The UW-Oshkosh football team's fourth-quarter comeback attempt fell short as Salisbury University (Md.) hung on for a 24-19 victory during the first ever meeting between the teams Saturday (Sept. 14) in Salisbury, Md.
Salisbury University (2-0) held a 14-0 lead at halftime and extended its advantage to 24-0 on Hopeton Mair's 2-yard touchdown run with 13:26 remaining in the game. UW-Oshkosh answered with a 66-yard touchdown run on a reverse by Riley Kallas on the next play from scrimmage and pulled within 24-13 following a 49-yard touchdown pass from Kobe Berghammer to Justin Kasuboski with 9:09 left.
UW-Oshkosh (1-1) then forced the Sea Gulls to punt with just over six minutes remaining following a sack from Brady Heimer and Logan Heise. However, Salisbury University punter Michael Gillespie boomed a 72-yard kick that backed the Titans to their own 19-yard line.
The Titans marched to the Sea Gull 7-yard line on seven plays until Salisbury University's Sean Carroll intercepted a Berghammer pass in the end zone on a second-and-goal play with 4:02 left. Carroll's interception – his second of the season – was the lone turnover of the game.
The Titans eventually cut their deficit to 24-19 on a 36-yard touchdown pass from Berghammer to Ryan Hayes with 75 seconds to play, but the ensuing two-point conversion attempt failed before the Sea Gulls recovered an onside kick to preserve the win despite being outgained by nearly 200 yards on the day.
Salisbury University scored a pair of touchdowns in a span of two minutes and 10 seconds during the second quarter as Michael Fowler opened the scoring with a 5-yard touchdown run with 3:17 left before intermission. After a short punt by the Titans gave Salisbury University the ball back at its own 45-yard line, the Sea Gulls reached the end zone again on a 15-yard pass from Jack Lanham to Damien King that capped a four-play drive. Each of King's three catches this season have gone for touchdowns.
The Sea Gulls upped their lead to 17-0 on Bert Schrecongost's 27-yard field goal at the 2:23 mark of the third quarter.
Both teams turned the ball over on downs deep in opponent territory during the first half. Titans running back Peter MacCudden was stopped at the 2-yard line on a fourth-and-goal play with 3:16 left during a scoreless first quarter. Schrecongost, the Sea Gulls placekicker, was later dropped for a 2-yard loss by Brandon Hughes on a fourth-and-goal from the UW-Oshkosh 5-yard line with 8:30 remaining in the second quarter.
The Sea Gulls also blocked a 25-yard field goal attempt by Titans placekicker Peyton Peterson with 29 seconds to play in the opening period.
UW-Oshkosh finished the game with a 421-265 advantage in scrimmage yards, including 331-51 passing. Salisbury University ran the ball 50 times on its 61 offensive plays for 214 yards. The teams combined to convert 7 of 28 third down opportunities.
Chad Gleason paced the Sea Gull rushing attack with seven carries for 113 yards while Fowler added 10 rushes for 37 yards and a touchdown, and Mair had six totes for 24 yards and a score.
Salisbury University's Lanham went 7-for-9 passing for 51 yards and one touchdown.
Octavion Wilson led the Sea Gulls with three receptions for 13 yards.
Carroll, Patrick Bernardo and Austin Farinholt had a team-leading nine tackles for Salisbury University. Bernardo broke up three passes.
UW-Oshkosh's Berghammer completed 15 of 33 passes for 290 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. He alternated series during the first half with Titans starting quarterback Steven Makinen, who went 3-for-9 passing for 34 yards.
Kallas led the Titans with 66 rushing yards on his lone carry of the game that resulted in his first career touchdown on the ground and 11th career score overall. Kallas also contributed three receptions for 50 yards, marking his first career game with 100 scrimmage yards.
Mitchell Gerend had a team-leading six catches for a career-high 129 yards for the Titans. Kasuboski and Hayes both scored touchdowns on their only receptions of the day. Kasuboski now has two career touchdown catches, while Hayes scored for the first time as a Titan.
The Titan defense, which registered three sacks, limited the Sea Gulls to 4.3 yards per play. Calvin Shilling and Nick Noethe spearheaded the defensive effort with 10 and nine tackles, respectively. Heimer, Heise, Tyler Staerkel and Tyler Watson each registered sacks for UW-Oshkosh.
Salisbury University has finished with at least seven wins each of the past nine seasons. UW-Oshkosh, which was playing in the state of Maryland for the first time, lost a regular season contest on the road to a non-conference NCAA Division III opponent for the first time since a 41-17 setback at University of Mount Union (Ohio) on Sept. 10, 2011.
UW-Oshkosh returns home to host Huntingdon College (Ala.) next Saturday (Sept. 21) at J. J. Keller Field at Titan Stadium.
Photo courtesy of Joey Gardner (FotoJoe Photography)