#19 Pioneers set to travel to #3 UW-Whitewater for George Chryst Memorial Bowl

#19 Pioneers set to travel to #3 UW-Whitewater for George Chryst Memorial Bowl

The Game: The #19 ranked University of Wisconsin-Platteville football team will travel to #3 ranked University of Wisconsin-Whitewater on Saturday, Oct. 12 at 2 p.m. in Perkins Stadium.  Saturday's competition is homecoming for the Warhawks and the annual George Chryst Memorial Bowl game.

George Chryst Memorial Bowl: The annual match-up between the Pioneers and Warhawks has been named the George Chryst Memorial Bowl since 1993. The contest honors the late UW-Platteville head coach George Chryst, who died suddenly in 1992 after leading the Pioneers to a 79-60-2 record and the 1980 conference championship.  Following the game, the traveling Miner's Axe trophy (dedicated in 1995) is awarded by Chryst's widow Patty, to the winning team along with offensive and defensive players of the game selected by the assembled media.  This will be the 112th meeting between the two teams and the 27th George Chryst Memorial Bowl game.

Last meeting: The Warhawks defeated the Pioneers 49-21 in 2018 on Senior Day in Ralph E. Davis Pioneer Stadium.

The records:  Both nationally ranked teams enter Saturday's game undefeated in the 2019 season. UW-Platteville is 4-0 overall and 1-0 in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) after sweeping its non-conference schedule and opening WIAC play last weekend with a 38-20 victory over UW-La Crosse. UW-Whitewater is also 4-0 overall and 1-0 in conference play coming off a 24-14 victory over UW-Eau Claire last Saturday in Perkins Stadium.

The coaches: Mike Emendorfer is UW-Platteville's all-time winning coach, compiling a 105-101 record in his 21 seasons and is the WIAC's active leader in victories. Kevin Bullis is in his fifth season as the head coach of UW-Whitewater.  Under Bullis' direction, the Warhawks have recorded a 48-7 record overall, 27-2 record against conference competition, and advanced to the NCAA semifinal round in 2018 after a perfect 10-0 regular season.

The Pioneers: UW-Platteville is 37-19 in conference play over the last eight years and have compiled a 53-18 overall mark over the previous seven seasons, with a pair of NCAA Division III playoff appearances. Under Emendorfer's direction, UW-Platteville has defeated each WIAC program a minimum of seven times with the exception of UW-Whitewater with Pioneer victories in the 2001 and 2004 seasons.

Emendorfer's Pioneers are leading the WIAC in scoring and pass offense while averaging 415 yards per game, including 301.0 in the air. Junior Colin Schuetz leads the WIAC in passing and has completed 85-of-140 (60.7%) attempts for 1,175 yards and 13 touchdowns in four games. Senior Tyler Knigge (24 receptions for 358 yards) and junior Donald Allender (14 receptions for 338 yards) are Schuetz's primary targets. Knigge leads the WIAC in receptions and receiving yards while Allender leads the conference in scoring with seven touchdowns. Senior running back Wyatt Thompson has totaled 55 carries for 291 of the Pioneers' 456 rushing yards and five touchdowns.

On defense, senior defensive back Tyler Reinhardt leads the Pioneers with 31 tackles, four tackles for a loss of 18 yards, three pass break-ups, one sack, and two interceptions with one returned for a touchdown.  Following closely behind is senior defensive back Walter Ollie who has totaled 26 tackles, one sack, one forced fumble, five pass break-ups, and one interception last weekend for a 39 yard return and touchdown. Ollie has also stacked up 282 yards on 10 kick returns with an additional 87 yards on 10 punt returns to lead the WIAC in kick returns and sit second in punt returns. Senior defensive back Luke Johnson is tied for first in the league with 3 interceptions along with UW-Whitewater's Mark McGRath and Joey Roth of UW-La Crosse.

Overall, the Pioneers lead the WIAC with 16 turnovers gained while UW-Whitewater follows next behind with 11 turnovers gained.

The Warhawks: UW-Whitewater enters Saturday's game undefeated and having been ranked fourth or higher on the national scale since preseason rankings. The Warhawks lead the WIAC in scoring defense and are averaging 28.5 points per game to their opponents 12.8 with 45 points off turnovers. UW-Whitewater's offense averages 356.0 yards total offense with 209.8 yards passing and 146.2 yards rushing. The Warhawks are 27-of-60 (45%) on third-down conversions to their opponents 13-of-52 (25%).

Junior quarterback Zach Oles is 49-of-87 (56.3%) for 592 yards and three touchdowns.  Oles will look to handoff to junior running back Alex Peete who has totaled 229 yards and five touchdowns off 49 carries. Leading receivers include junior Ryan Wisniewski (15 receptions for 111 yards), junior Derek Kumerow (14 receptions for 140 yards), and junior JT Parish (11 receptions for 183 yards).

On defense, senior lineman Jordan Brand has stacked up three sacks for a loss of 15 yards, two forced fumbles, and two quarterback hurries. Junior defensive back McGrath has totaled three interceptions for a return of 22 yards, three tackles for a loss of eight yards, one fumble forced with two fumble recoveries, and two blocked kicks.   Junior linebacker Kaleb Kaminski has tallied a team high 37 tackles while senior defensive back Jacob Frey has recorded 29 tackles.

Odds and ends:

  • The last time both UW-Platteville and UW-Whitewater entered the George Chryst Memorial Bowl undefeated was during the 2016 season.
  • The Pioneers are ranked #19 nationally in both the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) poll and the D3football.com Top 25.  UW-Whitewater sits #3 in both the AFCA and D3football.com polls.
  • Other WIAC programs receiving votes in the D3football.com national rankings include UW-La Crosse and UW-Oshkosh while the Eagles, Titans, and UW-Eau Claire are receiving votes in the AFCA poll.
  • UW-Platteville's first two conference games are scheduled against two nationally ranked teams at the time of competition – last week's game to #20 UW-La Crosse and this weekend's competition at #3 UW-Whitewater.
  • 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 return home to Ralph E. Davis Pioneer Stadium on homecoming weekend to continue conference play against UW-Stout on Oct. 19 at 2 p.m.