Three years ago, UW-Whitewater hosted UW-Stevens Point. It was homecoming and the Warhawks had a 19-game winning streak. They had just previously defeated the University of Mount Union the year before for its first ever national championship and were looking to repeat.
Leading the Pointers 16-9, the Pointers scored and converted on a two-point conversion with just 15 seconds left in the game, giving them a 17-16 victory.
Senior defensive back Jared Kiesow, who was a freshman at the time, still thinks about that game.
“I remember the last drive because that was how they basically beat us,” Kiesow said. “I remember we played them real well the whole game and they moved the ball on their last drive and they came down and scored with no time left.”
That loss was the ’Hawks last regular season and conference loss, and only one of two losses in Head Coach Lance Leipold’s career.
In fact, the only team other than Mount Union that has given the ’Hawks trouble has been UW-Stevens Point. In school history, the ’Hawks have gone 66-22-1 in homecoming games, but have gone 8-7 against the Pointers and 6-4 since 2001.
“Since I’ve been here, it seems like [UW-Stevens Point] has been our main rival, in all sports,” senior quarterback Matt Blanchard said. “Our schools have been battling back and forth for bragging rights and our guys are really excited, especially with the homecoming atmostphere.”
Saturday’s homecoming matchup between the two teams will be similar to the matchup in 2008, except the ’Hawks hold an NCAA-best 37-game win streak, with 25 straight at Perkins Stadium and 21 straight conference wins.
With as much success the Pointers have had the past couple seasons, they have struggled thus far this season. Point holds a record of 4-3 and 2-2 in the WIAC, but Blanchard said he won’t take that into account and will prepare for them like any other team.
“They are a team that has been playing well these last couple weeks and are really putting it together now so I think it will be a good match,” Kiesow said.
The ’Hawks are on the cusp of another conference title and will look to make it eight straight Stagg Bowl appearances. The ’Hawks have made a trip to Salem, Virg., the past eight seasons, winning it in 2007, 2009 and 2010.
With it being homecoming, Kiesow said he wants to put on a good show because it’s a big stage.
“I sure hope everyone comes to the game, that would be great,” Kiesow said. “We are always thankful for our fan support and hopefully we can give them a good show.”