Blue Devils roll into town on Homecoming Weekend

Blue Devils roll into town on Homecoming Weekend

The Game: The #18 ranked University of Wisconsin-Platteville football team returns to Ralph E. Davis Pioneer Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 19 at 2 p.m. for the 2019 homecoming game against the Blue Devils of the University of Wisconsin-Stout.

Last meeting: The Blue Devils edged the Pioneers 38-33 in the final seconds of play in Williams Stadium last November.

The records:  UW-Platteville is 4-1 overall and 1-1 in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) after suffering its first loss of the season to #3 ranked UW-Whitewater, 21-14.  UW-Stout is 1-4 overall and 0-2 in the WIAC as the Blue Devils come off a 40-22 defeat at UW-La Crosse last weekend.

The coaches: Mike Emendorfer is UW-Platteville's all-time winning coach, compiling a 105-102 record in his 21 seasons. Clayt Birmingham is in his tenth season as the UW-Stout head coach after spending three years as the Blue Devils' defensive coordinator. In his previous nine seasons as head coach, UW-Stout has compiled a 36-53 overall record.

The Homecoming history: The Pioneers are 46-39-4 all-time in Homecoming games, with six victories in the last seven seasons. Emendorfer has an 11-9 Homecoming record,  including his very first Homecoming game, a 27-14 stunner over powerhouse UW-La Cross that snapped a 24-game WIAC losing streak.

The Pioneers: UW-Platteville is 38-20 in conference play over the last nine years including victories over UW-Stout in seven of the last eight seasons. The Pioneers have compiled a 53-18 overall mark over the previous seven seasons, with a pair of NCAA Division III playoff appearances.

Emendorfer's Pioneers are leading the WIAC in scoring and pass offense while averaging 379.4 yards per game, including 284.4 in the air. Junior Colin Schuetz leads the WIAC in passing and has completed 104-of-178 (54.4%) attempts for 1,393 yards and 15 touchdowns in five games. Senior Tyler Knigge (29 receptions for 411 yards) and junior Donald Allender (21 receptions for 410 yards) are Schuetz's primary targets while Allender is tied for first in the WIAC for scoring with eight touchdowns. Senior running back Wyatt Thompson has totaled 62 carries for 297 of the Pioneers' 475 rushing yards and five touchdowns. Thompson sits in second in the league for rushing yards behind UW-Eau Claire's Austin Belot who has tallied 721 yards this season. Overall, the Pioneers have been able to convert on 32-of-76 attempts (42%) on third-down and 4-of-7 attempts (57%) on fourth-down.

On defense, senior defensive back Tyler Reinhardt leads the Pioneers with 46 tackles, five tackles for a loss of 22 yards, four pass break-ups, one sack, and two interceptions with one returned for a touchdown.  Following Reinhardt is senior defensive back Walter Ollie who has totaled 38 tackles, one sack, one forced fumble, five pass break-ups, and one interception for a 39 yard return and touchdown. Ollie has also stacked up 358 yards on 14 kick returns with an additional 87 yards on 11 punt returns to lead the WIAC in average kick return yards.

Overall, the Pioneers have tallied 14 quarterback sacks and are tied for first in red zone defense in the league with opponents going 13-for-26 inside the 20. UW-Platteville leads the WIAC in turnovers gained with seven fumbles and 11 interceptions.

The Blue Devils: UW-Stout enters Saturday's game having suffered two conference losses to UW-Oshkosh and UW-La Crosse following the team's lone victory this season at Cal. Lutheran.

The Blue Devils are averaging 324.4 yards per game with 228.8 passing yards and 95.6 rushing yards.  Leading the offense is sophomore quarterback Sean Borgerding who has completed 81-of-168 attempts (48.2%) for 1,144 yards, eight touchdowns, and nine interceptions. Borgerding's go-to is sophomore wide receiver Levy Hamer who has totaled 27 receptions for 504 yards and three touchdowns.  Leading the Blue Devils in rushing yards is sophomore tailback Josh Nitek who has a team high 45 carries for 164 yards.

On defense, senior defensive back Jed Schlegel leads with 46 tackles, three pass break-ups, one interception, and one forced fumble. Senior linebacker Luke Wilz follows closely behind with 45 tackles, three tackles for loss of 15 yards, one sack, and one broken-up pass. On average, the Blue Devils defense is holding their opponents to less than 100 rushing yards with 99.0 yards per game while allowing 280.4 yards passing for a total of 379.4 yards total defense per game.

Odds and ends:

  • Saturday's game is part of the UW-Platteville 2019 homecoming celebration and marks the 90th Homecoming game.  This year's theme is "Pioneering Music Through the Years." The Homecoming Parade will march down Main Street Platteville starting at 10 a.m.
  • Ticket booth and gates open at 1 p.m. at Ralph E. Davis Pioneer Stadium.
  • The Pioneers are ranked #18 nationally in the Top 25 Poll and #20 in the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) poll. No. 3 UW-Whitewater is the only other WIAC school ranked in both polls.
  • Other WIAC programs receiving votes in the national rankings include UW-La Crosse and UW-Oshkosh while the Eagles, Titans, and UW-Eau Claire are receiving votes in the AFCA poll.
  • 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 travel to UW-Eau Claire next Saturday, Oct. 26  for a 1 p.m. kickoff at Carson Park.