The Game: The University of Wisconsin-Platteville football team will close its 2019 schedule on Saturday Nov. 16 at 1 p.m. on Ramer Field at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.
Last meeting: Last year, the Pioneers defeated the Falcons 52-27 on Homecoming in Ralph E. Davis Pioneer Stadium.
The records: The Pioneers enter the final game of their 2019 schedule 7-2 overall and 4-2 in the WIAC after defeating UW-Stevens Point last Saturday, 41-14, in Ralph E. Davis Pioneer Stadium. In all, the Pioneers' two losses to No. 3 UW-Whitewater and UW Oshkosh come at a combined 11-point deficit. UW-River Falls looks to win its first league game and second game of the season as the team has an overall 1-8 record and 0-6 standing in the WIAC. The Falcons' solo victory opened the season at Minnesota-Morris.
The coaches: Mike Emendorfer is UW-Platteville's all-time winning coach, compiling a 108-103 record in his 21 seasons and is the WIAC's active leader in victories. Matt Walker is wrapping-up his ninth season at the helm of the Falcons football program and has an overall record of 22-67 and has coached 59 athletes to All-WIAC honors.
The Pioneers: UW-Platteville is 41-21 in conference play over the last nine years and will pursue its 10th straight victory against the Falcons on Saturday. UW-River Falls last defeated the Pioneers in overtime, 31-28, during the 2009 season. Overall, the Pioneers have compiled a 53-18 mark over the previous seven seasons, with a pair of NCAA Division III playoff appearances in 2013 and 2016.
Emendorfer's Pioneers are leading the WIAC in scoring offense with 35.9 points per game while averaging 406.1 yards per contest, including 284.0 in the air. Junior Colin Schuetz leads the WIAC in pass efficiency and has completed 192-of-314 (61.1%) attempts for 2,527 yards and 24 touchdowns in nine games. Senior Tyler Knigge (56 receptions for 774 yards) and junior Donald Allender (40 receptions for 719 yards) are Schuetz's primary targets, while Allender is second in the WIAC in scoring with 12 touchdowns. Senior running back Wyatt Thompson has combined 116 carries for 589 of the Pioneers' 1,271 rushing yards and seven touchdowns.
Freshman kicker Andrew Schweigert leads the WIAC in kick scoring, as has gone 39-for-42 on PATs and 6-for-7 on field goal attempts with a 36-yard long.
On defense, senior defensive back Tyler Reinhardt leads the Pioneers with 71 tackles, six tackles for a loss of 24 yards, four pass break-ups, one sack, and is tied for third in the WIAC with three interceptions and one returned for a touchdown. Following Reinhardt is senior linebacker Jordan Zilbar who has chipped away at 50 tackles, five sacks for a loss of 28 yards, three forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries.
UW-Platteville's turnover margin sits second in the nation in NCAA DIII while the Pioneers also lead the WIAC in turnovers gained with nine fumbles and 17 interceptions which ranks them fifth nationally.
The Falcons: UW-River Falls leads the WIAC in total offense and is averaging 26.7 points and 434.4 yards per game with 316.3 yards in the air. Senior quarterback Ben Beckman leads the league in passing yards per game and has completed 223-of-388 attempts (57.5%) for 2,700 yards and 16 touchdowns with 13 interceptions. Beckman will seek out sophomore Alex Traxler (58 receptions for 873 yards) and senior Alex Herink (53 receptions for 822 yards). Sophomore running back Luke Fugate has combined 101 carries for 397 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Falcons.
On defense, senior linebacker Max Praschak leads the WIAC and UW-River Falls with 103 tackles, two pass break-ups, two forced fumbles, one interception, and has three tackles for a loss of 14 yards. Sophomore defensive back Dominique Turner adds 47 tackles, one interception, four pass break-ups, and one forced fumble. Senior lineman Charlie Sanders has a team high 7.5 tackles for loss with five sacks for a loss of 40 yards.
Odds and ends:
- Saturday marks the final games of the 2019 season across the WIAC. No. 3 UW-Whitewater has already secured at minimum a share of the WIAC Championship and will play UW Oshkosh on Saturday to determine if the Warhawks will claim an outright win and automatic bid into the NCAA Playoffs.
- UW-Platteville continues to receive votes in the both the D3football.com and American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) polls after being nationally ranked for five weeks this season. The Pioneers' two losses of the season have fallen to No. 3 ranked UW-Whitewater and UW Oshkosh which are both recognized in the recently released Regional Rankings.
- 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 and was an honorary captain last season at a home game.
- UW-Platteville's next scheduled game is set for Saturday, Sept. 5 when the Pioneers travel back to East Texas Baptist University in Marshall, Texas to open the 2020 season.