WATCH LIVE: UW-La Crosse looks to snap 19-game losing streak against UW-Whitewater on Saturday afternoon
The 2023 version of the UW-La Crosse football team looks to do something Saturday that previous teams haven’t been able to do since October 2004 — beat arch-rival UW-Whitewater.
Since the streak began in 2015, No. 3 UW-W (4-0, 1-0) has had unprecedented success, including 14 conference championships and six national championships.
UW-L’s last four losses to the Warhawks have all been by one possession, including last year’s 34-31 defeat at Roger Harring Stadium.
UW-L coach Matt Janus, whose team is ranked 14th, said he can tell the level of focus in his athletes and staff as Saturday approaches.
“They’re locked in as they always are with this week,” Janus said. “They understand what’s on the line, especially in the midway point of the season. We’re going to have a really good game again with these guys.”
The Eagles (3-1, 1-0) survived a shootout in their WIAC opener last week, beating UW-Stout 45-40.
Quarterback Keyser Helterbrand accounted for six touchdowns, including four in the air and two on the ground. Receiver Jack Studer caught three of those and amassed 170 yards.
Studer leads UW-L in all receiving categories including receptions (19) yards (469) and touchdowns (6).
Janus said the connection between Helterbrand and Studer goes back to work done in the offseason.
“Keyser and Jack have been here all summer,” Janus said. “Throwing together, lifting together, living together. So the bond that those two have is really special and that helps.”
The Eagles defense will be without a key cog in the lineup, as senior linebacker Ryan Daines suffered an arm injury last week and is out.
Janus said younger players will have to step up to take on UW-W running back Tamir Thomas, whose vision makes him a problem according to Janus.
“There’s not a lot of guys that can take an outside zone run to the left, cut it back all the way to the right and take it for a 70 yard touchdown,” Janus said. “There aren’t many people who can do that at any level.”