UWO points up after victory

Nate Proell

[/media-credit] UWO sophomore running back Mitch Gerhartz runs through a Pioneer tackle during Saturday’s game. For the game, Gerhartz had nine carries for 54 yards, including a long of 13.

The UW Oshkosh football team continues its undefeated season after defeating fellow top-10 opponent UW-Platteville Saturday by a score of 28-14. The Titans now sit alone at first in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference with a record of 5-0 and remain third in the D3football.com rankings.

Senior quarterback Brett Kasper threw for one touchdown and 196 yards while senior running back Dylan Hecker took control on the ground with three touchdowns and 165 yards on 30 carries.

With the Pioneers being ranked 10th in the country, Kasper said this victory for the Titans was something that needed to be earned on all sides of the ball, which is what the team did to come away victorious.

“Platteville is a good team, obviously ranked in the top 10, and any time you’re playing a ranked opponent, it’s gonna be a tough game, and it was,” Kasper said. “Their defense is very good. They played the run-pass very well. But we were able to score on the first drive and get off to an early lead.”

The Titans, who have yet to trail by any amount so far this season, took control of the Pioneers early after winning the coin toss and electing to defer to Platteville.

After forcing a punt and starting on their own 13, the Titans went 85 yards in 14 plays before a Hecker rush from the UWP 2-yard-line put the Titans on the board. After the extra point, UWO took the early lead, 7-0.

The first quarter came to an end as the Titans forced a turnover on downs to take over with 30 seconds to play.

The Titans’ drive carried into the second quarter and resulted in Kasper’s first turnover this season as he fumbled on a sack on the UWO 24.

However, the WIAC’s fourth-ranked UWO defense was able to force a turnover on downs for UWP and the Titans took over on their own 30.

Despite stopping a Pioneers score, the following drive for UWO did not last long before UWP got the ball back on a Kasper interception that was returned 47-yards for a touchdown.

With 9:55 to play in the first half the score was tied 7-7.

Leading Oshkosh receivers with 70 yards on four receptions, senior wide receiver Sam Mentkowski said the offense goes into every game with the idea of sticking to its job. He said when everyone sticks to their one job is when the team works best together.

“We keep getting better every week, and I think we are happy with where we are at right now,” Mentkowski said. “However, there is always room to improve. Offensively our motto is to just worry about us. We don’t worry about teams we are playing, we just want to execute every single play, complete every pass we throw, block well on every run we have and just have 100 percent execution.”

Although the game’s momentum seemed to shift to the Pioneers, the Titans were quick to answer as they went 30 yards in two plays before a 31-yard touchdown rush from Hecker put the Titans back on top, 14-7.

The rest of the first half was scoreless for both teams, but Titans’ junior defensive back Cole Yoder and senior linebacker John Kallas both had interceptions that went uncapitalized on.

Kallas said in order to beat a team like Platteville, who has proven it can score points when needed, UWO needed to be fully prepared and stick to their game plan. Kallas said he feels that is what the team did and it proved successful.

“Every game we feel like it’s all about us, we think if we execute what we have planned every week, we will come out with the win, and this week we did that,” Kallas said. “We changed up our defense a little bit, and we were able to get a couple hands on some balls. We really disrupted their pass game which really helped us out a lot.”

Starting on their own 45, UWO went 55 yards as Hecker rushed for his third touchdown of the game.

UWP managed to score again, but Kasper threw his first touchdown to junior wide receiver Dom Todarello to put UWO up 28-14, which was the final score.

The Titans continue their season at La Crosse on Saturday.