October 12, 2011

Titans Roll Into Pioneer Territory

UW-Oshkosh aims for its third consecutive road victory when it travels to UW-Platteville on Saturday (Oct. 15). Kickoff from Ralph E. Davis Pioneer Stadium is set for 2 p.m.

The Titans (4-1/2-0 WIAC), ranked 25th by in the NCAA Division III by D3football.com, haven't posted a three-game road winning streak since 2006. Both these squads have been strong this season, with UW-Platteville owning a record of 3-2 (1-1 WIAC). The Pioneers' losses came to top-ranked UW-Whitewater and seventh-ranked Wheaton College (Ill.), while UW-Oshkosh's lone defeat was at second-ranked University of Mount Union (Ohio).

UW-Platteville fell to UW-Whitewater by a 34-14 score last week. The Pioneers notched their league victory over UW-La Crosse, 17-14, in their previous contest. Ranked second in the WIAC, UW-Platteville's defense is yielding 15 points and 304 yards per game. It allowed just three points in each of the Pioneers' first two wins.

Offensively, UW-Platteville has two rushing threats and a trio of productive receivers. Lee Vlasak owns 284 yards and four touchdowns rushing, while quarterback Nick Anderson also has 227 yards on the ground. Anderson has totaled 609 yards and five touchdowns passing for the year. Aaron Loferski (253 yards) leads a receiving group that also features Jeff Bracken (225 yards) and Darin Blaser (19 catches).

The Pioneers have jumped on their opponents early, tallying a 42-7 scoring advantage in the first quarter. The defense has then maintained those leads by allowing touchdowns on just 38 percent of its red zone trips. Ryan Mcwethy tops UW-Platteville with 32 tackles and two interceptions.

UW-Oshkosh has also boosted its defensive effort, surrendering 11 points per game since Sept. 11. On the season, the Titans are giving up just 5.4 yards when opponents throw the ball. Andrew Thompson (Jr. • Greendale) leads the squad with a WIAC-high four sacks, while teammate Ryan Stefaniak (So. • Muskego) owns three. Jack Breese (Sr. • Kewaskum) paces UW-Oshkosh with 41 tackles.

With 121 points in the last three games, the Titan offense is clicking. The WIAC's second-ranked unit is averaging 205 passing yards and 204 rushing yards. Nate Wara (Jr. • Oshkosh) lists third in the league in both categories with 891 yards through the air and 408 on the ground. Both tailbacks, Cole Myhra (So. • Menomonee Falls) and Justin Budiac (Sr. • Mukwonago), are averaging better than 6.6 yards per carry. On the perimeter, Caleb Voss (So. • Van Dyne) has 340 receiving yards and Garrie Fox (Sr. • Madison) tops the team with 19 grabs.

UW-Platteville owns a 44-47-4 edge in the all-time series that dates back to 1911. The Titans have caught up in recent years, including a 41-14 victory over the Pioneers last season. Wara tossed a career-high five touchdowns in that performance, with Fox amassing 103 yards and two scores.