Cole Wilber threw two long touchdown passes to JT Parrish as UW-Whitewater defeated UW-Oshkosh, 20-0, during a battle of nationally ranked WIAC football teams Saturday (Oct. 6) in Whitewater.
UW-Whitewater (5-0, 2-0 WIAC), ranked eighth in the NCAA Division III by D3football.com, took a 3-0 lead early in the second quarter and held a 13-0 advantage at intermission. Wilber connected with Parrish for an 82-yard score for a 9-0 lead in the second quarter and a 76-yard strike for a 19-0 cushion during the third period.
Wilber finished the game 9-for-20 passing for 255 yards and a pair of scores while Parrish caught three passes for 197 yards.
Warhawks placekicker Wojciech Gasienica converted two of his four field goal attempts, providing UW-Whitewater a 3-0 advantage with a 24-yarder and a 13-0 advantage following a 27-yarder as time expired in the first half. Gasienica also connected on both of his extra points tries.
The UW-Whitewater defense, which limited the Titans to 2.81 yards per play and 18 rushing yards, notched its first shutout against UW-Oshkosh since a 42-0 decision in Whitewater on Nov. 10, 2001.
UW-Whitewater concluded with advantages in scrimmage yards (371-205), rushing yards (116-18) and in a contest that featured zero turnovers, 25 first downs, 16 punts and five penalties.
Tenth-ranked UW-Oshkosh (3-2, 1-1 WIAC) had edges of 73-59 in offensive plays, 31:08 to 28:52 in time of possession and 13-12 in first downs, but the Titans did not advance into Warhawk territory until the third quarter and were forced to punt nine times in the game.
Alex Peete paced UW-Whitewater with 22 carries for 79 yards while Ryan Ponick added nine rushes for 48 yards as the Warhawks were held to three yards per carry.
UW-Whitewater registered 12 tackles for loss, including 2.5 apiece from Harry Henschler and Jacob Erbs. Bailey Breunig had a team-leading seven tackles for the Warhawks, who also received six total stops and two sacks from Henschler.
UW-Oshkosh quarterback Kyle Radavich was 19 of 37 passing for 187 yards.
Mitch Gerhartz led UW-Oshkosh's ground efforts with 18 rushes for 24 yards.
UW-Whitewater controlled the ball for more than nine minutes during the scoreless first quarter that saw the Warhawks outgain the Titans, 80-28. Wilber found Jerimie Richards on a 36-yard pass to reach the UW-Oshkosh 32-yard line. UW-Whitewater had a first-and-goal from the Titan 10-yard line, but a short loss and two incompletions preceded a missed 29-yard field goal by Gasienica.
The Titans attempted a fake punt from their own 38-yard line on the ensuing possession. UW-Oshkosh punter Turner Geisthardt was dragged down for a 7-yard loss, and UW-Whitewater reached the Titan 13-yard line following four consecutive running plays. However, the game remained scoreless as Gasienica missed a 30-yard field goal with 14:01 left in the second period.
Breunig blocked a Geisthardt punt on the next Titan drive, setting up the Warhawks with a first-and-goal situation after a recovery by Derek Hoppe at the UW-Oshkosh 6-yard line. The UW-Oshkosh defense pushed the Warhawks back to the 7-yard line after two successive runs by Peete and, after an incompletion from Wilber, Gasienica hit a 24-yard field goal to open the scoring with 10:33 remaining in the second period.
The Warharks forced a punt on the next UW-Oshkosh drive, and Wilber hit Parrish with an 82-yard pass on UW-Whitewater's next play from scrimmage.
The teams proceeded to exchange punts on the next five possessions of the second quarter. UW-Whitewater got the ball back at its own 49-yard line with 22 seconds left before intermission. Wilber connected with Parrish on a 39-yard pass down to the Titan 12-yard line, and Gasienica split the uprights two plays later from 27 yards out as time ran out in the first half.
UW-Oshkosh possessed the ball for more than 10 minutes during the third quarter and held the Warhawks to just one first down in the period, but the Titans were forced to punt on each of their three drives of the stanza and UW-Whitewater's lone first down resulted in 76-yard touchdown pass from Wilber to Parish at the 9:58 mark of the third quarter.
The Titans and Warhawks have combined to claim at least a share of the last 13 WIAC titles, including UW-Oshkosh league crowns in 2012, 2015 and 2017. UW-Whitewater has now won 39 of its last 40 WIAC home games. The Warhawks' last league loss at home was a 28-13 decision to UW-Oshkosh on Oct. 20, 2012.
UW-Oshkosh conducts its home opener next Saturday (Oct. 13) against UW-Platteville at J. J. Keller Field at Titan Stadium.
Photo courtesy of d3photography.com