Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Titans fall to Wheaton 30-21 in nationally-ranked matchup

Morgan Feltz / Advance-Titan — UWO wide reciever Tony Steger catches a touchdown pass from quarterback Kobe Berghammer against Texas Lutheran University Sept. 2 at Titan Stadium.

In a matchup between two nationally ranked teams, the UW Oshkosh football team fell on the road to Wheaton College (Illinois) 30-21 Sept. 9 at McCully Stadium in the first-ever meeting between the two schools.

After coming within two points of the Thunder by the end of the third quarter, the Titans were outscored 13-6 in the final 12 minutes of the contest to pick up their first loss of the season.

The Titans (1-1), ranked No. 19 in the nation by, allowed 254 passing yards and 195 rushing yards, giving No. 13 Wheaton (1-0) 449 yards of total offense in the game.

UWO defensive back Chris Doherty said that he felt that everyone on the team gave their best effort on the field in the loss.

“I think we just need to be a little bit more on top of our assignments, be able to execute the things we want to execute and go on with the mentality that we’re going to kick someone’s ass every play,” Doherty said.

Wheaton, who had the ball 13 minutes longer than the Titans in the contest, was led by running backs Giovanni Weeks and Cristian Carstens, who combined to rush for 200 yards and three touchdowns. Wheaton quarterback Ben Thorson went 22-29 in the contest, finishing with 254 passing yards and no touchdowns. Ben Bonga was Wheaton’s leading receiver, catching nine passes for 106 yards.

UWO quarterback Kobe Berghammer finished the game 15-28 with 188 passing yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions to go along with 55 rushing yards. Transfer running back Kaio Harn, who joined the team three days before the game after transferring from UW-Whitewater, was UWO’s leading rusher, carrying the ball eight times for 63 yards.

Oshkosh wide receiver Londyn Little had a team-high 86 receiving yards on two catches, while senior wideout Tony Steger was limited to three catches for 16 yards after finishing the first game of the season with 139 yards and three touchdowns.

UWO’s defense finished with 87 total tackles, three tackles for loss and two sacks. The Titans were led by senior Carson Raddatz, who had a game-high 14 tackles. Linebackers Bryce Hinn and Bryce Edwards each recorded sacks for Oshkosh.

Doherty said he thought the defense put their best foot forward and liked the effort the unit put in, but thinks there’s still plenty of room for improvement.

“I mean we definitely have some things we need to clean up logistically, just to get people in better positions to make plays this coming week,” he said. “As a team, we’re definitely a good unit and we always have each other’s backs regardless of a win or loss and this is only going to make us stronger going forward throughout the season.”

Wheaton’s defense finished the game with 53 total tackles, two tackles for loss, a sack from Christian Bonacquisti and a forced fumble from Andrew Partyka. Wheaton was led by defensive back Max Wilson, who picked off Berghammer twice and finished the game with three tackles.

After forcing a three-and-out on Wheaton’s opening drive, the Titans marched down the field in seven plays and Berghammer found wide receiver Trae Tetzlaff for a 15-yard passing touchdown to kick off the scoring. Kicker Nolan Mobley missed the ensuing extra point, giving the Titans a 6-0 lead early in the first quarter.

Wheaton responded with a touchdown on its next possession, capping off the 63-yard drive with a 1-yard rushing touchdown from Thorson and giving the Thunder a 7-6 lead after a successful extra point with seven minutes to go in the opening quarter.

It took the Titans just three minutes to regain the lead when UWO went 70 yards in nine plays, setting up a successful 22-yard field goal from Mobley and giving Oshkosh a 9-7 advantage.

Early in the second quarter, Wheaton took the lead for good when Carstens scored on a 5-yard run up the middle, finishing a drive that took over five minutes and increasing the Thunder lead to 14-9.

On their next possession, Wheaton drove down the field in eight plays but kicker Mateo Jesch missed a 38-yard field goal. Four plays later, the Thunder found themselves with the ball once again after Berghammer was picked off by Wilson at the Titans 40-yard line. Wheaton took advantage of the turnover, adding a 26-yard field goal from Jesch with two minutes left in the first half.

On the first possession after halftime, Berghammer and the Titans went 79 yards in 10 plays, pulling to within two points after Berghammer found a wide-open Clayton Schwalbe in the endzone for a 15-yard passing touchdown.

After a few scoreless drives from both teams, Wheaton extended its lead to 23-15 when Carstens ran up the middle for a 2-yard rushing touchdown. Jesch missed the extra point, but Wheaton still led by eight points with just under 12 minutes remaining in the game.

The Titans responded with a touchdown four plays later after running back Doug Burson found an open hole and rushed for a 13-yard score. UWO attempted to tie the game with a 2-point conversion, but Berghammer’s pass fell incomplete.

Wheaton added a final touchdown on its next possession, taking almost six minutes off the clock and scoring on a 4-yard rushing touchdown from Weeks to give the Thunder a 30-21 lead with four minutes remaining in the final quarter.

Berghammer led the Titans on a final push down the field, but any hopes of a comeback were ended after Wilson intercepted Berghammer on the Wheaton 44-yard line.

“I feel like the team needs to improve in the sense of coming together as a unit and playing as one,” Doherty said. “And that means that everyone (needs to have) each other’s backs. Even if you make a mistake, make the mistake at 100 miles an hour and just keep moving forward as a team as we keep pushing for our next win.”

UWO will travel down to Marshall, Texas for their final non-conference game of the season against East Texas Baptist University at Ornelas Stadium Sept. 16 at 1 p.m. Last year, the Titans opened the regular season against the Tigers at Titan Stadium, routing ETBU 52-13 in head coach Peter Jennings’ first game at the helm of UWO.

The Tigers (1-1) are coming off a 38-37 win against Hendrix College (Arkansas) Sept. 9 and a 34-14 loss to Louisiana Christian University Aug. 31. 

ETBU is led by quarterback Cornelius Banks, who has thrown for 368 yards and two touchdowns this season. Trayjen Llanas-Wilcox is the team’s leading receiver, catching 12 passes for 217 yards and a touchdown so far this season. Running back Jaden Lewis is the team’s leading rusher, running for 143 yards and two touchdowns so far this year.

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