By Chris Lindeke, Assistant Athletic Director, Strategic Communications and Branding, UW-WSaturday, November 20, 2021
The No. 3 ranked University of Wisconsin-Whitewater football team scored 28 first-quarter points Saturday afternoon on its way to a 69-7 victory against Greenville (Ill.) in the first round of the NCAA Division III Championship at Perkins Stadium.
The Warhawks (11-0 overall) advance to the second round, where they’ll face DePauw (Ind.) next Saturday, Nov. 27, at a time and location to be announced.
Alex Peete paced the UW-W offense with 93 yards rushing and four touchdowns (one receiving), eclipsing the 1,000-yard mark for the season for the third time in his career. Max Meylor threw for 239 yards and three touchdowns, and Ryan Wisniewski led the receiving corps with five receptions, 98 yards and one touchdown.
Hawk Heffner led the defense with 11 tackles, and Luke Nelson collected eight stops. UW-Whitewater limited the Panthers (8-3) to 72 rushing yards, more than 175 yards below their season average.
The Warhawks tallied four touchdowns in the first 15 minutes of action. Meylor hit Peete for a 27-yard catch-and-run on third-and-16 for the first score of the game, and, after UW-W recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, Meylor found Wisniewski for a five-yard score.
Greenville drove into Warhawk territory on the next drive, but the defense put together a fourth-down stop. UW-W then embarked on an eight-play, 69-yard drive capped by Peete’s 1-yard touchdown for a 21-0 lead with 2:18 on the clock.
On the next drive, Thomas Wojnowski stepped in front of Chase Butterfield’s pass at the 25-yard line and ran it in untouched for a 25-yard touchdown.
The Panthers found the end zone with just over three minutes to play in the second quarter to cut their deficit to 28-7 before halftime.
Following a three-and-out by Greenville on the opening possession of the second half, Peete zig-zaged his way through the defense for a 32-yard touchdown at the 11:22 mark of the third quarter to bring the UW-W lead back to 28 points.
A 13-yard touchdown pass from Meylor to Tyler Holte, which was set up by Wisniewski’s 49-yard reception, made it 41-7 with 9:20 remaining in the quarter. Peete posted a 10-yard touchdown run, and Evan Lewandowski tossed a 12-yard score to Michael Berentes as UW-Whitewater closed the period with a 55-7 advantage.
Lewandowski avoided pressure to his right and found Dain Hudson near the goal line for a 34-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter, and Ryan Ponick completed the scoring just over three minutes later with an 11-yard touchdown run.
UW-Whitewater’s offensive scoring output Saturday was its highest in the NCAA Playoffs since 2009, when it defeated Lakeland 70-7 in the first round.
Editor’s note: Per UW-W students who were selling seatback rentals before the game, this was Greenville’s first postseason appearance ever, and some of their fans stated they were just glad to be able to see Perkins Stadium! The current brackets can be found here. North Central College advanced to the second round in a “no contest” outcome versus Carnegie Mellon, which withdrew due to a COVID-19 outbreak among its players.