Warhawks secure seventh-straight Stagg Bowl appearance

With their 44th consecutive win in the books after a 20-0 drubbing of St. Thomas University, the Warhawks earned their seventh-consecutive trip to the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl.

Willie the Warhawk encourages UW-Whitewater fans to cheer during the game Saturday. Photo by Andrew Smith.

They will face Mount Union Friday in Salem, Va., for the Division-III championship.

“We played a very fine football team and to walk away with a shutout anytime is outstanding,” head coach Lance Leipold said. “We’re excited to face Mount Union again this year and our guys have earned the right to be there.”

St. Thomas entered play on Saturday with the No. 1 ranked rush defense in the country, giving up just 47.5 yards per game. They were also ranked No. 3 in total defense allowing just 206.1 yards per game and were No. 3 in scoring defense by holding opponents to 9.4 points per game.

The ’Hawks broke all of those marks before halftime. The Warhawks’ offense, led by senior Gagliardi Trophy finalist Matt Blanchard, gained 352 yards of offense, including 173 on the ground. Blanchard finished 14-19 for 179 yards and one touchdown passing, along with 39 yards and one touchdown rushing.

Quarterback Matt Blanchard hands off to running back Levell Coppage. Photo by Andrew Smith.

Credit must also be given to the ’Hawks defense, who held the Tommies to 214 yards of total offense and recorded the team’s third shutout this year and its second of the postseason. The defense also held St. Thomas’ Gagliardi finalist receiver Fritz Waldvogel to just 45 yards on eight catches.

Sophomore Kyle Wismer said the defense is continuing to improve even though the season is nearly over.

“We’re getting better and better each week and uniting as a team,” Wismer said. “Our focus today was to shut down their run game and make them pass the ball, which made life easier for us since we knew they would be throwing.”