By Chris Lindeke
Assistant Athletic Director, Strategic Communications and Branding
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
The No. 3 ranked University of Wisconsin-Whitewater football team combined an opportunistic offense with a defense that stood its ground in the red zone Saturday afternoon for a 37-6 victory against UW-Stout in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference opener for both teams in front of 8,963 fans at Perkins Stadium.
The Warhawks (4-0 overall, 1-0 WIAC) posted a balanced offensive attack with 165 rushing yards and 193 passing yards, while the defense limited the Blue Devils’ potent offense to one fourth-quarter touchdown.
UW-Whitewater held UW-Stout (3-1, 0-1) to 6-of-18 on third-down conversions and 2-of-6 on fourth down, including three times in UW-W territory.
Max Meylor completed 14-of-17 passes for 193 yards and three touchdowns, including two to Ryan Wisniewski. Alex Peete rushed for 69 yards on 18 carries and scored two touchdowns.
Shane McGrail paced the defense with nine tackles, including 0.5 for a loss. Egon Hein totaled eight tackles, and Mackenzie Balanganayi posted three tackles, including 1.5 for a loss, and four quarterback hurries.
After the Warhawks forced a three-and-out on the opening drive, punctuated by a sack by Balanganayi, the Blue Devils fumbled the punt snap, setting UW-W up at the UW-Stout 3-yard line.
Peete took the handoff on the first play of the drive and crossed the goal line to give UW-Whitewater a 7-0 advantage with 12:46 to play in the first quarter.
The Warhawks increased the lead at the 13:42 mark of the second quarter. A 28-yard pass over the middle from Meylor to Wisniewski capped an eight-play, 78-yard drive, and gave UW-W a 13-0 advantage.
Midway through the period, Balagnanayi and Kyle Gallagher combined for a stop on fourth-and-1 in UW-Whitewater territory. The Warhawks took over on downs, and Meylor connected with Sam DeLany on a 23-yard scoring play between two defenders to make it 20-0 with 4:51 left in the half.
The Warhawks started the second half with a 10-play, 75-yard drive. After a first-down run by Meylor on third-and-3, Peete plunged in from one yard out to make it 27-0 with 9:52 remaning in the third quarter.
The Blue Devils drove to the UW-Whitewater 5-yard line on the ensuing drive, but Thomas Wojnowski batted down a fourth-down pass in the corner of the end zone to give UW-W the ball back.
In the fourth quarter, after another UW-Stout turnover on downs, Meylor capped a five-play, 70-yard drive with a 14-yard touchdown pass to Wisniewski, who eluded one defender and dove just inside the pile-on to make it 34-0 at the 13:00 mark.
Following a three-and-out by UW-Stout, Dain Hudson returned the punt 49 yards into UW-S territory, and Matt Maldonado kicked a 39-yard field goal with 8:33 to play.
The Blue Devils scored with 6:46 remaining to account for the final margin.
The Warhawks return to action next Saturday, Oct. 9, as they host UW-Platteville during Family Fest at UW-Whitewater. Kickoff at Perkins Stadium is slated for 1 p.m.