By Chris Lindeke
Assistant Athletic Director, Strategic Communications and Branding
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
The No. 2 ranked University of Wisconsin-Whitewater football team scored 30 first-half points, including 17 in the final two minutes of the second quarter, on Saturday on its way to a 39-7 triumph against 25th-ranked Berry (Ga.) in a non-conference game in front of 8,102 fans at Perkins Stadium.
The Warhawks (3-0 overall) totaled 450 yards of offense and held the Vikings to 198 yards on the other end, and forced a pair of key turnovers to lead to UW-W scoring drives.
Quarterback Max Meylor continued his strong start to the 2021 season, completing 16-of-26 passes for 256 yards and three touchdows. Wide receiver Tyler Holte caught three passes for 68 yards and two touchdown, and wide receiver Ryan Wisniewski picked up six receptions for 54 yards.
Running back Tamir Thomas paced the UW-Whitewater rushing attack with 68 yards, while running back Alex Peete carried a team-high 16 times for 55 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Defensive back Mark McGrath led the defense with six tackles and one fumble recovery. Defensive lineman Reed Farrington made four stops, including two for a loss. Farrington, Shane McGrail, matt Burba and Mackenzie Balanganayi each posted one sack.
The two teams exchanged punts to start the game before the Warhawks found the end zone. UW-W converted three third downs on a 10-play, 80-yard drive highlighted by Holte’s 33-yard touchdown catch from Meylor with 5:38 to play in the first quarter.
On its next drive, UW-Whitewater drove 81 yards in 11 plays as Meylor completed 20- and 22-yard passes to Wisniewski and Sam DeLany, respectively, in third-and-long situations to set up a 13-yard touchdown to DeLany at the 10:42 mark of the second quarter.
Berry (2-1) punted back to the Warhawks on the next drive, and UW-W put together a nine-play, 73-yard drive, capped by a 24-yard field goal by Kacper Lupa.
On the next play from scrimmage, Balanganayi stripped the Vikings’ quarterback and recovered the fumble, and Peete barrelled in from two yards out to make it 23-0 with 45 seconds left in the half.
The Warhawks forced another quick turnover on the next drive as Niko Lemke stripped the quarterback. Meylor hit Holte for a 13-yard score with 32 seconds on the clock for a 30-0 UW-W lead.
The defense forced a three-and-out to start the second half, and a short Berry punt resulted in Peete’s second touchdown of the day, a one-yard run to make it 36-0 with 9:21 remaining in the third quarter.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Matt Maldonado converted a 33-yard field goal to increase the UW-Whitewater advantage to 39-0.
The Vikings found the end zone with 3:40 on the clock in the fourth to account for the final margin.
The Warhawks tallied 122 rushing yards on 15 carries in the fourth, holding the ball for more than 11 minutes to preserve the big lead.
UW-Whitewater enters its bye week before starting Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play Oct. 2 against UW-Stout. Kickoff for Alumni Day at Perkins Stadium is slated for 2 p.m.