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UW-Whitewater stays undefeated, beats La Crosse 32-22

The No. 2 ranked University of Wisconsin-Whitewater football team overcame a fourth-quarter deficit for the third consecutive game Saturday before tallying 11 unanswered points en route to a 32-22 victory at UW-La Crosse in front of a stadium record crowd of 5,373 at Veterans Memorial Stadium in La Crosse.

The Warhawks (6-0 overall, 3-0 WIAC) forced four turnovers on their way to taking sole possession of first place in the conference.

Saturday’s win was the sixth consecutive game UW-Whitewater handed its opponent its first loss of the season.

Sophomore running back Drew Patterson tallied 215 total yards (155 rushing, 60 receiving) and two touchdowns to lead the Warhawks.

The Eagles (5-1, 2-1) held a 22-21 lead entering the fourth quarter, but the Warhawks drove 75 yards in six plays as Patterson, who ran for 61 yards on the drive, drove into the end zone from 13 yards out. Senior quarterback Chris Nelson hit junior tight end Tony Gumina for the two-point conversion to give UW-Whitewater a 29-22 advantage with 14:37 remaining.

UW-La Crosse drove inside the Warhawks’ 15-yard line on the ensuing drive, but freshman linebacker Alex Zacharias forced a fumble inside the 10-yard line, and junior linebacker Matt Seitz fell on the ball in the end zone for a touchback with 8:48 left in the contest.

On the next drive, back-to-back screen passes from sophomore quarterback Cole Wilber to Patterson yielded a combined 60 yards to set up a 26-yard field goal by junior kicker Will Meyer to make it a 10-point game with 5:14 on the clock.

The Eagles drove near midfield on the next drive, but UW-Whitewater turned them over on downs and ran out the clock to post the victory.

Wilber completed 15-of-22 passes for 166 yards, and senior wide receiver Marcus Hudson posted three receptions for 40 yards.

Senior defensive back Vince Mason led the defense with nine tackles, while Seitz, senior linebacker Paul Foster and senior defensive back Bennett Young each registered six stops.

Both teams scored on their first offensive possessions. UW-La Crosse took a 6-0 lead with 11:21 left in the first quarter, and UW-Whitewater responded four minutes later as Patterson scored from 15 yards out to make it 7-6.

Sophomore defensive back Bailey Breunig halted an Eagle drive deep in Warhawk territory with his second interception of the season at the 2:11 mark of the first.

After the two teams exchanged missed field goal attempts to start the second quarter, Foster picked off Tarek Yaeggi and returned it for a 29-yard touchdown to give UW-Whitewater a 14-6 advantage with 6:45 to play in the first half

On the next UW-La Crosse drive, sophomore defensive lineman Cal Durni stripped Yaeggi and senior defensive back Mickey Morgan recovered it at the Eagles’ 34-yard line.

Four plays later, sophomore running back Jarrod Ware recorded a 20-yard touchdown to make it 21-6 with 2:05 left in the second quarter.

UW-La Crosse tallied 16 unanswered from that point, starting with a field goal just before the half and back-to-back touchdowns in the third quarter.

Patterson started the fourth with a 16-yard run to set up his go-ahead score one play later.

The Warhawks return to Perkins Stadium next Saturday at 1 p.m. to take on UW-Stevens Point during Homecoming Weekend at UW-Whitewater.

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