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UW-RF Football: No. 1 Warhawks roll over Falcons

UW-River Falls linebacker Nate Smits of Hudson drops back into pass coverage in the first half of the Falcons' 42-10 loss to top-ranked and two-time NCAA Division III champion UW-Whitewater Saturday at Ramer Field. Smits led the Falcon defense with 10 tackles in the game. Photo by Bob Burrows

The largest turnout at Ramer Field since 2007 watched the two-time defending champion and top-ranked UW-Whitewater Warhawks defeat the Falcons 42-10 Saturday in UW-River Falls' annual Homecoming game.

Over 3,600 fans saw Whitewater extend its winning streak to 35 games, the longest in the nation at any level. The crowd was the largest since Oct. 13, 2007, when the Falcons upset then No. 16 UW-Eau Claire.

Whitewater, who came into the game winning by an average score of 41-10, improved to 5-0 overall, 2-0 in the WIAC, while the Falcons fell to 0-5, 0-2 in conference play and lost for the 16th time in their last 17 games.

The UW-RF offense compiled just 163 total yards, including only six on the ground, the fewest in a single game in the last ten years.

John Wahlstrom accounted for nearly half of the Falcons offense, catching 12 passes for 77 yards, both career highs. 

Whitewater scored touchdowns on its first two possessions before the Falcon special teams unit came up with a big play when Nate Brandt recovered a fumbled Whitewater punt at the Warhawk three yard-line. Two plays later, Taylor Edwards carried the ball over for his third touchdown of the season to cut the lead to 14-7.

The Warhawks answered by scoring 21 points in the next six minutes. Matt Blanchard threw a touchdown pass on consecutive drives to end the first half, including finding Tyler Huber on a 45-yard strike at the end of the second quarter. On the first play of the second half, Blanchard found Huber again for a 60-yard score, giving the Warhawks a decisive 35-7 lead.

Chad Blair nailed a career-long 46-yard field goal, which hit the cross bar before going through the upright, late in the third quarter for the only other Falcon points of the game. It was the longest Falcon field goal since Drake Klatt hit a 46-yarder against UW-La Crosse in 2009.

Hudson's Nate Smits led the Falcon defense with 10 tackles, along with Lincoln Bjorklund, while Matt Ainsworth picked off his fourth pass of the season.

Up next the Falcons travel to UW-Stevens Point this Saturday, Oct. 15 to face the only other winless team in the WIAC. The Pointers lost to both La Crosse and Stout by a field goal and sit at 0-2 in conference play. Kickoff is at 1 p.m., in Stevens Point.