Beating the devil out of them

Jacob Link, Staff Writer

Courtesy of UWO Athletics
Quarterback Kobe Berghammer is protected by Caleb Noenig and Josh Keskinen as he sets up for a pass.

The UW Oshkosh football team defeated UW-Stout 43-36 at Williams Stadium in Menomonie on Oct. 30.

The Blue Devils opened the scoring with a 33-yard pass from quarterback Sean Borgerding to wide receiver Levy Hammer to take the lead 7-0. UWO would even the score after sophomore quarterback Kobe Berghammer found running back Peter MacCudden for a 21-yard catch and run touchdown. The Titans would take the lead on their next possession as Berghammer threw for another touchdown, this time to tight end Justin Kasuboski, to put Oshkosh up 14-7. Stout would respond when they got the ball back, scoring on a three-yard rush from running back Matt Pomietlo to tie the game at 14.

The Blue Devils would take the lead after halftime after a 17-yard passing touchdown from Borgerding to Hammer. With 2:34 to go in the third quarter, Oshkosh would tie the game with a third Berghammer passing touchdown, this time to wide receiver Trae Tetzlaff. UWO would take the lead in the fourth after running back Mitch Gerhartz found the endzone. Freshman kicker Sam Kiesner’s extra point was no good, putting the Titans up 27-21. This miss proved to be important, as Stout would take the lead 28-27 when Borgerding found Will Knutson in the back of the endzone.

On the next UWO possession, Berghammer rushed for a 28-yard touchdown, and found Kasuboski in the endzone for the two-point conversion. This put the Titans on top 35-28. The Blue Devils would jump in front again, after a 60-yard drive ended in a Borgerding touchdown pass to Arthur Cox and found Cox again for the two-point conversion, putting Stout on top 36-35. The Titans would get the ball back with just 1:12 to go in the game. On a fourth and three on their own 32-yard line with 0:14 left, Berghammer found a wide-open Tony Steger who accelerated past the Stout defense en route to a 68-yard touchdown.

When head coach Pat Cerroni was asked after the game about the play call that led to the touchdown, he said, “It was 4th and 3 [and UWO had no timeouts]. Coach Venne called a play, but they called a timeout. That let us call that play we wanted to run. If they didn’t call that timeout, we wouldn’t have been able to call that play. For whatever reason the [Stout] defensive back followed a shallow route, which left Tony wide open. Great call, great play by Tony and Kobe.”

Berghammer would find Tetzlaff for the two-point conversion, putting the Titans up 43-36. Oshkosh’s Brandon Kolgen would end the game as he sacked Borgerding as time expired.

Cerroni said several things went right for his team to win. “ I’ve been around 21 years, and the league is really good,” he said. “So many of these teams could beat the teams going to the [NCAA DIII Football] playoffs. I’m really proud we played until the end, and we finally played a complete four-quarter game.” Cerroni also added that the key to the game was “wanting it more than them.”

When Cerroni talked about the play of his defense in the game, he said, “The offense we played has been around together for 3 years. There ain’t much you can do if you get beat down the field in coverage [defensively], but I’m not disappointed with the effort.”

Kicker Jaydon Haag was benched from field goal and extra point duties after he missed another field goal in the game. Haag, who is now 0-5 in field goals this year, was replaced by freshman Sam Kiesner. After the game Kiesner said, “It was awesome to be able to score my first points as a Titan, but credit goes to the team for the win.”

Cerroni was asked about why the change in kicking duties occurred. “It’s all about performance. We haven’t made a field goal all year. A change had to be made,” he said.

The Titans improved to 5-2 (3-2 in Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play) and moved up to No. 20 in the top 25 poll. UWO won its 11th straight against Stout and has not lost against the Blue Devils since 2010. Oshkosh had to come from behind four times in the game after having not trailed against UW-Stout since 2012. Stout had its first home loss of the season as they fell to 5-3 (2-3 WIAC). The Titans rushed for 381 yards, which is the most for the program since 2016.

The Titans will host UW-Stevens Point (2-6) (0-5 WIAC) on Saturday at J.J. Keller Field at Titan Stadium.
“They look good. It’s another huge challenge for us. We’re ready to go to work and start over,” said Cerroni about UWSP. Saturday’s 1 p.m. game will be Hall of Fame Day, as well as Kids Day at the stadium.