Eagles' Ground Game Spooks 15th-Ranked Titans
Ben Hertrampf ran for 182 yards and the game-ending touchdown in overtime to give UW-La Crosse a 30-24 football win over UW-Oshkosh on Saturday (Oct. 29) at J.J. Keller Field at Titan Stadium. The Titans (5-3/3-2 WIAC) entered the contest ranked 15th in the NCAA Division III by D3football.com.
The wild contest saw the Eagles (3-5/2-3 WIAC) rush for 315 yards on 60 carries. UW-La Crosse held a 24-7 lead with 15:01 left, but the Titans scored 17 unanswered points to force the extra session.
At the end of regulation, Justin Huinker lined up a 19-yard field goal attempt to break the 24-24 deadlock. His kick missed as time expired, but UW-Oshkosh was offsides to give UW-La Crosse another play. This time, Andrew Thompson (Jr. • Greendale) came up the middle and jumped high to block the kick and extend the game.
UW-Oshkosh got the ball first in overtime, but it was unable to advance. Nate Becker (Jr. • Waukesha) eventually tried a 34-yard field goal, which came up short. On the Eagles' first play, they threw to the end zone and drew a pass interference penalty. Hertrampf then went off tackle to the left side and sprinted 12 yards untouched for the winning score.
UW-La Crosse imposed its will throughout the night, possessing the ball for nearly 39 minutes. On the opening drive of the game, Hertrampf had runs of 31 and 28 yards, with the latter crossing the goal line and gaining a 7-0 lead. The Eagles extended that advantage to 10 points with a 37-yard field goal by Huinker on their next drive.
Cory Wipperfurth (So. • DeForest) made his second reception of the year when the Titans got the ball back. After that three-yard catch, Wipperfurth ran deep over the middle of the field. Nate Wara (Jr. • Oshkosh) launched a perfect strike into his arms for a 42-yard touchdown that cut the deficit to 10-7 with 3:04 on the first-quarter clock.
The Eagles marked the only two scores in the next 33 minutes. With under a minute to play before halftime, UW-La Crosse converted a trio of third downs and got a one-yard touchdown run from Hertrampf. Mike Butterfield added to that cushion in the middle of the third quarter. He took off running and weaved inside the pylon for an eight-yard score that made it 24-7.
Becker drilled a 32-yard field goal at the end of the third period to make it a two-possession game. It was Charlie Weissman's (Sr. • Colgate) turn to step up, and he burst through the middle of the pile, ran to the left sideline and then cut back to the right for 49 yards. On third-and-goal from the 1, Wara found Jordan Mortenson (Sr. • Iola) on a play-action pass for the touchdown with 7:47 remaining.
The two teams exchanged punts, but UW-Oshkosh came up with a big play. The Titan punt bounced off an Eagle and Brian Hardy (So. • Bristol) recovered 25 yards from the end zone. UW-Oshkosh needed just five plays, as Weissman carried the last three and plunged in from one yard out to tie the contest with 2:25 left.
For the second consecutive week, the Titans came up short after being tied with two minutes remaining. UW-La Crosse held all the statistical advantages, including a 479-297 margin in yards. The Eagles also thrived with 10-of-18 conversions on third down to post a 28-13 victory in overall first downs.
Wara compiled 135 yards passing on 15-of-24 attempts, with Garrie Fox (Sr. • Madison) marking four grabs for 47 yards. UW-Oshkosh also used a season-best 124 yards on 14 carries by Weissman. Both Jack Breese (Sr. • Kewaskum) and Ryan Stefaniak (So. • Muskego) had 11 tackles for the Titans, while Vince Sciano (Sr. • Greendale) was a monster with nine stops and two sacks.
Butterfield racked up 164 yards through the air and another 71 on the ground. The Eagles' receivers were paced by Nate Ward's 67 yards and Tony Bilderback's five catches (44 yards). Mitch Hawkins led the UW-La Crosse defense with seven tackles.
UW-Oshkosh now hits the road for a meeting with UW-Stevens Point on Saturday (Nov. 5).