Nate Wara's (So. • Oshkosh) four touchdown passes led UW-Oshkosh to its highest score in 29 games as the Titans posted a 43-15 victory over UW-River Falls on Saturday (Sept. 25) in River Falls. The contest was the WIAC opener for both teams.
UW-Oshkosh (1-2/1-0 WIAC) hadn't tallied this many points since a 62-7 triumph over Lakeland College in 2007. The convincing win was a rarity in this series, with the Titans taking the last three meetings against the Falcons by a total of six points. UW-Oshkosh also had captured its last five conference victories by a combined 11 points.
Jeremy Roach (Sr. • Deerfield) tallied his team's first two scores as the Titans posted touchdowns on their opening four possessions.
Wara, who averaged more than 17 yards per completion, converted three third downs with his legs on UW-Oshkosh's first drive. He also hooked up with Craig McClelland (Sr. • Union Grove) and Juston Wara (Sr. • Oshkosh) for gains of nine yards to set up a score. Roach capped the 83-yard drive with a catch from 32 yards out to take a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
UW-River Falls (0-4/0-1 WIAC) came right back with a 16-play possession to tie the score. Taylor Edwards, the league's leading rusher, carried the load and scored on fourth-and-goal from one yard out. The march was kept alive by a Titan personal foul and a 16-yard run from Greg Klingelhutz on third downs.
The Titans' next trip covered 61 yards and included three explosive plays. Following a 16-yard pass to Paul Coburn (Sr. • Sussex), Wara threw for 18 yards on a screen pass and tallied a 10-yard run. Roach then ran in for a six-yard touchdown early in the second period. The Falcons reached the red zone on the ensuing possession, but Ben Zill (Sr. • New Franken) blocked their field goal try.
UW-Oshkosh went ahead, 20-7, when Nate Wara connected with Juston Wara for a 20-yard touchdown three minutes before the half. The Titans weren't done yet, taking over after the Falcons lost 33 yards on a snap over the punter's head. Garrie Fox pulled in a 12-yard score two plays later to put his team up, 26-7, at intermission.
Each squad posted a long pass play during scoring drives in the third quarter. Justin Budiac (Jr. • Mukwonago) got behind the defense for 59 yards, setting up a Titan field goal. Moments later, UW-River Falls had BJ Letourneau find Matt Guertin for 49 yards. That set up Joel Yogerst, who corralled a four-yard touchdown throw to cut the deficit to 29-15 with 5:14 on the third-period clock.
The Titans just kept coming, getting a 13-yard reception from Coburn and another 13 on a Charlie Weissman (Jr. • Colgate) run. Wara's fourth and final TD toss went to Fox and covered 25 yards as UW-Oshkosh's cushion grew to 21 points.
UW-River Falls was sacked six times on the day, including Tyler Westphal's (Fr. • Menasha) forced fumble that was recovered by Luke Bingen (Sr. • Hartford) in the final quarter. Roach took advantage with a tackle-breaking, seven-yard touchdown run at the 8:54 mark. The Titans' defense stepped up later on fourth down, as Logan Heyden (Sr. • Kenosha) and Jordan Mortenson (Jr. • Iola) squashed a Falcon drive with another sack.
Nate Wara compiled 246 passing yards and didn't turn the ball over in recording a career-best for touchdowns. Four of his completions went to Fox, who marked 62 yards and two scores. Wara also ran for 45 yards, while Roach topped the ground game with 59 yards on nine attempts.
Edwards made it four straight 100-yard efforts as he racked up 128 on 27 carries. Letourneau hit on 11-of-23 passes for 104 yards as the Falcons finished with 239 yards overall. UW-River Falls was successful on 10 of its 19 third-down opportunities and possessed the football for nearly 36 minutes.
The Falcons' Lincoln Bjorklund paced all players with 10 tackles. Frank Martin (Jr. • Greenleaf) and Dan Swanson (Jr. • Pardeeville) each compiled eight stops, with Martin recording one sack. UW-Oshkosh, which also received 1.5 sacks from Andrew Thompson (So. • Greendale), finished with 420 yards on offense.
The Titans will be at home for a night contest with UW-La Crosse next Saturday (Oct. 2).