*Press release from the UW-Stevens Point athletic department*
The UW-Stevens Point football team jumped out to an early 21-0 lead and
held survived a late fightback by Dubuque to hold on for a 31-28 win
over the Spartans on Saturday at Community Stadium at Goerke Park.
The Pointers (2-0) held a 31-14 lead with 13:01 to play following a Jesse Vervelde 33-yard field goal. However, the Spartans scored two touchdowns in the next ten minutes to get within three. Dubuque (1-2) then attempted an onside kick but UWSP gained possession after an illegal touching penalty on the Spartans. The Pointers then succeeded in running out the clock thanks to a fourth down conversion on a run by Mitch Beau.
Early on, UW-Stevens Point was in command after scoring three touchdowns in the first ten-plus minutes of the game. After a Zach Vallafskey interception on Dubuque's opening drive set the Pointers up at the Spartans 35 yard line, Beau connected with Matt Sosinsky for a 13-yard touchdown with 10:42 left in the first quarter.
Just 1:26 later, UWSP doubled their lead on a defensive touchdown by Jon Pahl. Pahl sacked and wrestled the ball away from Dubuque quarterback Bryan Bradshaw and took the ball 18 yards for the score at the 9:16.
Beau hooked up with Andre Bodden for an eight-yard touchdown to make it 21-0 at the 4:44 mark of the opening quarter. The touchdown came on a quick slant and capped a five-play, 49 yard drive after a Spartans punt set the Pointers up with good field position.
After trailing 21-0, Dubuque hung around in the game after two second quarter touchdown passes from Bradshaw to Tyler Rutenbeck. The pair connected for touchdowns of eight and 16 yards. The first touchdown was set up by Sosinsky fumbled punt. Rutenbeck also scored one of the late touchdowns for the Spartans and finished the game with seven catches for 71 yards and the three touchdowns.
Ahead 21-14, UWSP then stretched the lead to 17 at 31-14 after an Adam Vesterfelt one-yard touchdown and Vervelde's field goal. That set the stage for another Dubuque comeback but the Pointers held on to move to 2-0 for the first time since 2008.
Beau was 25-for-39 through the air for 221 yards and threw two touchdowns and one interception. Sosinsky led UWSP with five catches for 62 yards and one score.
Bradshaw threw for 244 yards on 22-for-41 passing. He threw four touchdowns but also was picked off three times by the UWSP defense. In addition to Vallafskey's early interception, Cody Seibel and Mike Longmeyer had interceptions. Longmeyer's interception was his second in two games and came in the end zone.
UW-Stevens Point outrushed Dubuque 197-21 for the game. The Spartans 21 yards came on 21 rushes. Beau led the Pointers with 57 yards on the ground. The UWSP backfield of Vesterfelt and Ian Neville combined for 102 yards on the ground.
UW-Stevens Point outgained Dubuque 418-265 in total offense. The Pointers turned the ball over three times on one interception and two fumbles, while the Spartans fumbled once in addition to Bradshaw's three interceptions.
Vallafskey, Cody Seibel, and Bennet Wenzel each had seven total tackles for UW-Stevens Point's defense. Seibel had a sack to add to his interception. Baline Snitker had 11 tackes for Dubuque, while Vincent Whipple had 10 and two pass break-ups.
The Pointers travel to Naperville, IL for a match-up with No. 6 North Central College (2-0) on Saturday at 1 pm. The Cardinals have defeated UW-La Crosse (41-24) and UW-Stout (41-14).