By Lynn Binnie
Whitewater Banner volunteer staff
The No. 3 ranked University of Wisconsin-Whitewater football team scored 38 first-half points and put forth a complete effort on both sides of the ball Saturday, November 27 on its way to a 45-0 victory against DePauw (Ind.) in a second round game of the NCAA Division III Playoffs at Perkins Stadium.
The Warhawks (12-0 overall) advance to the national quarterfinals, where they’ll face eighth-ranked Central (Iowa) next Saturday, Dec. 4, at a location and time to be determined.
UW-W totaled 600 yards of offense and limited the Tigers (9-3) to 171 yards, including minus-2 on the ground.
Alex Peete led the Warhawks with 14 carries for 209 yards and four touchdowns, tying the program record for the most scoring runs in one game in program history. Max Meylor completed 13-of-20 passes for 208 yards and one touchdown while adding a rushing touchdown.
Ryan Wisniewski led the receiving corps with six catches for 124 yards and one score.
Niko Lemke paced the UW-W defense with seven tackles, including 2.5 sacks and four tackles for a loss. Kyle Gallagher tallied three tackles for a loss, including two sacks, and Matt Burba finished with 1.5 sacks. The Warhawks’ nine sacks as a team matched a program record for sacks in one game, which was last accomplished in 2017.
The two teams exchanged empty possessions to start the game before UW-Whitewater got on the board with a nine-play, 71-yard drive capped by a 3-yard touchdown run on third and goal by Peete with 4:25 left in the first quarter.
The Warhawks added to the lead with 1:51 remaining in the period on a 27-yard field goal by Matt Maldonado.
Following another defensive stop, Peete recorded his second touchdown of the day, a 39-yard run with 10:57 on the clock in the second quarter.
Peete posted another long run for his third score, a 56-yarder just over three minutes later for a 24-0 UW-W lead.
Burba and Mackenzie Balanganayi combined for a sack on third down to force another punt, and UW-Whitewater drove 60 yards on seven plays, with Meylor’s 19-yard pass to Wisniewski on third down giving the team a 31-0 advantage with 2:35 to play in the half.
The Warhawks got the ball back one more time in DePauw territory thanks to a blocked punt by Kamrin Hutt, and Meylor scampered 14 yards with an assist from the offensive line near the goal line for a touchdown with two seconds to play in the half.
UW-Whitewater scored on its first drive of the second half as Peete weaved through the defense for a 40-yard touchdown, his fourth of the contest, for a 45-0 lead with 11:22 to play in the third quarter.
Neither team was able to put points on the board the rest of the way as the UW-W defense continued its strong pass rush and stout play at the line of scrimmage.
The Warhawks last played Central on Nov. 19, 2005, in the first round of the NCAA Playoffs, defeating the Dutch 34-14.
Central (12-0), the American Rivers Conference champion, defeated No. 6 Wheaton (Ill.) 30-28 on a last-second touchdown in Saturday’s second round.