Titans ground Eagles, spoil homecoming

Nate Proell

Oshkosh quarterback Brett Kasper stands tall in the pocket and looks downfield for a receiver Saturday against La Crosse. For the game, Kasper tied a career high with four touchdowns.
[/media-credit] Oshkosh quarterback Brett Kasper stands tall in the pocket and looks downfield for a receiver Saturday against La Crosse. For the game, Kasper tied a career high with four touchdowns.

Despite not having their starting senior running back, Dylan Hecker, in the lineup due to a bruised ankle, the UW Oshkosh Titans managed to remain undefeated as they beat the UW-La Crosse Eagles by a score of 42-28, while putting up 556 yards of total offense.

Although he threw two interceptions, senior quarterback Brett Kasper put up 317 yards passing and tied his career high of four touchdowns. Although he led the Titans to a victory, Kasper said the two interceptions bother him.

“Obviously there was some ups and downs, but the offense showed a lot of promise,” Kasper said. “Getting the ball back with 1:06 left in the first half and then marching the field to tie the game up at half. So from that standpoint it was good to see the offense do that. But again the two interceptions, those can’t happen. Especially in the fashion they did, late in the game, that can’t happen. Credit to the defense though for putting La Crosse in a bad position after the interception.”

Stepping up for the Titans to start in Hecker’s place was sophomore running back Mitch Gerhartz who ran for a personal season high of 172 yards and one touchdown.

Gerhartz said he is not letting his early successes get to his head and is not trying to show anyone up.

“Of course it’s nice when we win, but we try not to think of it in the future,” Gerhartz said. “It’s just one game at a time. There’s all these guys behind you so you’re always battling for a position, but we all get along and we’re all good friends. We don’t really care who is playing, we just care about winning.”

The Titans got off to a slow start after winning the coin toss and electing to receive. Their opening drive went five plays for a mere 16 yards before they were forced to punt. UWO’s defense managed to hold the Eagles to a three-and-out. However, the Titan’s following drive went for one yard in three downs before the team was forced to punt again.

After forcing another Eagles’ punt, the Titans scored their first touchdown of the game. Kasper lead the Titans 53 yards in five plays before connecting to senior wide receiver Chad Redmer for a 28-yard touchdown pass.

[media-credit id=1 align=”alignnone” width=”300″][/media-credit]

With 6:41 remaining in the first quarter, the Titans were up 7-0 on the Eagles.

The following Eagles’ drive resulted in the first turnover of the game as junior linebacker Derrick Jennings Jr. intercepted Eagles quarterback Drew David at the UWL 48-yard line.

Oshkosh was not able to capitalize on the turnover and punted to the Eagles to set them up for their first score of the game to tie it up 7-7 with 1:16 to play in the first quarter.

La Crosse scored on its first drive of the second quarter to go up on the Titans 7-14, the first time UWO has trailed by any amount this season.

However, the deficit did not last long as Gerhartz ran for a 21-yard touchdown in a drive that included a 39-yard completion from Kasper to senior wide receiver Sam Mentkowski.

The Eagles managed to give the Titans their second deficit of the season on the following drive as they went 77 yards in 12 plays to put themselves up 14-21.

La Crosse’s lead did not last long as the Titans tied the score on their following drive after Kasper connected to Redmer again for a four-yard touchdown pass.

As the first half came to an end the score sat at 21 all.

To start the second half, La Crosse scored once again to put itself up a touchdown at 21-28. However, that was the last score the Titans allowed as Kasper led the offense 82 yards in 12 plays as he connected to senior wide receiver Mentkowski for his first score of the game.

With 6:45 to play in the third quarter the score sat at 28 all.

It was not long, however, before Oshkosh got up on the Eagles with another touchdown. After forcing La Crosse to punt, the Titans were set up for a one-play drive that resulted in an 82-yard touchdown pass from Kasper to Mentkowski to make the score 35-28.

The Titans’ following drive resulted in the final score of the game as sophomore running back JP Peerenboom was set up for a 19-yard touchdown rush to bring the score to 42-28 as the third quarter came to an end.

Despite both Kasper and David throwing interceptions in the fourth quarter, neither team was able to capitalize on the opportunities and the rest of the game went scoreless.

Looking ahead to the next opponent, UWO head coach Cerroni said the team will focus on the task at hand against a very tough defensive matchup .

“Another tough team,” Cerroni said. “They’re a really good football team. They have one of the best defenses in the conference. They’ve held teams to 20 points or less on six occasions so if we think we are just going to walk in here and do it, that isn’t how it works. We have to bring it.”

Next up, the Titans are back home at J.J. Keller Field to take on the 1-3 WIAC second-to-last place UW-River Falls Falcons at 1 p.m. Following this contest, the team ends the season against last-place UW-Eau Claire.