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Falcons struggle in loss to UW-Whitewater

UW-River Falls linebacker Max Praschak (35) sacks UW-Whitewater quarterback Cole Wilbur for a loss of two yards in the first quarter of the Falcon football team's 20-7 loss to the Warhawks Saturday, Oct. 21, at David Smith Stadium at Ramer Field. Bob Burrows / RiverTown Multimedia 1 / 2
UW-River Falls cornerback Brandon Powers sacks UW-Whitewater quarterback Cole Wilbur for a loss of 11 yards in the second quarter of the Falcon's 20-7 loss to the Warhawks Saturday, Oct. 21, at David Smith Stadium at Ramer Field. Bob Burrows / RiverTown Multimedia 2 / 2

Despite struggling to move the ball against UW-Whitewater Saturday, Oct. 21, the UW-River Falls football team trailed just 3-0 at halftime and by just six points with one quarter to play but couldn't keep up with the Warhawks in the end of a 20-7 loss at David Smith Stadium at Ramer Field.

Whitewater scored a pair of second half touchdowns to hand the Falcons their third straight loss and drop them to 1-3 in WIAC play (3-4 overall).

UWRF's offense managed just 170 total yards and six first downs while the Falcons punted 10 times and turned the ball over once.

Defensively the Falcons sacked Whitewater quarterback Cole Wilbur six times but the Warhawks dominated time of possession and were able to put up 449 yards in the game, including 218 on the ground.

UWRF's only turnover led to the only points of the first half—a 28-yard field goal by the Warhawks with 1:16 remaining in the second quarter. Quarterback Travon Hearns was picked off near midfield and the Warhawks took five plays to reach the 11-yard line before putting three points on the board.

Whitewater added another field goal midway through the third quarter and after forcing a Falcon three-and-out the Warhawks extended their lead to 13-0 when Wilbur hit Marcus Hudson for a 14-yard touchdown pass. Hudson finished with nine catches for 173 yards and two touchdowns for the Warhawks.

UWRF collected 75 of its 170 total yards on its only scoring drive of the game. Starting at their own 25 late in the third quarter, the sophomore backup quarterback engineered a 7-play drive that was capped by a Michael Diggins 1-yard touchdown run to make it a 13-7 game with 12:29 remaining.

Beckman hit Diggins for a big 47-yard gain early in the drive and completed a pass to Patrick O'Leary for 12 yards before Diggins ran the ball twice from the three to put the Falcons on the board.

Hudson's second touchdown catch of the game, a 0-yard reception with 4:08 remaining, made the final 20-7.

Beckman completed 5-of-15 passes for 77 yards while Hearns was 4-of-13 for 18 yards and an interception. Diggins, who entered the game averaging 136 yards rushing, was held to 58 yards on 19 carries as UWRF ran for just 78 yards in the loss.

Mitch Dienger led the Falcons defense with 16 total tackles, 10 solo while Max Praschak recorded 12 tackles, three tackles for loss and a sack. Rakeem Felder added seven tackles and three sacks and Jared Johnson had a sack while Brandon Powers had a sack and an interception.

Things don't get any easier for the Falcons as they travel to WIAC-leader and third-ranked UW-Oshkosh (6-0, 4-0) this Saturday, Oct. 28.

Bob Burrows
Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.
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