Titans put down Pioneers

Jacob Link, Staff Writer

Courtesy of Andrew McNeill
UWO Titan Nick Noeth secures a tackle against the Pioneers; with a Titan win of 35 to 32, bumping Theyre sporting a 3-0 win loss.

The UW Oshkosh football team narrowly beat UW-Platteville 35-32 in what turned out to be a close contest in their conference season opener Oct. 2.

The Titans opened the scoring in their Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference opener by scoring 1:06 into the game. Sophomore running back Peter MacCudden scored his first rushing touchdown of the season on a 29-yard run to put the Titans up 7-0.

After a three and out by the Pioneers, it took the Titans just one play to score again. Sophomore quarterback Kobe Berghammer broke out a 55-yard run and stiff-armed a defender en route to the endzone. Berghammer’s second rushing touchdown of the season put the Titans up 14-0 early in the first quarter.

The Pioneers drove down the field on their next possession, but the Titans stopped them three straight times at the five-yard line to force a Pioneer field goal. The Pioneer field goal put the game at 14-3 Titans.

UWO responded with a long drive of their own, resulting in a four-yard passing touchdown from Berghammer to MacCudden, who was left unmarked in the corner of the endzone. This put the Titans up 21-3. It also marked MacCudden’s third career two-touchdown game and his first of the season. After the game, UWO Head Coach Pat Cerroni said, “We punched ‘em in the mouth in the first quarter, but they got back up again.”

Platteville once again responded with a touchdown of its own, a 22-yard passing touchdown from Senior quarterback Colin Schuetz to Lucas Petersen, making the game 21-10. With 9:38 to go in the second quarter, the Pioneers scored again, this time a one-yard Tyler Lamer run to put the score at 21-17 Titans. This touchdown was set up by a Berghammer fumble at the Titan’s own 15-yard line. It was Berghammer’s second fumble of the season and the only turnover in the game for either team.

The Titans rebounded with a touchdown, this time a 40-yard Berghammer passing touchdown to sophomore wide receiver Tony Steger. This extended the Titan’s lead to 28-17. Just before halftime, the Pioneers attempted a 41-yard field goal, but it was wide-right and no good. This missed opportunity by Platteville came back to haunt them at the end of the game when they needed three points to tie. The Titans outgained the Pioneers 283-213, and there were six combined touchdowns in the half with only one punt by either team.

After halftime, Berghammer had a two-yard rushing touchdown that put the Titans up 35-17. The Titans would not score for the rest of the game.

It only took one play for the Pioneer to cut the deficit back to 11 after a 74-yard passing touchdown by Collin Schuetz to wide receiver Brandt Stare. Both teams exchanged punts during the next five possessions until the Pioneers scored another touchdown. Schuetz had another touchdown pass, this time to Austin Guy on a 10-yard strike.

Platteville decided to go for the two-point conversion, which was successful on another pass to Guy from Schuetz, this time a two-yard pass. This put the game at 35-32 Titans with 3:17 to go in the fourth quarter. The Titans were forced to punt on the next possession, giving the Pioneers a chance to tie or take the lead, but the Titans defense came on strong. They stopped Platteville on fourth down, leading the Titans to run out the clock and end the game.

“We finished the game strong again,” said Cerroni. “You gotta finish. All three games we finished strong.”
After the game, Cerroni was asked what changed after the Titans’ strong first quarter. “Everybody had an entire year to study weaknesses,” he said. “You gotta give them a lotta credit. We do a lot of unique things and have a lot of time to study other teams. Their offense began to exploit our weakness.”

Cerroni added they were in 10 different formations they never had been in before. “We had people in the right spots, sometimes we just didn’t execute. But the defense made its stops when it needed to,” he said.
Berghammer finished the game 15-22 with 216 yards passing and throwing two touchdowns. He also had 9 rushing attempts for 83 yards and a score. Berghammer now has 19 passing touchdowns and 11 rushing touchdowns in 14 collegiate games.

Peter MacCudden was the leading rusher for the Titans with 13 attempts for 96 yards and one touchdown. He also had two receptions for 18 yards and a touchdown.

The leading receiver for UWO was Tony Steger with four receptions for 87 yards and a touchdown.
Preseason All-American kicker Jaydon Haag missed another field goal this week, which brings him to 0-3 on the year, but he is 13-13 on extra points.

Defensive backs Kyle Scharenbroch and Carson Raddatz had career highs of 12 and nine tackles, respectively. Defensive linemen Brandon Kolgen and Jhe’veon St. Julien both recorded sacks for the Titans.

“After two bye weeks you are always worried about momentum, but we continued our momentum from our wins,” Cerroni said after the win. “We were humbled after the first win, were extremely confident after the second win, and are humbled again after the third win.”

Platteville quarterback Colin Schuetz went 33-50 for 345 yards and three touchdowns. In his four years as the starting quarterback for Platteville, he has never beaten the Titans. The Titans won their seventh straight game against the Pioneers and have won 11 WIAC straight conference openers. UWO has not lost at Ralph E. Davis Pioneer Stadium since 2003. The Titans improved to 3-0 and 1-0 in conference play, while Platteville fell to 1-3 and 0-1 in WIAC play.

After the game, UWO dropped to ninth in the d3football.com top 25 rankings.

The Titans next play UW-La Crosse 2 p.m. Saturday at Veterans Memorial Stadium in La Crosse. The Eagles are 3-1 with wins over Dakota State (S.D.), Dubuque (IA) and River Falls, and have a loss to Grand Valley State (MI). Last week, La Crosse won at River Falls 45-23.

“La Crosse is a very good football team, better than Platteville,” Cerroni said. “Last time we played them they kicked our tails 31-3. They must feel very good. We have a dogfight ahead of us.”