UW-Whitewater smothers Franklin as Warhawks advance to third round
WHITEWATER, Wis. -- It's one of the timeless questions, like nature versus nurture. Unstoppable force versus immovable object. Franklin came into Saturday's game with the number nine scoring offense in Division III. Host UW-Whitewater had the top defense, in both yards and scoring, in Division III. and Franklin College brought the fourth-ranked passing offense At least for this day, the answer was ... inmmoveable object as UW-W defeated Franklin College 33-3 in a NCAA Division III second round playoff game in Perkins Stadium in Whitewater on Saturday.
Franklin has lost in the second round game three years in a row.
Franklin took the opening kickoff, completed a pass, but QB Jonny West, the Division III leader in passing yards, was intercepted by Warhawks defensive back Brady Grayvold on the next play. UW-Whitewater took over at their own 43. UW-W quarterback Matt Behrendt completed six of eight passes on the Warhawks' nine play drive, capped by a nine yard toss to split end Jake Kumerow for the touchdown. Erick Kindler's kick made it 7-0 with 10:52 left in the first quarter.
Backed to their 13 by a punt, Franklin moved the ball to their own 32. The Grizzlies' punt was negated by a Warhawk penalty, continuing the drive at their 47. That drive stalled at Whitewater's 32 after two incomplete passes and a sack by UW-W defensive end Mykeall Bratchett.
After the ensuing punt rolled into the end zone, UW-W took over on its 20. The Warhawks put together an eleven play drive, highlighted by Behrendt going 4-5 and Ryan Givens four rushes for 17 yards. Behrendt connected with wideout Justin Howard on the final play of the drive, scoring from 14 yards out. Kindler upped the margin to 14-0 with 14:06 remaining in the half.
Franklin responded with its best drive of the first half, taking the ball from its own 24 to the Whitewater three in thirteen plays. Facing a fourth and three at the six, Franklin elected to go for the touchdown, but West's low pass to Michael Maloian was ruled incomplete.
The Warhawk offense took over and pushed the ball all the way to the Franklin six, when the Grizzllies' defense stiffened, stuffing two rushes for losses and forcing an incomplete pass. Kindler came on to boot a 29 yard field goal to make it 17-0 with 1:02 left in the half.
The half did not end quietly. A Franklin punt turned into a 63 yard return by Justin Howard but Franklin retained possession on a UW-Whitewater penalty. Franklin's next play, a West pass, was intercepted by Grayvold for the second time in the half.
UW-W's defense limited the Grizzlies to 85 yards offense, including minus eight on the ground. Whitewater was hindered by five penalties for 67 yards. Tyler Huber caught five passes for 70 yards to lead the UW-W offense, while All-American wideout Kyle Linville joined Maloian with three catches for Franklin.
Franklin was backed up to its eight on its first drive of the second half, but a 50 pass from West to tight end Dylan Jenney moved the ball to the Whitewater 35. Four plays later Mike Woods' 46 yard field goal put Franklin on the board, trailing 17-3 with 9:34 left in the third.
Later in the period Franklin punter Michael Parks was blocked by Loussaint Minett and recovered by Ryan Cortez to give UW-W possession at the Franklin 29. Behrendt tossed his third scoring pass of the game, this time for 29 yards to Kumerow, his touchdown of the day, with 4:10 left in the third quarter. Whitewater's lead stood at 23-3 after the PAT failed.
Late in the fourth quarter circumstances forced Franklin to try to convert a fourth and two at its nineteen. After UW-Whitewater stuffed the run attempt for a loss of four yards it took just four plays for Kindler to add a 35 yard field goal to his day, boosting the Whitewater lead to 26-3 with 613 on the clock.
With Franklin back on its heels in a pass only situation, West tossed a pick-six to Grayvold, who picked the ball off at the Franklin 41. Kindler made it 33-3 at 5:01. Grayvold's third interception of the game ties the school record, the fourth Warhawk to accmopliish the feat and the first since Ron Riley did it in a win over Milton College in 1981.