STEVENS POINT, WIS. – Wisconsin-Stevens Point made the Iowa Wesleyan College football team pay for a number of early mistakes as the Pointers defeated the Tigers 45-7 Saturday afternoon at rainy Goerke Field in Stevens Point.
The Tigers committed five first half turnovers which Stevens Point turned into 28 points. IWC never recovered and dropped to 1-1 this season while the Pointers improved to 2-0.
After defeating Waldorf College soundly in its opener, the Tigers on Saturday were looking for another measurement of their improvement, this time against a perennially strong NCAA Division III program.
That was difficult to do, though, as IWC played from behind almost from the start and never recovered. The Tigers knew going in they were facing a strong opponent, but IWC was also never able to establish any kind of rhythm as several potentially successful first half drives on offense ended with mistakes. And with its backs against the wall frequently in the first half, the Tiger defense had a tough task and couldn’t keep UWSP from taking a 35-0 advantage at halftime.
Stevens Point wasted no time taking the lead early, taking possession first and driving 62 yards in six plays to take a 7-0 lead just 2:24 into the game. Point then took advantage of a fumble on IWC’s second play from scrimmage to score again, as C.L. Whiteside’s one-yard plunge capped a five-play drive that needed to go just 16 yards to make it 14-0 with 10:38 left in the first quarter.
The Tigers settled down and played better the rest of the quarter, but Stevens Point struck for two more scores in the second on a pair of one-yard runs. T.C. Farber’s one-yard run capped a seven-play, 53-yard drive after an IWC punt, and quarterback Jared Beckwith ran it in on a sneak to make it 28-0. The Pointers added another score late in the first half when Mike Krueger returned an interception 46 yards for a touchdown and a 35-0 lead.
UWSP started three first half drives inside the Tigers’ 30-yard line and three more drives just outside of IWC territory, making for most of the half being played on one half of the field. In contrast, the Tigers started all nine of their first half drives inside their own 33-yard line.
IWC recovered to show better in the second half, driving inside the Pointers’ 40-yard line three times and generally playing Stevens Point to a standstill. The Tigers drove down to the UWSP 20 on their second drive of the half before stalling out when a fourth down desperation pass was intercepted, but IWC quickly turned over the Pointers and scored soon after. Gerald Knighten (Jr.-Bellwood, Ill.) intercepted a pass in Pointer territory, and Greg Fields capped a three-play, 25-yard drive with a 19-yard run on an end around to make it 38-7 with 14:52 left in the game.
The Pointers kept their starters in well into the fourth quarter and added one final touchdown in the fourth. IWC was unable to add another score, driving into UWSP territory as time ran out.
Stevens Point won the statistical battle but did not necessarily dominate in most areas. The Pointers outgained the Tigers 329-200 for the game and had 17 first downs to nine for IWC. Both teams had similar success on the ground as UWSP rushed for 124 yards on 43 carries to 82 yards on 35 carries for Iowa Wesleyan, while the Pointers had a 205-118 advantage in passing yards.
“It was a good test for us against a really good Division III program to see where we are at,” said IWC Head Coach Jason Smelser. “I think we’ll bounce back from this and learn from this, we’ve got a good group of guys and they’ll get better from this.”
Derrick Chambers (So.-Champaign, Ill.) had 63 yards on 16 carries to lead the rushing attack for IWC. Quarterback Bryan Abihider (Sr.-Hemet, Calif.) completed 18 of 24 passes for 118 yards and three interceptions. Kelvin Brunson (So.-Vienna, Ga.) was on the receiving end of eight of those throws, mostly short screen passes, while Lawrence Moore (So.-Country Club Hills, Ill.) caught three passes for a total of 66 yards.
Smelser noted the defensive efforts in particular of Darious Watson (So.-Bellwood, Ill.) and Scott Knipfer (Sr.-Cottage Grove, Wis.). Watson tied Quentin Lang (Sr.-Bellwood, Ill.) for the team lead with nine tackles, while Knipfer and Scott Baldwin (Jr.-Penn Valley, Calif.) were also both around the ball all day and finished with eight tackles each.
The Tigers will finally get their first chance to play at home next week when the team starts a three-game homestand by hosting Peru State (Neb.) College. Next week’s game at the Evans Field at Mapleleaf Stadium will start at 1 pm.
For more information regarding the IWC football program or any of the Tiger athletic teams, contact sports information director Adam Glatczak (319-385-6306 phone; 319-385-6384 FAX; email@example.com e-mail) or log on to IWC's athletics web site at www.iwc.edu/athletics.
Box score UWSP 45 IWC 7