|The Mount Union secondary gave up some big plays
but also broke up seven passes, including this one intended for
Photo by Larry Radloff, d3photography.com
No. 2 Mount Union turned two first half turnovers into two touchdowns and sophomore quarterback Neal Seaman tossed five touchdown passes in his first-ever start as the Purple Raiders scored a 45-28 season opening win at UW-Oshkosh on Saturday, while No. 1 UW-Whitewater had an easy time in rolling past NAIA Dakota State 70-7
Seaman completed passes to eight receivers as he was 26-of-37 for 320 yards. All-American seniors in wide receiver Cecil Shorts and tight end Kyle Miller (Elida/Elida) were his top targets. Shorts had five catches for 105 yards and a touchdown while Miller had a game-high seven catches along with 82 yards. Sophomore running back Jeremy Murray caught two scores with a team-best 69 yards rushing and junior wide receiver Brandon Brown hauled in the other scoring pass.
UW-Oshkosh (0-2) sophomore quarterback Nate Wara also had a strong outing as he threw three touchdowns on 20-of-34 passing for 238 yards and rushed for a game-high 80 yards on 15 carries.
After the teams traded possessions, Seaman hit Shorts on a 35-yard scoring pass. Then two plays later, sophomore defensive end Charles Dieuseul forced a fumble and Arthur Smith recovered it to give the Raiders the ball on the Titans' 35-yard line. Dieuseul finished with a game-high 12 tackles and a sack to lead the Raider defense.
Running back Zac Lemmon then made it 14-0 as he ended a five-play drive with a 10-yard touchdown run.
Mount Union missed a field goal early in the second quarter and Oshkosh then grinded out an 11-play drive and go the score to 14-7 as Nate Wara hit his brother and wide reciever Justin Wara on a 10-yard touchdown pass.
Oshkosh was driving to tie the game when the Titans fumbled the ball again; this time forced by freshman defensive lineman Matt Fechko, recovered by defensive lineman Chris Favazzo, a transfer from Division I Kent State, and gave the Raiders the ball on the Titans' 13-yard line. On the very next play Seaman completed a scoring pass to Murray to extend the the lead to 21-7.
Later in the quarter a 44-yard punt return by Shorts gave the Raiders another short field and just four plays later Seaman and Murray connected again from 11 yards to push the margin to 28-7 with just 52 seconds left in the half.
Oshkosh quickly responded as Wara covered 64 yards in four plays in 38 seconds and hit Paul Coburn on a 6-yard strike to bring the score to 28-14 at the break.
Midway through the third quarter Seaman engineered his longest drive of the game, an 11-play, 76-yard march and moved the score to 35-14 with a 9-yard pass to Shorts.
Wara would not go away as he took the Titans 80 yards and Jeremy Roach ran in a score from 3 yards out to keep them within striking distance at 35-21 after three.
Seaman threw his fifth touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter a 14-yarder to Brown and Wara answered with a score just over two minutes later to make it 42-28. Tyler Almeida finished the scoring with a 19-yard field goal and the defense held for the 45-28 final.
For No. 1 UW-Whitewater, the win against Dakota State was its
17th in a row, as the Warhawks scored six of their eight
possessions in the first half, and 10 of 16 times in the game.
UW-W got on the board at 10:53 in the first quarter on an 11-yard run by Levell Coppage. Coppage did it again at 7:58, this time going 61 yards, which for a short time was the longest run from scrimmage by a UW-W player this season. Still in the first quarter, 5:43, Matt Blanchard connected with Adam Brandes on a 44 yard touchdown. And, with 0:24 left in the first quarter, Booker Stanley punched it in from 1 yard out to make 28-0 at the end of the stanza.
The Warhawks added two more scores in the second quarter. Blanchard hooked up with Aaron Rusch for 24 yards at 9:14. The TD is the 20th of Rusch's career, tying him for third place in the school record book with Anthony Talton (1989-91). Blanchard threw his third touchdown pass, this time to David Leaf for 75 yards at 4:45. The pass is Whitewater's longest scoring toss since Jeff Donovan hit Jordan Wells for a 77 yard score against Puget Sound on Sept. 26, 2009. Whitewater went in to the intermission leading 42-0.
Whitewater tacked on three more scores in the third quarter. Stanley ran one in from nine yards out at 12:11, Antwan Anderson scored on a one yard run at 7:02, and Stanley raced 84 yards with 5:39 left in the frame to put UW-W in front 63-0. Stanley's run from scrimmage is the longest for UW-W since Justin Beaver went 96 against UW-Oshkosh on Sept. 23, 2006.
Michael Pirtle ran 17 yards with 13:39 left in the game to wrap up Whitewater's scoring. The 10 extra points kicked by freshman Eric Kindler tied the school game record, also accomplished by Mike Chaulk vs. Lakeland in 2005.
Dakota State broke the shutout on a Paul Bagala to Stacey Berg for a 31 yard touchdown with 0:45 left in the game.
UW-W amassed 663 yards of offense, 463 of those on the ground. Stanley rushed 12 times for 159 yards, Coppage added 108 yards on 6 rushes (all in the first half), and Anderson carried the ball 19 times for 114 yards. It marks the first time in school history with three UW-W running backs rushing for over 100 yards in a single game. Blanchard went 10-13 for 202 yards and no interceptions. Leaf accounted for 96 yards on 4 catches.
The Whitewater defense limited DSU to minus-2 yards rushing on 23 attempts, with six sacks cutting into the total. Senior defensive tackle Luke Hibner had two of the sacks and three tackles for a loss. The Trojans totaled 206 yards passing on 24-41 passing, with one interception. Bagala accounted for all of the passing totals, including six to sophomore wide receiver Wes Dauz for 23 yards. Senior linebacker Joe Whealy and junior defensive back Joe Monize were both credited with nine tackles for DSU.