The Game: The University of Wisconsin-Platteville Pioneers kick off the 2019 season at Ralph E. Davis Pioneer Stadium against the visiting Tigers of East Texas Baptist University (ETBU) on Saturday, Sept. 7 at 1 p.m.
Last year: The Pioneers look to bounce back after the 4-6 2018 season, the campaign that started with a 42-point comeback to defeat the Tigers 59-44 in Marshall, Texas.
Last meeting: The Pioneers traveled to ETBU in 2018 to play in a Thursday night game at Ornelas Stadium. That was the first time the Pioneers traveled to Texas since UW-Platteville traveled to Kingsville, Texas in 1970 for the NAIA Semifinals against Texas A&I.
Streaking: UW-Platteville has won all 20 of its season openers under Coach Mike Emendorfer. The last time the Pioneers dropped their first game came during the 1998 season, a 21-14 setback at Lakeland.
Season Openers Under Mike Emendorfer
1999 W 20-17 Lakeland
2000 W 26-19 at Mount Senario
2001 W 64-0 Mount Senario
2002 W 17-6 at Olivet Nazarene
2003 W 27-24 Olivet Nazarene
2004 W 40-14 at Thiel
2005 W 26-0 Dubuque
2006 W 34-20 at Dubuque
2007 W 16-6 St. Ambrose
2008 W 21-14 at Buena Vista
2009 W 15-10 Buena Vista
2010 W 31-2 at Buena Vista
2011 W 38-3 Buena Vista
2012 W 56-13 at Buena Vista
2013 W 42-17 Buena Vista
2014 W 63-3 at Buena Vista
2015 W 49-13 Buena Vista
2016 W 35-0 at George Fox
2017 W 30-28 George Fox
2018 W 59-44 at East Texas Baptist
The Pioneers: UW-Platteville is 21-3 in non-conference play over the last eight years, including wins in 13 of their last 14 and retuns this year after their first losing mark in eight seasons. They had compiled a 53-18 mark the previous seven seasons, with a pair of NCAA Division III playoff appearances.
Emendorfer's squad returns seven starters on both offense and on defense. Last year the Pioneers led the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) in pass offense completing 57.6 (219-380) for 2,662 yards and came in second in the season in total offense behind 2018 WIAC Champions, UW-Whitewater with 4,084 yards.
The offense is led by junior quarterback Colin Schuetz. Schuetz enters his junior year having played in eight games in the 2018 campaign where he passed for 1,970 yards and 10 touchdowns. Junior running back Bo Babich led the Pioneers with nine total touchdowns, including eight rushing, and junior wide receiver Donald Allender had a team-best four touchdown receptions.
Defensively, junior linebacker Eric Siedenburg had a team-best 76 tackles during the 2018 season, while senior defensive back Tyler Reinhardt was third with 66 tackles and recorded a team-high four interceptions.
On secondary, the 2019 season returns senior cornerback Luke Johnson who missed the majority of his junior year due to an ankle injury. Johnson recorded 35 tackles, 16 broken up passes, and three interceptions for a total of 45 yards and a touchdown during the 2017 season.
Last season, ETBU tied for third in the American Southwest Conference at 6-3 to complete their fourth straight winning season.
Second year head coach Brian Mayper returns over 50 members from last season's squad, including All-ASC members quarterback Brian Baca, running back Jeremiah Robertson, and corner back Aaron Buckley.
Last season, Baca entered the year as the leading rusher and threw for 2,783 yards and 28 touchdown passes. Robertson, named All-ASC second team, led the ground game with 594 yards on 103 carries plus nine touchdowns. Defensively, Buckley, earned honorable mention and finished with three interceptions.
Odds and ends:
- UW-Platteville is 132-100-2 all-time at Ralph E. Davis Pioneer Stadium since it opened in 1972.
- ETBU is the first team from Texas to ever play in Ralph E. Davis Pioneer Stadium.
- The Pioneers were picked to finish fourth in the WIAC behind UW-Whitewater, UW-La Crosse, and UW-Oshkosh in the 2019 Preseason Poll.
- The home opener marks the first of six home games scheduled for the regular 2019 schedule. Last season, the Pioneers did not compete in Ralph E. Davis Pioneer Stadium until Sept. 22 against Lakeland College and only had a total of four home games.
- The 2019 UW-Platteville Football team continues its campaign to #SetTheExpectation. A nationally recognized campaign and pledge taken by college athletes that is focused on combatting sexual and physical violence. Founder Brenda Tracy visited was an honorary captain last season at a home game.
- Looking ahead, The Pioneers will have a bye week and then return home to Ralph E. Davis Pioneer Stadium when Thomas Moore rolls into town on Hall of Fame weekend scheduled for Sept. 21 at 1 p.m.