Kyle Radavich threw for a pair of touchdowns, Mitch Gerhartz ran for 111 yards and a score, and the nationally ranked UW-Oshkosh football team never trailed en route to a 24-13 victory over UW-La Crosse on a blustery Homecoming Saturday (Oct. 20) at J. J. Keller Field at Titan Stadium in Oshkosh.
UW-Oshkosh (5-2, 3-1 WIAC), ranked 12th in the NCAA Division III by D3football.com, held the Eagles to just 79 yards during the second half on the way to earning its eighth consecutive win over UW-La Crosse.
After playing to a 7-7 tie after one quarter, the Titans snuffed out the Eagles' fake field goal attempt from 26 yards into a 20-mile per hour wind with just over nine minutes left in the first half. Radavich hit Dom Todarello on an 85-yard shovel pass for a touchdown two plays later as UW-Oshkosh took the lead for good at 14-7 with 8:59 left in the second period.
A 39-yard field goal with the wind by Peyton Peterson late in the second quarter gave UW-Oshkosh a 17-7 advantage at intermission.
UW-La Crosse (4-3, 2-2 WIAC) cut its deficit to 17-13 on a 17-yard touchdown pass from Ben Schramski to Cole Spieker early in the fourth quarter, but the Eagles botched the snap on the ensuing extra point try before UW-Oshkosh capped the scoring on Radavich's 22-yard touchdown pass to Mitchell Gerend and Peterson's extra point with 7:13 to play.
UW-Oshkosh outgained the Eagles, 408-284, including 174-56 on the ground. UW-La Crosse, which held a 19-15 advantage in first downs, attempted six runs during the second half for a total of 1 yard. The Eagles were limited to just 3.9 yards per play on the day.
The Titans held a considerable edge in time of possession (34:41 to 25:19) as UW-Oshkosh possessed the ball for nearly 21 minutes during the second half. The teams combined for 16 punts, including a long of 56 yards and a short of 3 due to the windy conditions. UW-Oshkosh, which has not committed a turnover during the last three games, snared two interceptions to increase its WIAC-leading totals to 18 turnovers gained and 16 interceptions.
Defending WIAC champion UW-Oshkosh, which has won 43 of its last 48 league contests, has not lost a regular season home game in the 20 matchups since a 24-20 setback to Marian University (Ind.) on Sept. 13, 2014. The Titans have now won their last seven Homecoming contests.
Radavich concluded the game 19 of 31 passing for 234 yards and two scores. Radavich, who entered with a WIAC-leading .587 completion percentage, recorded a career-best 19 completions for the third straight game.
Gerhartz led all players with 21 carries and notched his second 100-yard rushing day, finishing just shy of his season-high of 122 yards on the ground. His 51-yard rushing touchdown, which opened the scoring in the first quarter, was his third of the year and 13th career.
JP Peerenboom added 13 rushes for 55 yards for the Titans, who averaged 4.2 yards per carry.
Todarello registered four receptions for 103 yards and a score during one half of action. Gerend had a career- and game-high eight grabs for 81 yards and a touchdown. The touchdown catches were Todarello's and Gerend's third of the year. Todarello now has 17 career receiving touchdowns, while Gerend has five.
AJ Plewa paced the UW-Oshkosh defense with a season-high seven tackles and one of the team's four pass breakups.
Scott Skornicka and Cole Yoder both chipped in six tackles for UW-Oshkosh, which received sacks from Yoder, Derrick Jennings Jr. and Brandon Kolgen. Jennings Jr. and Kollyn Beyer accounted for the Titans' interceptions.
The teams exchanged punts on the first two possessions of the game before Gerhartz busted free on the right side for a 51-yard touchdown run that culminated a four-play, 64-yard drive at the 9:20 mark of the first quarter.
The Eagles' Ryan Beirne missed a 33-yard field goal wide left on the ensuing possession, but UW-La Crosse knotted the score at 7 following Schramski's 8-yard scoring strike to Devonte Amos on a fourth-and-6 play and an extra point from Beirne that ended the first quarter.
UW-La Crosse owned a 7-2 advantage in first downs and 128-80 edge in scrimmage yards during the first quarter.
UW-Oshkosh was forced to punt on the first drive of the second quarter. UW-La Crosse proceeded to march 71 yards in seven plays to the Titan 9-yard line, but the Eagles opted to fake their field goal attempt into the wind. Beirne, who took a direct snap, eventually lofted an errant pass after being flushed out to the right.
UW-Oshkosh capitalized on the turnover-on-downs quickly as Todarello rushed 6 yards before busting free on the 85-yard shovel pass from Radavich. The Titans' go-ahead drive consumed just 43 seconds and two plays.
The Titans got the ball back at the Eagles' 48-yard line following a 3-yard punt into the stiff wind by Bryce Wesling, but the UW-La Crosse defense forced a Titan punt three plays and 77 seconds later.
Jennings Jr. made a juggling interception in UW-La Crosse territory with just under five minutes remaining during the first half. Peterson drilled a 39-yard field goal to conclude a seven-play, 12-yard drive that extended the Titan lead to 17-7 with 3:23 left in the second quarter. The first half ended after punts from both sides, including a 16-yarder by Beirne.
The third period featured six punts as the team combined for just seven first downs and 115 yards on 36 plays.
Schramski's 17-yard touchdown pass to Spieker capped a 10-play, 52-yard drive for the Eagles with 10:43 remaining in the fourth quarter. Schramski accounted for each of UW-La Crosse's yards on the drive, completing 6 of 9 passes for 57 yards during the possession. The lone non-passing play of the possession was the result of a sack by Jennings Jr.
UW-Oshkosh put the game away with a nine-play, 70-yard drive, answering the Eagles' score with Radavich's 22-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Gerend in the middle of the end zone as a UW-La Crosse defensive back fell down on the play. Radavich completed a 17-yard pass to Ryan Hayes, and Gerhartz ran for 6 yards on a fourth-and-2 play ahead of Gerend's score.
Beyer thwarted the final UW-La Crosse drive with his interception in Eagle territory. The Titans then ran out the final 6:47 off the clock with a pair of first downs, including a 4-yard run by Gerhartz on a fourth-and-1 play behind tight end Justin Kasuboski's key block and a 13-yard pass from Radavich to Riley Kallas on a fourth-and-9 from the Eagles' 31-yard line.
Schramski finished the game 21-for-44 passing for 228 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Austin Mancosky led the Eagles' rushing attack with 12 carries for 40 yards. UW-La Crosse amassed just 56 yards on 28 rushes.
Amos and Spieker both hauled in five passes and a touchdown for the Eagles. Spieker had a team-high 67 yards through the air while Amos had 28.
UW-La Crosse's Elijah McGeehan led all players with 13 tackles, including eight solo. Joey Bolda added 12 tackles for the Eagles.
UW-Oshkosh travels to UW-Stevens Point next Saturday (Oct. 27).
Dom Todarello's 85-Yard Touchdown Off Shovel Pass