UW-Oshkosh's offense totaled 551 yards, while its defense forced eight consecutive punts, during a 42-7 football victory over UW-River Falls on Saturday (Oct. 1) at J.J. Keller Field at Titan Stadium. The game was the WIAC opener for both squads.
The Titans (3-1/1-0 WIAC) racked up at least 535 yards and six touchdowns for the second straight contest. Attempting 22 passes, UW-River Falls (0-4/0-1 WIAC) gained just 37 yards through the air. UW-Oshkosh held the Falcons to 3-of-19 conversions on third down, as the Falcons punted on their first eight possessions of the game.
Neither team was able to score in the first quarter, as the Titans punted on their opening four drives. Nate Wara (Jr. • Oshkosh) finally got things going with a 28-yard completion to Caleb Voss (So. • Van Dyne). Just two plays later, Wara drilled a strike to Garrie Fox (Sr. • Madison) over the middle. Fox pinned the ball against his shoulder and hung on while absorbing a hit for the 26-yard touchdown.
Voss started the next Titan drive with a 14-yard reception. This time, he finished it off by himself. Voss hauled in a pass at the five-yard line, where he spun out of a tackle and walked in for a 30-yard score and the 14-0 lead. UW-Oshkosh maintained that cushion until halftime.
The Falcons took advantage of excellent field position for their only score of the day. Greg Klingelhutz took a punt and returned it 63 yards down to the one-yard line. Joel Yogerst then found pay dirt on the ground and cut the deficit in half with 11:57 on the third-quarter clock.
UW-Oshkosh bounced right back with a trio of big plays. Cole Myhra (So. • Menomonee Falls) rushed up the middle untouched and gained 70 yards to reach the red zone. Justin Budiac (Sr. • Mukwonago) handled things from there, running three yards for a touchdown. The Titans upped their margin to 28-7 minutes later, as Fox got free and Wara found him with a back-shoulder throw for a 15-yard score.
Wara used his legs to record a 38-yard run near at the conclusion of the third period. Budiac punched it in from the one-yard line to book his second touchdown of the day. Later in the fourth quarter, Nick Olla (So. • Kewaskum) went downfield with a 56-yard rainbow to Jeremy Roach (Sr. • Deerfield) and a 29-yard hookup to Zach Kasuboski (Fr. • Wautoma). Kasuboski was fully extended in the back of the end zone to post the touchdown and a 42-7 lead.
With his three touchdown passes, Wara upped his career total to 41, which ranks third in school history. Wara also finished with 272 passing yards and 43 rushing yards. His top targets were Fox, who totaled 108 yards, and Voss, who compiled 102. Myhra finished with 97 rushing yards on seven carries. UW-Oshkosh, which marked 535 yards and 56 points last week, notched 22 first downs and 7.3 yards per play.
The Falcons mustered three yards per play en route to 206 total yards. The WIAC's leading rusher, Taylor Edwards, picked up 117 yards on his 24 attempts. Meanwhile, B.J. Letourneau completed 5-of-16 passes for 20 yards. Yogerst paced the visitors with three grabs for 26 yards, while the Titans held the conference's top receiver, Nathan Brandt, without a catch.
UW-Oshkosh kept its opponent in single digits for the first time since 2008. The swarming defense featured nine tackles apiece from Jack Breese (Sr. • Kewaskum) and Nate Gross (Sr. • Hartland). Led by the eight stops of Lincoln Bjorklund, the Falcons also received two sacks by Nate Smits.
The Titans will play next Saturday (Oct. 8) at UW-Eau Claire, which owns an identical 3-1 (1-0 WIAC) record.