UWO defeats Division II Lincoln University

Defense, special teams lead the way for the Titans, bounce back from week 2 loss.


Mark Wilson

UW Oshkosh junior running back Mitch Gerhartz fights off Blue Tiger tackler on 1 of his 17 carries.

The UW Oshkosh football team bounced back this week versus Lincoln University in Jefferson, Missouri. The Titans controlled the game from start to finish defeating the Blue Tigers 17-7.

Saturday’s victory over Lincoln was Oshkosh’s first win over a Division II opponent since 2004 when the Titans beat Upper Iowa University 33-21.

On the opening drive of the game, Oshkosh methodically drove the ball down the field on 14 plays, 85 yards taking 7:02 off the clock capped off with 1-yard touchdown run by UWO quarterback Kyle Radavich to put the Titans ahead 7-0. This was Radavich’s first career touchdown.

Lincoln University’s offense was only on the field for six plays in the first quarter and gained a total of four yards against the stout Titan defense.

Despite being down four starters, coach Patrick Cerroni was impressed by how his defense was able to hold up against the Blue Tigers’ defense.

“You never know how it’s going to work out,” Cerroni said. “Our young guys played and played extremely well. Obviously they made some mistakes, but overall our success was great. We found out we have some young players that can play at a very high level.”

The Blue Tigers were able to get on the board in the second quarter. Lincoln University quarterback Henry Ogala marched the Blue Tigers 91 yards on 17 plays where Blue Tiger running back Terry Hunter punched in a 2-yard run to even the score 7-7.

The Titans’ defense and special teams were able to hold the Blue Tigers in a stalemate throughout the remainder of the second and third periods. UWO punter Turner Geisthardt was able to pin Lincoln deep in their own territory all game, averaging 48.6 yards on six punts. The Titans’ defensive special teams blocked both Blue Tiger field goal attempts in the second and third quarters.

Cerroni said he was pleased with how his special teams were able to influence the game.

“Special teams were a good A-,” Cerroni said. “Punter had great day, kicked the ball many times. Kickoff team was awesome, and return teams took care of the ball.”

At the turn of the fourth quarter, the Titans found themselves on their own 34-yard line. On second down, Radavich passed the ball to wide receiver Riley Kallas who scampered for 61 yards taking the ball to the Blue Tiger 5-yard line. The next play, Radavich found Mitchell Gerend in the end zone, putting the Titans up 14-7 with 13:53 remaining in the game.

UWO’s defense stood their ground, forcing a punt on the ensuing Blue Tiger drive. Oshkosh gained possession at their own 36-yard line and drove the ball 47 yards to the Lincoln 17-yard mark. UWO kicker Peyton Peterson knocked home a 34-yard field goal in the final points of the game to put the Titans up 17-7 with 5:35 left.

Although the Titans were down four defensive starters, safety Taylor Ripplinger said the success of the defense and team comes from the practice plan.

“The coaches do a good job,” Ripplinger said. “Everyone gets the same amount of reps. You prepare as a starter. When your number gets called, you’ve had the practice throughout the week to know exactly what you need to do out there.”

Ripplinger said he was happy with how his defense played and how the offense has come along this year.

“We know how talented they are,” Ripplinger said. “We go against them every day in practice. What we see out there is incredible. It’s amazing to see [the offense] in practice is now turning over into games now.”

Radavich was able to score his first two career touchdowns after being held without a touchdown in the first two games. Radavich said Saturday’s success came from coaching game plans and experience.

“We’re getting more comfortable,” Radavich said. “The coaches have been putting in great game plans. Every week we’re gaining more and more chemistry.”

Cerroni said he saw big strides by his quarterback and offense as well.

“After a few games, you’re going to get tougher,” Cerroni said. “What I see is guys getting open, guys catching the ball. Kyle’s relaxed a little bit, more comfort, putting the ball on the spot.”

Radavich was 14-19 passing with 156 yards and two touchdowns, Kallas led the team in receiving yards with 99 yards and six receptions and running back Mitch Gerhartz had a team high 56-yards rushing on 17 carries.

The Titans are on a bye this week. UWO will play versus UW-River Falls next Saturday, Sept. 29 at David Smith Stadium in River Falls, Wisconsin.