Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

UWO moves to 2-0 after victory

[/media-credit] Brett Kasper looks to complete a pass in the first half of the 74-7 blowout victory over the Virginia Lynchburg Dragons.

“The UW Oshkosh Titans are off to a 2-0 start for the second season in a row after defeating the Virginia University of Lynchburg Dragons by a score of 74-7 in the Titans’ home opener Sept. 9 at J.J. Keller Field.

The Titans took the victory, having earned 28 first downs, 9 of 11 third-down conversions and a total of 498 offensive yards.

On the other side of the ball, the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference first-ranked Titans’ defense held the Dragons to 10 first downs, 2 of 11 third-down conversions and a mere 194 total yards of offense.

Starting quarterback Brett Kasper had three passing touchdowns and one rushing as he finished the day at the end of the first half, completing 14 of 16 passes for a total of 205 yards.

After helping lead the Titans to their first ever Stagg Bowl last season, Kasper said that he realizes the expectations are high. However, two games into his senior season, Kasper said he feels very confident with how the team is coming together.

“Week one was a good test against John Carroll [and] they’re a good team,” Kasper said. “In week one, the biggest thing is to come out with a win and we did so that’s a big thing. Last week we knew we would be a little better team than that team [Dragons], so we just really wanted to put some things on film and get some young guys reps too.”

In the season opener, the Titans defeated ninth-ranked John Carroll University 23-17 after last playing them in the semifinals of last season’s playoffs, which resulted in a UWO victory to earn their trip to the Stagg Bowl.


First Quarter

To open the game against the Dragons, the Titans won the coin toss and elected to receive.

The result of the Titans opening drive was a fumble from UWO senior running back Dylan Hecker on the Dragons’ 37-yard line. However, it was not long before the Titans forced the Dragons to punt on the UWO 40-yard line.

UWO received the punt on its own 14-yard line and began its first scoring drive of the game. Taking the ball 86 yards in nine plays, the Titans got on the board via a 41-yard touchdown pass from Kasper to senior wide receiver Sam Mentkowski.

An extra point from senior kicker Greg Rand was good and the Titans were up 7-0 with 6:37 to play in the first quarter.

After a 48-yard kickoff from junior kicker Eli Wettstein, the Dragons started their second drive of the game from their own 33-yard line. They were then able to take the ball 42 yards before Titans junior linebacker Derrick Jennings intercepted the ball on the UWO 28 with 1:20 remaining in the first quarter.


Second Quarter

The Titans were able to capitalize on the turnover and take the ball 72 yards on five plays as Kasper threw for his second touchdown of the game via a four-yard completion to sophomore wide receiver Riley Kallas. After the made extra point from Rand, the Titans were up 14-0 to start the second quarter.

UWO’s defense was able to hold the Dragons to a quick three-and-out. The Titans then quickly scored their third touchdown of the game after going 30 yards in two plays as Kasper hit senior wide receiver Chad Redmer for 28 yards. A failed kick attempt by Rand put the Titans at 20-0 with 13:14 to play in the first half.

A turnover on downs on the Dragons’ following drive gave the Titans the ball at the VUL 44 where they took the ball to the end zone after a one-yard rush from freshman running back J.P. Peerenboom.

On the following possession, UWO was able to force yet another three-and-out from the Dragons, leading to a punt. After a 32-yard punt, junior wide receiver Dom Todarello returned the ball 61 yards to score yet another Titan touchdown. The score was 34-0 with 5:09 to play in the first half.

Junior kicker Turner Geisthardt had a 65-yard kickoff that resulted in a touchback for the Dragons. However, the Dragons were able to get a mere seven yards in two plays before Titans senior defensive back Rajon Hall intercepted the ball on the UWO 30-yard line.

After the Hall interception, it took the Titans six plays to go the 80 yards needed to score on an 18-yard rush from Kasper. After a successful Geisthardt kick attempt, Oshkosh was up 41-0 with 2:08 to play in the first half.

The Dragons’ last drive of the half took 1:28 before being forced into a turnover on downs. The Titans ran one play to run down the clock and go into the locker room for halftime.


Third Quarter

The majority of the Titans starters were out for the remainder of the game as the second half started with the Dragons being forced to punt. Senior quarterback Jayden Essman was in to start the second half for the Titans.

Essman’s first drive of the game was successful after being able to take the ball 74 yards to allow for a one-yard touchdown rush from senior running back Beau Ash to help put the Titans up 48-0.

Of the remaining five drives the Titans had in the game, they managed to score touchdowns on four of them and were forced to punt on their last drive. Essman finished the game 5-5 with one touchdown and 24 yards.


Game Stats

For the game, UWO was led by Kasper, who earned Athlete of the Week honors by going 14 of 16 passing for 205 yards and three touchdowns, including a long of 54 yards. Peerenboom led the team in rushing, earning 100 yards and one touchdown on just 14 carries and having a long run of 27 yards.

Other offensive contributions came from junior running back Chad Walton, who rushed for a touchdown and 64 yards on nine carries, and Mentkowski, who had 72 yards on four receptions, including one touchdown.

The team had nine different players score touchdowns for Oshkosh, and the team forced a safety late in the game.

Defensively, the Titans were led by senior linebacker Jon Kallas, who had four solo tackles and two assisted tackles. Other leaders included junior defensive backs Taylor Ripplinger and Chris Bednarski, who had five total tackles apiece.

As a team, the defense had eight tackles for a combined loss of 34 yards in the contest. The team also forced two interceptions and two fumbles, as well as four pass breakups.


Looking Ahead

The Titans have two weeks off before beginning WIAC play as they take on the 0-2 UW-Whitewater Warhawks at home on Sept. 30.

Despite the slow start, the Warhawks seem to be having, Hall said the Titans know to not take any opponent lightly. Considering the Titans have two weeks off before playing another game, Hall said the Titans need to stay focused and prepared.

“We got to make sure our team is going to be ready,” Hall said. “We’ve got these two week byes, and we got just a long time that we only get the chance to practice. We have to make sure we’re working out and make sure the young guys are staying on top of their game.”

Titans head coach Pat Cerroni said he is pleased with the way the team is performing thus far and the 2-0 start is a great example of what the team is capable of this season.

“The team is doing a great job, we’re 2-0.” Cerroni said. “Obviously this is a tough week because we don’t have anything. I think once the 23rd is over we will be focused back in. This is like a second camp, which is how we look at it.”

The Titans take on the Warhawks at 1 p.m. on Sept. 30 at J.J. Keller Field.

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