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Eagles' Quick Start Leads To Win Over Titans

Peter MacCudden rushed 10 times for 49 yards against the Eagles.
Peter MacCudden rushed 10 times for 49 yards against the Eagles.

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.

UW-Oshkosh's Kobe Berghammer went 13 of 35 passing for 95 yards. He completed six passes to Riley Kallas for 60 yards.

The Titans rushed 23 times for 106 yards, including five carries for 51 yards by Chris Hess and 10 totes for 49 yards from Peter MacCudden.

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