The University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point football team stunned 15th ranked University of Wisconsin- Whitewater last weekend with a 17-14 upset.
The win is the Pointers’ first in conference this season and the first time UWSP has beaten Whitewater since 2008.
A key factor in the game was the nine first-half penalties for Whitewater, which helped the Pointers claim an early lead.
“I’m a fourth-year senior here. This is the first time we’ve beaten Whitewater while I’ve been here,” said senior wide receiver Theo Maglio. “It feels amazing, like a dream come true.”
Head Coach Tom Journell knew it would come down to two key points if the Pointers wanted a chance to win the game. “If we don’t turn the ball over, and if the defense steps up, it’s going to be a great game,” Journell said.
The Pointers didn’t turn the ball over, while Whitewater had two costly turnovers. UWSP’s defense bent but did not break against a formidable Warhawks offense that only found the end zone once in the day.
The first score in the game didn’t come until six minutes into the second quarter, when Pointers sophomore defensive back Zack Vallafskey picked off Whitewater sophomore quarterback Matt Behrendt’s pass and returned it 22 yards for a touchdown.
Less than six minutes later, the Pointers struck again with an 84-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Mitch Beau to Maglio, bringing the score to 14-0 at half.
But the Warhawks wouldn’t go quietly. Whitewater and UWSP alternated field goals in the third quarter. Whitewater junior kicker Eric Kindler connected from 23 yards.
UWSP’s freshman kicker Jesse Vervelde connected on a field goal of 23 yards. Kindler then connected on a 41-yarder, making the score 17-6 going to the fourth quarter.
With less than four minutes going by in the fourth quarter, the Warhawks had an opportunity to tack another three points on the board, but Kindler missed a 35-yard field goal.
The Warhawks would need those three points later in the game.
Whitewater finally found the end zone at the 8:06 mark with a one-yard run by freshman running back Nick Patterson.
No other scoring threats happened in the fourth quarter until the 1:30 mark when Whitewater was on the UWSP 23-yard line.
The Pointers defense held the Warhawks and forced Whitewater to attempt a 47-yard field goal. Kindler’s kick was blocked by sophomore defensive lineman Matt Cuadra, sealing the win for Stevens Point.
“I think we played a full-team game today. It was a lot of fun,” Beau said. “We grinded, we made plays when we needed to and we found a way to win the game.”
Maglio was a standout for the Pointers. He continued his stellar season, finishing with the game high of 142 yards receiving.
“Coach Journell does a great job,” Maglio said. “He spends every night scheming the opposing defense, and today we took them to school.”
Freshman linebacker Aaron Karlen led the Pointers with a game high of 16 tackles, including two for loss.
Whitewater’s offense was led by senior running back Desmin Ward who compiled 133 yard on the ground.
Whitewater has now lost two games in a row, for the first time since the 2001 season. The Warhawks’ record now stands at 5-3, 3-2 in conference. They play the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire next weekend at home.
UWSP improves to 2-6 with a 1-4 conference record. The road doesn’t get any easier for the Pointers as they play 6th ranked University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh next weekend in Oshkosh.