-115.