The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse football team beat UW-Oshkosh for the first time in seven seasons last week.
Now, the Eagles (5-2, 3-1) face a team they haven’t beaten in 17 years — UW-Whitewater (7-0, 4-0), which is ranked No. 3 in Division III.
COVERAGE of UW-L at UW-W begins at 12:45 p.m. Saturday.
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The UW-L defense, which forced two turnovers in last week’s 31-3 win, after lacking in that category previously, will be relied on heavily Saturday.
“Their game is to run the ball,” UWL coach Mike Schmidt said. “We have to be aggressive and rely on our guys to be there on the back end.”
Offensively, Schmidt added that they won’t be changing up the gameplan just because it’s UW-Whitewater.
“We can’t play Whitewater 17-14,” Schmidt said. “We can’t win that way. We have to push the ball down the field and, obviously, we’ve had some success with that lately.”
Success is putting it mildly.
In his last three games, quarterback Evan Lewandowski has thrown for 1,302 yards and 15 touchdowns — nine of those, trying a DIII record in a 63-49 win over UW-River Falls (1-6, 0-4). Cole Spieker (pictured above) has caught nine of those 15 touchdowns. The senior, the past three games has 29 receptions for 562 yards.
The Eagles have played on a different level than the team that stumbled out of the gate 2-2 — both wins in overtime, including one on a defensive touchdown that made ESPN’s Top 10 that weekend.
Schmidt doesn’t seem surprised.
“That’s the expectation that I have for our guys, and I don’t think we’ve reached the peak,” Schmidt said. “I think we’re a good team, we’re finally playing the way we should be.”
The Eagles need to win out the remainder of the season to keep their playoff hopes alive. Currently, they’re tied with UW-O (5-2, 3-1) and UW-Platteville (6-2, 3-1) for second place in the conference.