WHITEWATER, Wis. (WMTV) The No. 3 ranked University of Wisconsin-Whitewater football team piled up 513 yards of total offense and made some crucial defensive stops Saturday in a 21-14 victory over No. 19 UW-Platteville in a Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference contest in front of 12,402 fans on Homecoming at Perkins Stadium.
The Warhawks (5-0 overall, 2-0 WIAC) ran for a season-high 376 yards, including a 10-yard touchdown run by senior running back Jarrod Ware (Bradley, Ill./Bradley-Bourbonnais) with 11 minutes left in the fourth quarter that gave the team the lead for good.
UW-Whitewater held the previously unbeaten Pioneers (4-1, 1-1) to 237 yards and turned UW-Platteville over on downs twice in the fourth quarter to preserve the lead.
Junior quarterback Zach Oles (Palatine, Ill./Palatine), who was named the George Chryst Memorial Bowl Offensive Most Valuable Player for the Warhawks, rushed 14 times for 114 yards and passed for 137 yards and one touchdown. Senior running back Ronny Ponick (Stanley, Wis./Stanley-Boyd) collected 15 carries for 109 yards and one score, and Ware tallied 16 carries for 97 yards and one touchdown.
Senior linebacker Jacob Erbs (Reedsburg, Wis./Reedsburg) paced the defense with eight tackles, and senior defensive back Nate Tranel (Lancaster, Wis./Lancaster) posted eight stops. Freshman defensive lineman Niko Lemke (Salem, Wis./Westosha Central), the Defensive MVP, registered three tackles, including two sacks, and one forced fumble.
UW-Whitewater claimed the Miner's Axe for the 23rd time in the 25-year history of the George Chryst Memorial Bowl. The rivalry game started in 1995 and was dedicated to Chryst, who passed away suddenly in 1992 after coaching UW-Platteville to a 79-60-2 record and the 1980 league championship.
Donald Allender (7 receptions, 72 yards, TD) and Tyler Reinhardt (14 tackles, 1 TFL) were named Offensive and Defensive MVPs, respectively, for the Pioneers.
The Warhawks were first on the board, taking advantage of good field position off a shanked punt late in the first quarter. Ponick plunged in from two yards out to make it 7-0 with 57 seconds on the clock.
After a UW-Platteville punt that pinned UW-Whitewater at its own 3-yard line, the Warhawks went 97 yards in 11 plays, keyed by a 41-yard pass from Oles to junior wide receiver JT Parish (Cambridge, Wis./Cambridge) and finished by a 9-yard strike from Oles to senior wide receiver Josh Ringelberg (Greendale, Wis./Greendale) that made it 14-0 with 7:05 left in the second quarter.
The Pioneers scored on their next drive, then tied the game in the third quarter with 4:53 remaining following a 10-play, 90-yard drive.
The two teams exchanged punts before UW-Whitewater took the lead for good early in the fourth quarter on Ware's 10-yard run with 11:03 to go.
Two more punts were exchanged before the Warhawks stopped UW-Platteville on back-to-back possessions on fourth down. UW-Whitewater ran out the clock in the final two minutes and finished the contest with 13 more minutes of possession.
The Warhawks visit UW-Stevens Point next Saturday, Oct. 19, at 1 p.m.