UW-Whitewater used defensive pressure and a big performance on the ground from their senior running back Alex Peete to advance to a Division 3 National Quarterfinal on Saturday afternoon at Perkins Stadium. Peete ran for 209 yards and four touchdowns, while Whitewater’s defense racked up nine sacks in a 45-0 win over DePauw in second-round playoff action.
“Just really pleased with our ability to control the line of scrimmage with the run and pass as well as defense,” UW-Whitewater head coach Kevin Bullis said.
Peete began his stellar day on the ground with a three-yard rushing touchdown late in the first quarter to give the Warhawks a 7-0 lead. After forcing a three and out, Matt Maldonado connected on a 27-yard field goal with 1:51 remaining in the first quarter to extend the lead to double digits.
In the second quarter, Peete capped off three and four play drives with rushing touchdowns of 39 and 56 yards to extend the lead to 24-0. After forcing a punt, senior quarterback Max Meylor connected with Ryan Wisniewski on a 19-yard score before adding a 14-yard rushing touchdown to extend the lead to 38-0 late in the second quarter.
It was the second time that Peete has had four touchdowns in a game with the last time being in the opener against Dubuque in 2018. It was the fifth time in program history that a running back has ran for four touchdowns in a UW-Whitewater game as Levell Coppage and Jordan Ratliffe were the only two previous to accomplish the feat.
“It means a lot to be in that category with those guys who are legends in Whitewater,” Peete said after the win. “It is always fun and the biggest thing is to have fun out there and play loose and be yourself.”
After an interception by freshman Luke Nelson, Peete added UW-Whitewater’s final score with a 40-yard touchdown run with 12:01 remaining in the third quarter.
Meylor led the Warhawks’ passing attack as he went 13-for-20 for 208 yards and one touchdown, while also having a rushing touchdown in the win. Wisniewski led the Warhawks in receiving with six catches for 124 yards.
Defensively, UW-Whitewater sacked the quarterback nine times for the first time since 2017. Westosha Central grad Nico Lemke led the team in tackles with seven and also had 2.5 sacks in the win, while Burlington grad Aaron Sturdevant was among four Warhawks with four tackles.
“The thing that is unique about Nico (Lemke) is just his speed as a defensive tackle, he is so fast,” Bullis said of Lemke. “His speed as a defensive tackle is one of the fastest I’ve ever been around.”
Next week, UW-Whitewater will host Central (IA) at Perkins Stadium in a National Quarterfinal in Whitewater. The game will kickoff at noon.