October 5, 2011

Titans Look To Keep Momentum Going At UW-Eau Claire

A pair of surging football teams will fight to gain a 2-0 WIAC mark when UW-Oshkosh travels to UW-Eau Claire on Saturday (Oct. 8). Both squads enter the contest with 3-1 overall records after winning their league openers.

Just like the Titans, the Blugolds defeated UW-River Falls and UW-Stout the past two weeks. UW-Eau Claire notched a 38-17 win against UW-River Falls and a 24-10 victory at UW-Stout. The start of this three-game win streak was a 47-19 triumph at nationally ranked St. John's University (Minn.) on Sept. 10.

UW-Eau Claire's high-powered offense starts with Austin Neu, the WIAC's leading passer at 1,053 yards. Neu is completing 70 percent of his attempts and has eight touchdowns. David Goodman owns 17 catches for 332 yards to rank second in the league. In the backfield, Joel Sweeney has posted 269 yards and four touchdowns rushing.

The Blugolds have been efficient when it matters, converting 47 percent of their third downs and reaching the end zone on 79 percent of their red zone trips (both top the WIAC). Thurgood Dennis adds excitement to the kick return game with his 26.3-yard average. On the defensive side, Kyle Thorpe paces the unit with 30 tackles.

UW-Oshkosh put up historical numbers during its past two wins, totaling 1,086 yards and 98 points. The Titan defense was also impressive, holding UW-River Falls and UW-Stout to 87 passing yards per game and 26-percent success on third downs. UW-Oshkosh is aiming for a 2-0 conference start for the second straight year.

The Titans own the WIAC's #2 passing and #2 rushing offense. The aerial attack has totaled 958 yards, with Nate Wara (Jr. • Oshkosh) booking nine touchdowns. Wara also ranks third in the league with 343 rushing yards. Caleb Voss (So. • Van Dyne), with his 340 yards, and Garrie Fox (Sr. • Madison), with 279, provide a strong receiving combo. On defense, Jack Breeze (Sr. • Kewaskum) tops the Titans with 39 tackles and Andrew Thompson (Jr. • Greendale) owns a WIAC-high three sacks.

UW-Eau Claire has taken the last four meetings in this series, but three of those were by single-digit margins. The Blugolds own a 41-21 edge overall. During the 2010 battle, Sweeney ran for 232 yards and caught the winning touchdown in a 20-14 decision. Wara ran for a season-best 98 yards in defeat.