Titans pour it on late over Pioneers in first home game


Lydia Sanchez

UWO senior running back Mitch Gerhartz stiff arms Pioneer defender on his path to 75 total yards Saturday.

The UW Oshkosh football team faced UW-Platteville in a Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference matchup Saturday in which the Titans prevailed with a 31-10 victory over the Pioneers.

The Titans used a 21-point fourth quarter to put the Pioneers away, extending their record to 4-2 on the year and 2-1 in conference play.

The UWO defense was able to hold UW-Platteville to only 10 total points despite the Pioneers dominating time of possession 33:22 to 26:38. The Pioneers also accumulated more first downs than the Titans (22-19).

The Titans offense tallied 332 yards of total offense Saturday, led by wide receiver Dominic Todarello’s 146 yards of total offense (71 rushing, 75 receiving).

1st Quarter

The first drive for both the Titans and the Pioneers stalled, resulting in punts. The Titans began their second drive from their own 10-yard line. Titans quarterback Kyle Radavich led the Titans on a 19-play, 8:05-second drive into the wind that ended with a Radavich 3-yard pass to UWO linebacker Justin Kasuboski, putting the Titans ahead 7-0.

The Pioneers started their ensuing drive at their own 23-yard line with 2:19 remaining in the first quarter. The Pioneers carried the drive over into the second quarter.

2nd Quarter

The Pioneers continued their drive successfully into Titan territory. On the ninth play of the Pioneers drive, UW-Platteville quarterback Colin Schuetz dropped back to pass when the ball was tipped and intercepted by Titan defensive back Calvin Shilling, who said the ball was gifted to him.

“I saw the ball pop, and I grabbed it,” Shilling said. “That was just me being in the right spot.”

The Titans took over at their own 37-yard line after the interception. The UWO offense was able to get the ball down to the UW-Platteville 26-yard line before the drive stalled, forcing a UWO 43-yard field goal attempt from Peyton Peterson that went short of the uprights.

After a stalled drive by the Titans, UWO punter Turner Geisthardt pinned the Pioneers on their own 5-yard line. The Titan defense was able to push the Pioneers back to their own 1-yard line, forcing UW-Platteville to punt from the back of the endzone.

Todarello was sent back to return the Pioneers’ punt and took the ball back 30 yards to the Pioneers’ 17-yard line. The Titans, in great field position, were able to move the ball forward six yards for Peterson to attempt a 28-yard redemption field goal, drilling it through the uprights, putting UWO ahead 10-0 shortly before half.

3rd Quarter

Coming out of halftime, the Pioneers received the ball and began their drive at their own 33-yard line. With the wind at their back, the Pioneers drove the ball 60 yards, on 14 plays to the Titans 7-yard line where UW-Platteville kicker Samuel Herkert attempted a field goal that went wide-right.

The Titans were only able to gain a total of 40 yards in the third quarter.

The Pioneers took their third possession of the third quarter at the 3:41 mark from their own 47-yard line. The Pioneers drove the ball down the field into the fourth quarter.

4th Quarter

Play resumed with the ball in UW-Platteville possession at the UWO 18-yard line. The Pioneers were able to get the ball to the Titans 3-yard line before being halted by the Titan defense. UW-Platteville attempted another field goal and this time Herkert booted it directly through the uprights to put the Pioneers within one possession, 10-3. 12:43 remained in the game.

On the ensuing Titan possession with the wind now at their backs, the second play of the drive, Todarello took an end-around 54 yards to the house putting the Titans ahead 17-3.

UWO kicked back to the Pioneers who took over at their own 25-yard line. On the third play of the UW-Platteville drive, Titans defensive lineman Brandon Kolgen forced a fumble, which was picked up by Titans safety Taylor Ripplinger and returned 34 yards for a touchdown, resulting in a score of 24-3 Titans.

Ripplinger said everything dropped perfectly in place as a defense for him to recover the fumble and score a touchdown.

“The running back came up the hole, our defensive lineman Kolgen stripped the ball,” Ripplinger said. “I was in the right place at the right time. Ball bounced up, I picked it up and saw some space.”

The Titan defense stopped the Pioneers on their next drive, forcing them to punt back to the rolling Titans offense.

The UWO offense started their second drive in the fourth quarter at their own 25-yard line. In seven plays and 75 yards, the Titans were able to score again. This time Titan running back Mitch Gerhartz ran one in from two yards out and put the Titans ahead 31-3 with 5:05 left in the game.

The Pioneers were able to score one more time at the end of the fourth quarter to make the score 31-10.

The Titans defense held its own once again forcing three turnovers and scoring one touchdown Saturday after letting up 20 points the week prior against UW-Whitewater.
Ripplinger said the defense was ready for redemption against the Pioneers.

“We bounced back well,” Ripplinger said. “We learned that we have to let the plays happen in front of us. As long as we limit the big plays, this defense is going to be tough to score on.”

Titan head coach Pat Cerroni said he was pleased with his team and planned for the game to be close going into the fourth.

“We were thinking this was going to be a close game, and at least we’re going to have the wind in the fourth quarter, and it was going to come down to a field goal,” Cerroni said.

Cerroni said the team was happy when two of the team’s seniors were able to make big plays early in the fourth to extend the Titans’ lead.

“Sure was nice; we all loved it,” Cerroni said. “It was great, it was a big win for us. [UW-Platteville is] always on the cusp of making the playoffs. Great battle, and we won.”

The Titans are back at home this week versus a tough UW-La Crosse team. Shilling said the Eagles are going to present a challenge, but the Titans will be ready.

“They have a bunch of good athletes,” Shilling said. “They’ve played hard all season. We’ve got to practice hard this week, put in a good game plan and go execute.”

UWO will play UW-La Crosse for the Titans homecoming game at J. J. Keller Field at Titan Stadium this Saturday, Oct. 20. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.