Warhawks facing Blue Devils
WHITEWATER A long Saturday morning bus trip awaits the UW-Whitewater football team, which will play at Menomonie to take on UW-Stout.
Kickoff is at 2 p.m.
The Warhawks are tied with UW-Oshkosh for first place in the WIAC with a 2-0 record. Whitewater, 4-1 overall, is ranked fifth in this week's American Football Coaches Association Division III Coaches' Poll.
The Blue Devils (3-2 overall, 1-1 WIAC) feature a physical team, working out of two tight end formations with a fullback. Stout has averaged 132 yards per game rushing, but it will be challenged to approach that against the Warhawk defense.
Whitewater's defense played a major role in last week's 35-0 victory over River Falls, forcing seven turnovers.
The Warhawks rank third in NCAA Division III allowing just eight points a game. The defense ranks second in yards allowed rushing at 33 per game.
Whitewater has 16 interceptions in five games, which is tied for the lead in Division III, as is the defense's 24 turnovers.
Safety Ryan Wenkman and outside linebacker Kyle Wismer lead the Warhawks in tackles with 29 each. Wenkman has 20 solo tackles and leads the team with four interceptions.
Wismer has 17 solos and has five tackles for losses along with an interception.
Fellow outside linebacker Josh Williams has 26 tackles, including 4½ for losses along with one sack.
Middle linebacker Cole Klotz and cornerback Marcus McLin each have three interceptions.
While the Whitewater defense has been superb, the offense has been inconsistent, averaging 335 yards and 27 points per game.
Quarterback Lee Brekke has completed 51 percent of his passes (63 of 123) for 660 yards and five touchdowns. He has thrown four interceptions.
Senior running back Desmin Ward has 506 yards rushing (5.1 per carry average) and has scored four touchdowns.
The Warhawk defense will be out to shut down quarterback Michael Blizel, who ran for three touchdowns and threw for another in a 31-14 victory at home against UW-Stevens Point last Saturday.
Blizel finished with 210 passing yards and 68 rushing.
UW-W leads the all-time series 43-10-2. The Warhawks have won the last 10 games. The Blue Devils' last win was 28-25 in Menomonie in 2001.
The game will be broadcast on WKCH FM, 106.5 FM.
Janesville Parker graduate and UW-Stevens Point freshman Adam Vesterfelt was nominated for WIAC Offensive Player of the Week honors.
Vesterfelt rushed for 127 yards on 18 carries, including a 41-yard touchdown run, in the Pointers' loss at Stout.
It was just the second game Vesterfelt carried the ball.