Wild Second Quarter Helps Pioneers Prevail, 56-22
It was a rather mundane first quarter in Saturday night’s contest between the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and Lakeland University. The Pioneers led 7-0, but the second quarter turned into a track meet, as the two teams combined for 42-points, 28 of which came from UW-Platteville as they would go onto defeat the Muskies, 56-22. The Platteville defense recorded five-sacks and held the Muskies to just 49 rushing yards, while Sean Studer ran for 118-yards and 2-TDs to help lead the Pioneers to victory.
Lakeland received the opening kickoff and was forced to punt after just three plays. Wisconsin-Platteville took over their first possession on their own 38 and moved 62-yards in 11-plays to take the lead. Sean Studer began the drive with a 12-yard run, and would end it with three successive runs, including a one-yard bolt into the end zone to make it 7-0. Overall, the running back carried the ball seven times on the drive for 38-yards.
On the first play of the second quarter, the Pioneers extended the lead to 14. UWP had begun the drive at their own 19 and rode the legs of Studer on the first three plays, moving to their own 39. Into Muskies territory they would go, where they would reach the Lakeland 26, but were faced with a third and 7. Wyatt Thompson ran for two-yards setting up a fourth and 5, and Coach Mike Emendorfer opted to go for it. Once again, the ball was handed to Thompson, who made a nice move and broke free before finally being tackled 10-yards later. With a fresh set of downs, Tyler Blang found Mark Johnson for a 14-yard touchdown to make it 14-0.
On their next drive, it would be Blang making the big play again. On first and 10 at the Lakeland 30, the QB found Johnson again, who split the defense and raced for the end zone to make it 21-0. The drive took just :57 seconds.
It continued to go south for the Muskies. The Pioneers added their third straight touchdown on their next possession to extend the lead to 28. Starting from the LU 42, Blang hit Johnson for 26-yards to begin the drive. Thompson then carried the ball three straight times, with the last going for nine-yards and the touchdown.
Lakeland then mounted an impressive drive on their next possession, moving 76-yards in 14-plays, thanks to the play of their quarterback, Michael Whitley. The Muskies moved to the Pioneers eight, where they were faced with a first and goal. Following a Whitley run of four-yards, two incomplete passes set up fourth and goal. Coach Colin Bruton opted to go for it, but the pass was batted down by Tyler Reinhardt on a nice play to turn the ball over on downs.
While unable to put the ball in the end zone, the Lakeland University Muskies would get on the scoreboard on the very next play. Blang found himself unable to outrun the pursuit and was sacked in the end zone by Isaiah Vance for the safety to make it 28-2.
The big defensive play was the spark the Muskies were looking for. On their next possession they moved 76-yards in just five-plays, a drive that took just 1:12 off the clock. Whitley completed all five passes on the drive with the last one going to Dezmon Eddie for five yards and the score. The extra point was blocked to make it 28-8.
On the next drive, Whitley joined the defense and came up with a huge play. On the first play, Blang’s pass was intercepted by the Lakeland quarterback turned defensive back, who returned the ball to the Lakeland 43. Five plays later, Whitley hit Jody Harrison for 16-yards and the touchdown to make it 28-14.
The game suddenly got interesting, but it would not stay that way for long. The Muskies tried for the onside kick, but the ball sailed out of bounds at the UWP 43 giving them first and 10 from there. After two carries by Studer, Blang completed a 20-yard pass to Tyler Knigge to the Lakeland 42. On the next play, the QB went back to pass and hit Johnson with a perfect pass down the middle that was just out of the reach of the defender. Johnson raced toward the end zone, scoring to make it 35-14. That would be the score at the half.
On their first possession of the second half, the Muskies moved to the UW-Plateville 12 where they were faced with a fourth and 9. Whitley went back to pass, but Sean Fassbender forced the lineman straight back toward the Lakeland QB, allowing him to grab Whitley and drop him for a loss, turning the ball over on downs.
The Pioneers offense responded by moving 79-yards in 10-plays to extend the lead back to 28. Thompson was the big catalyst of the drive, carrying the ball four times for 47-yards, including runs of 28- and 14-yards. Blang closed out the drive with a 25-yard strike to Tim Jansen to make it 42-14.
The Muskies responded with a 69-yard drive that made it 42-22. Whitley’s pass to Allante Gardner for four-yards finished off the drive and gave Lakeland University a little momentum, however, it would not last long.
Wisconsin-Platteville would get back in the end zone on their next possession. The Pioneers put together a methodical drive, moving 69-yards in 12-plays before Studer scored from one-yard out on fourth and goal to extend the lead to 27.
While that drive was quite impressive, UWP would put together an even more impressive one on their next possession, moving 64-yards in 14-plays, a drive that consumed 7:44 off of the clock and left just 1:03 in the game. Colin Schuetz added the final score of the contest, a two-yard run that made it 56-22.
Sean Studer rushed for 118-yards on 22-carries, scoring 2-touchdowns. Mark Johnson had an amazing day receiving, making 9-receptions for 155-yards and 3-scores. Tyler Blang completed 14 of his 22 passes for 230-yards and 4-touchdowns.
Michael Whitley led the Lakeland offense, going 28 for 47 for 305-yards and 3-touchdowns. Dezmen Morse had 9-receptions for 98-yards. Diante Moses had 11-tackles and Donte Rowell 10 to lead the Muskies defense.
The Lakeland Muskies (1-2) will begin conference play next week, traveling to Mequon, Wisconsin to take on Concordia University. Kickoff is 1 PM.
By Robert Pannier