On Saturday, the No. 1 ranked University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Warhawks welcome the No. 10 ranked John Carroll Blue Streaks to town in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division-III football playoffs. UW-Wisconsin finished 10-0 in the regular season, then downed Lakeland and Wittenberg to advance. John Carroll won the Ohio Athletic Conference with a record of 9-1, then defeated Olivet and Wesley to reach the quarterfinals.
Run in the Playoffs
The Warhawks opened the playoffs with a 45-27 victory over Lakeland. UW-Whitewater jumped out to a 28-0 behind two touchdown runs by Josh Ringelberg. Chris Nelson also threw for 2-touchdowns to stake the team to the four touchdown lead. They would lead 38-7 before Lakeland was able to battle back some before finally falling by 18. Nelson finished with 214-yards passing and 3-scores and Ringelberg rushed for 150-yards and 3-touchdowns.
In Round 2, the Warhawks took on Wittenberg, which took a 3-0 lead, but UW-Wisconsin then rattled off 30 straight points. Will Meyer kicked three field goals of better than 37-yards and the team got two touchdown runs from Drew Patterson in the 37-9 victory.
Cole Wilber took over at quarterback and passed for 237-yards. Ringelberg rushed for 147-yards and Patterson had 74-yards and the 2-TDs. Marcus Hudson made 7-catches for 116-yards.
John Carroll dispatched Olivet in the first round of the playoffs. They would take a 13-0 lead, before the Comets scored. However, two touchdowns before the half made it 25-6. The Blue Streaks got two touchdown passes after the half and won 37-12. Anthony Moeglin threw for 262-yards and 4-TDs and Marshall Howell had 9-catches for 118-yards and 2-scores.
In the second round, the Blue Streaks beat Wesley 20-17. Wesley scored first on an interception return for a touchdown, but John Carroll responded with two touchdown passes by Moeglin to take the lead. The Wolverines would tie the score and take the lead 17-14 , but Moeglin’s third TD pass of the game put the Blue Streaks on top and they would win by three.
Despite throwing 4-interceptions, Moeglin led the offense with 255-yards and 3-TDs. Nico James had 6-catches for 96-yards and 2-TDs. The John Carroll defense recorded 9-sacks, led by Jimmy Thomas who had 2.5. Seven different players recorded sacks.
UW-Whitewater PPG: 36.6, Rushing YDs/Game: 206.2, Passing YDs/Game: 220.8, Total YDs Game: 427.0
John Carroll PPG: 35.5, Rushing YDs/Game: 187.5, Passing YDs/Game: 217.8, Total YDs Game: 405.2
UW-Whitewater PPG: 14.8, Rushing YDs/Game: 77.8, Passing YDs/Game: 290.0, Total YDs Game: 367.8
John Carroll PPG: 12.8, Rushing YDs/Game: 71.3, Passing YDs/Game: 146.6, Total YDs Game: 217.9
Warhawks Keys to Success
- This defense is downright nasty. Play as you know how and limit the big play.
- Drew Patterson is the kind of back that can dominate a game. He is a load to stop and needs 20 carries or more in this game.
- Colin Buck makes throwing against the Warhawks incredibly difficult. He should limit the Blue Streaks ability to throw.
Blue Streaks Keys to Success
- Remember that you are the team that defeated the No. 1 team in the country. John Carroll has not played their best in the playoffs, but they have the ability to beat anyone on any day.
- Moeglin has thrown 13-interceptions this season and four came this past weekend. He must be near perfect for the Blue Streak to win.
- Don’t let the Warhawks limit the effectiveness of Ray Brown. Move him around and let him wreak havoc on the UW-Wisconsin offense.
This is a great matchup of two of the biggest powerhouses in Division-III football. John Carroll got a huge monkey off their backs when they defeated Mount Union in the last game of the season, but they have not played with the same kind of intensity since. That is bad news, because the Warhawks have every intention of getting back to the NCAA Division-III football title game. Look for UW-Wisconsin to win this game, 37-24.
By Robert Pannier