Titans blow out ETBU as Jennings picks up first win


Photo: Jaylen Hill / The Advance-Titan — Quarterback Kobe Berghammer completed passes to 10 different receivers for over 250 yards and four touchdowns in UWO’s dominant victory over ETBU.

Jacob Link, Sports Editor

Photo: Kayla Curtis / The Advance-Titan — Deland Smith, one of the Titan team managers, leads the crowd in a cheer.

Head Coach Peter Jennings won his first game with the Titans as the UW Oshkosh football team took down East Texas Baptist University 52-13 Saturday at J.J. Keller Field at Titan Stadium.

With the victory, UWO moved up to No. 17 in the country in this week’s d3football.com Top 25 poll.

Jennings, who was soaking wet from the Gatorade shower he received in the locker room, said he was absolutely floored to get his first win as a Titan.

“These guys are a culmination of commitment, hard work, determination, belief and trust,” he said. “They didn’t have to respond with the coaching change the way they did and I’m so proud and so pleased to be the leader of this team.”

UWO’s first points of the year came just five minutes into the game after a Mitchell Borkovec interception led to a five-yard rushing touchdown from quarterback Kobe Berghammer.

Linebacker Tory Jandrin said the first turnover set the tone for the rest of the game.

“The defense just played so well the entire game which let us rotate at least five deep into certain positions,” he said. “It’s awesome to watch all the young guys flying around and doing the same things that the starters were doing,” he said.

Two drives later, the Titans increased their lead to 14-0 after a 65-yard passing touchdown from Berghammer to Trae Tetzlaff on the first play from scrimmage.

ETBU responded on the following possession, producing a 71-yard drive capped off by a Melek Hamilton rushing touchdown. The ensuing extra-point was blocked by UWO’s Brandon Kolgen, keeping the score at 14-6.

With just under 10 minutes to go in the first half, Berghammer found a wide-open Tony Steger for the 15-yard touchdown to increase the Titan lead to 21-6.

Photo: Kayla Curtis / The Advance-Titan — The Titan Thunder Marching Band made its debut during the Saturday football game.

Oshkosh’s offense continued to be unstoppable when the Titans scored on their third consecutive drive, this time a field goal by Nolan Mobley, to build a comfortable 24-6 lead. Berghammer ran for his second rushing touchdown of the game just before halftime as UWO entered the locker room with a 25-point lead.

The most spectacular play in the game came on the Titans first drive of the third quarter when running back DJ Stewart caught a 68-yard touchdown from Berghammer. Stewart was pushed to the ground behind the line of scrimmage but got back on his feet and a scrambling Berghammer threw up a prayer that found its target en route to the 68-yard score.

Berghammer gave all the credit to Stewart on the amazing play.

“I kind of watched him [Stewart] get hit and then I saw a guy coming after me and I tried to make him miss when I saw DJ [Stewart] run up the sideline,” Berghammer said. “It was a great play by him to get on his feet and continue his route.”

ETBU was knocking on the door on its next possession until freshman Corey White Jr. picked off Tigers quarterback Alek Child at the UWO nine-yard line.

After the interception, Berghammer threw for his fourth touchdown of the game when he found Dan Fynaardt in the end zone for the 10-yard score to increase the Titan lead to 45-6.

Even the second-string Titans had success on Saturday, with back-up quarterback Zach Reader throwing for an eight-yard touchdown to Nate Smith, who led the Titans with 38 rushing yards.

ETBU, who did not take out any of its starters in the blowout loss, scored a touchdown late in the game as the contest finished 52-13.

Jennings said the difference between the two teams was the explosive plays the Titans had.

“I thought we did a good job of maintaining drives and we were extremely explosive on both sides of the ball,” he said.

Jennings also said that forcing the opponent to put the ball down as much as possible on drives is a mindset he loves from defensive coordinator Craig Stenbroten.

“There were a couple of fourth and ones and third and longs that got converted and we kept making them spot the ball again and lo and behold (they) threw picks,” Jennings said. “That’s phenomenal; that just shows the mentality and schematics of our defense.”

Berghammer finished the game 13-24, throwing for 254 yards and four touchdowns with just one interception. Berghammer was also the third leading rusher for the Titans, running for 29 yards and two touchdowns. Stewart led UWO in receiving yards in the game, catching two passes for 71 yards and a touchdown.

Berghammer said that the success of the offense was a testament to all his teammates.

“The O-line were blocking their tails off the whole game and the receivers were making plays so it kind of makes my job easy when they all do that,” he said.

On the defensive side of the ball, Jandrin led the team in tackles with 13 while fellow linebacker Richard James led the Titans in tackles for loss with two. Defensive lineman Jacob Mandella recorded the only sack for UWO in the game.

Jandrin said that although the team missed a few tackles, the defensive pursuit was spectacular.

“Up front our D-line played lights out, especially since we had to go against some big o-lineman,” he said. “Our front line just set the front perfectly on the line of scrimmage and we had our secondary flying around making tackles.”

The biggest story of the game was the penalty yardage margin between the two teams. UWO had eight penalties for 75 yards while ETBU had 11 penalties for 123 yards.

UWO will look to win their second game of the season when they travel to Division II Northern Michigan to take on the Wildcats on Saturday at noon in the Superior Dome.