19th-Ranked Titans Defeat Falcons In WIAC Opener

The Titans' Taylor Goodman (8) had 11 solo tackles and a quarterback sack
The Titans' Taylor Goodman (8) had 11 solo tackles and a quarterback sack

UW-Oshkosh won its sixth straight road game with a 19-7 football victory over UW-River Falls on Saturday (Sept. 29) in River Falls. The Titans (4-0/1-0 WIAC) are ranked 19th in the NCAA Division III by the American Football Coaches Association, 21st by D3football.com.

Defensively, UW-Oshkosh held its opponent in single digits for the third consecutive contest. The Titans' lone touchdown was a 49-yard run by Zach Kasuboski (So. • Wautoma) during the third quarter. Nate Ray (So. • Verona) drilled three field goals in the first half to keep a lead throughout the afternoon.

The Falcons (0-4/0-1 WIAC) fumbled on the game's first drive. Ray then connected from 27 yards to give the Titans a 3-0 advantage.

On the next possession, Taylor Goodman (Sr. • South Wayne) posted a sack on second down and blew up a screen pass on third down to force a punt. Nate Wara (Sr. • Oshkosh) sprinted for 15 yards on the Titans' next play. That set up Ray, who hit a 25-yarder midway through the first quarter to make it 6-0.

Early in the second period, Ryan Kusilek found Jon Manke on a post pattern for 41 yards. The Falcons had two tries from the one-yard line, but the UW-Oshkosh defense stuffed them both to force a turnover on downs.

The Titans put together a 70-yard drive to close the half. Kasuboski started things with a 12-yard catch. Cory Wipperfurth (Jr. • DeForest) then hauled in a 20-yard reception to move downfield. With one second on the clock, Ray nailed a 37-yard field goal to gain the 9-0 cushion.

UW-Oshkosh took the second-half kickoff and went 72 yards in nine plays. Kasuboski ran for 12 yards to cross the 50-yard line. Two snaps later, Wara fired a quick backward pass to Kasuboski, who raced down the right sideline 49 yards for a touchdown.

Leading 16-0, the Titans put together a 16-play drive that used clock and produced points. Wara marked a 10-yard run and a 21-yard completion to Kasuboski. Ray's final field goal was 19 yards and gave UW-Oshkosh a 19-0 margin with 5:05 to play.

Kusilek went to the air on 10 straight plays as UW-River Falls finally got on the scoreboard. Nathan Brandt caught three balls on the 68-yard drive, which ended with a three-yard touchdown pass from Kusilek to Matt Woller.

The Falcons averaged 293 passing yards coming into the game, but UW-Oshkosh held them to 125. Goodman paced the Titans with 13 tackles (one sack), while Cody Huemmer (So. • Sun Prairie) notched two sacks. UW-River Falls also received 13 stops from David Scaro.

A trio of Titans rushed for at least 66 yards. Cole Myhra (Jr. • Menomonee Falls) totaled 83 yards on 28 carries, as Kasuboski added 77 on five attempts and Wara 66 on 15 totes. Kasuboski was the only UW-Oshkosh player with multiple catches, snatching six for 64 yards. Wara completed 11-of-21 passes for 122 yards.

Kusilek hit on 15-of-31 throws for UW-River Falls, which was led by Manke's 49 receiving yards. John Schimenz topped the team with 85 rushing yards on 21 carries.

The teams were relatively close in first downs, with the Titans earning 21 and the Falcons 18. UW-Oshkosh held advantages in both rushing yards (252-96) and total yards (374-221). The Titans converted 6-of-17 third down opportunities (35 percent), while the Falcons succeeded on 4-of-17 (24 percent). UW-River Falls went on fourth down five times, reaching the sticks twice (40 percent).

This was the seventh straight win in the series for the Titans. UW-Oshkosh returns home to face UW-Eau Claire next Saturday (Oct. 6).