Special teams play was the difference between the two teams, as UW-Whitewater (9-0, 6-0 WIAC) had a kick return for a touchdown and a punt return that set up another score. The PointersÂ (4-5, 2-4 WIAC) outgained the Warhawks 203-182 for the game.
UW-Stevens Point held UW-Whitewater to 86 yards passing for the game but the Warhawks outrushed the Pointers 96-14. Cody Seibel (Kewaskum, WI/Kewaskum) led the UWSP defense with 16 total tackles, including a tackle for a loss and a sack. His brother Bo was in on nine tackles and had two stops for a loss.
The game was scoreless with under one minute to go in the first quarter, UW-Whitewater return man Justin Howard returned a punt 45 yards down to the Pointers four yard line. On the play, UWSP punter Tyler Job (Little Chute, WI/Little Chute) made a touchdown-saving tackle and jarred the ball loose but UWW recovered. The Warhawks capitalized on the great field position with a 4-yard pass from Matt Behrendt to Jake Kumerow to put UWW up 7-0.
The Pointers got on the board in the latter stages of the second quarter. Mitch Beau (Fond du Lac, WI/St. Mary Springs)'s 13-yard quarterback keeper knotted the score at 7-7 with 5:03 left in the opening half.
However, UW-Whitewater responded immediately by retaking the lead on the ensuing kickoff. After his long punt return, Howard took the kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown up the right side to make it 14-7 Warhawks.
Eric Kindler added three more points for UWW on a 32-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter but the Pointers offense was kept in check by the Warhawks defense. The best opportunity for UWSP to score in the second half was when they took over at the UWW 39 after a blocked punt by Zach Vallafskey (Hortonville, WI/Hortonville) that was recovered by Jymani Bryant (Oshkosh, WI/North). The Pointers, however, could not pick up a fourth and five and the ball went back to UW-Whitewater.
Beau was 20-for-39 passing for 189 yards and one interception and was sacked four times in the game. Luke Neubauer (Shawano, WI/Shawano) and Matt Sosinsky (Princeton, WI/Princeton) each had five receptions for UW-Stevens Point.
Jordan Ratliffe had a game-high 85 yards rushing for the Warhawks on 24 carries. Of Behrendt's 86 passing yards, 45 were to Kumerow including the touchdown in the first quarter.
Both teams defenses were successful in getting the offenses off the field throughout the game. UW-Whitewater was 4-for-16 on third down, while UW-Stevens Point was 2-for-14. The Pointers also went for it on fourth down three times but were 0-for-3.
UW-Stevens Point closes out its regular season schedule at UW-Stout next Saturday, November 16. The game starts at 1 p.m. in Menomonie.
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