The UW-La Crosse football team scored touchdowns on three of its first four possessions on the way to defeating UW-Oshkosh, 31-3, Saturday (Oct. 26) in La Crosse.
UW-La Crosse (5-2, 3-1 WIAC) took a 7-0 lead on a Joey Stutzman 1-yard run less than three minutes into the game before extending its advantage to 21-0 early in the second quarter following Evan Lewandowski touchdown passes to Cameron Sorenson and Cole Spieker.
UW-Oshkosh (5-2, 3-1 WIAC) cut its deficit to 21-3 on a 38-yard field goal by Jaydon Haag late in the second period, but the Eagles answered with a 1-yard touchdown run from Keyser Helterbrand with 21 seconds remaining before intermission and held the Titans to 123 yards of offense during the second half.
UW-La Crosse snapped an eight-game losing streak against UW-Oshkosh, earning its first win in the series since a 30-24 overtime decision on Oct. 29, 2011.
Lewandowski, who set a WIAC record with 591 passing yards and tied the NCAA Division III mark with nine touchdown passes last Saturday (Oct. 19) against UW-River Falls, completed 24 of 39 passes Saturday for 352 yards with a pair of touchdowns and three interceptions.
Spieker hauled in six passes for 170 yards and his WIAC-leading eighth touchdown for the Eagles while Sorenson led all players with nine receptions for 121 yards and a score.
UW-La Crosse rushed for 123 yards on 41 carries as Stutzman paced the team with 19 rushes for 55 yards.
Nathan Clark spearheaded a balanced UW-La Crosse defensive effort with six tackles, one interception and a fumble recovery.
The Eagles outgained the Titans, 475-201, on the day and held advantages of 37:42 to 22:18 in time of possession and 22-11 in first downs. UW-Oshkosh created a season-high four turnovers but went 3-for-15 on third downs and committed a pair of turnovers of its own.
Nick Noethe led the Titans in tackles for the third consecutive Saturday, collecting 10 stops and a sack against the Eagles.
Kollyn Beyer recorded two interceptions for the Titans, who also received a fumble recovery and an interception from Kyle Scharenbroch. Beyer now has seven career interceptions and leads the team with 10 pass breakups on the year.
UW-La Crosse received the opening kickoff and marched 68 yards to the end zone in five plays. Lewandowski sparked the drive with a 47-yard pass to Spieker on the first play from scrimmage before Stutzman capped the possession with his 1-yard plunge.
Sorenson then blocked a UW-Oshkosh punt after the Titans lost 5 total yards on its first three plays of the contest. UW-La Crosse took over at the UW-Oshkosh 19-yard line and scored five plays later on a 7-yard pass from Lewandowski to Sorenson.
The Titans forced an Eagles punt following a 13-play UW-La Crosse drive that consumed nearly eight minutes off the clock, but the Eagles later recovered a Kallas fumble at the UW-Oshkosh 30-yard line with 11:51 left in the second period. The Eagles cashed in the turnover five plays later, when Lewandowski hit Spieker in the end zone from 19 yards out on a third-and-9 play with 10:32 left in the second quarter.
Scharenbroch intercepted a Lewandowski pass at the UW-La Crosse 37-yard line with just over six minutes left in the first half. The Titans had a first down at the UW-La Crosse 21-yard line, but three incomplete passes preceded Haag's 38-yard field goal at the 4:11 mark of the second period. Haag has now made each of his six field goal attempts this season.
UW-La Crosse then put the game away with a nine-play, 54-yard drive that culminated in Helterbrand's 1-yard touchdown run in the final seconds of the first half. Lewandowski went 5-for-6 passing for 51 yards during the drive that upped the Eagles' lead to 28-3 at halftime.
UW-Oshkosh advanced inside the UW-La Crosse 20-yard line late in the third quarter, but three consecutive incomplete passes led to a turnover on downs following a 12-play, 60-yard drive with 14 ticks left in the period.
The Titans will seek to remain in contention for the conference title when they play at UW-Platteville next Saturday (Nov. 2). The Pioneers (6-1, 3-1 WIAC) are ranked 16th in the country by D3football.com.
Photo courtesy of Jim Lund