Titans Score In Closing Seconds To Defeat Nationally Ranked Pioneers

Mitchell Gerend caught four passes for a game-high 78 yards against the Pioneers.
Mitchell Gerend caught four passes for a game-high 78 yards against the Pioneers.

Kobe Berghammer tossed the game-winning, 10-yard touchdown pass to Peter MacCudden with 18 seconds remaining as the UW-Oshkosh football team upset nationally ranked UW-Platteville, 24-20, Saturday (Nov. 2) in Platteville.

UW-Platteville, ranked 13th in the NCAA Division III by D3football.com, reclaimed a 20-17 lead on a 21-yard touchdown pass from Colin Schuetz to Brandt Stare with 1:57 remaining in the game.

UW-Oshkosh responded with an eight-play, 75-yard drive that included Berghammer passes of 26 yards to a diving Justin Kasuboski and 22 yards to Mitchell Gerend on consecutive plays to reach the Pioneer 23-yard line. Following an incomplete pass, Berghammer rushed for 5 yards before MacCudden ran for another 8 yards to set up first-and-goal at the UW-Platteville 10-yard line with 22 seconds to play.

After a UW-Platteville timeout, Berghammer then found a wide-open MacCudden for the game-winning touchdown on the left side of the end zone with 18 ticks remaining.

UW-Platteville gained 13 yards on its final possession, but a pair of incomplete passes ended the game at the Pioneer 41-yard line.

UW-Oshkosh (6-2, 4-1 WIAC) is now alone in second in the league standings, one game behind third-ranked UW-Whitewater (8-0, 5-0) with two contests left. The Titans remained in contention for their fourth WIAC title in the past eight years by defeating UW-Platteville for the sixth season and the 10th time in the last 11 meetings.

UW-Platteville (6-2, 3-2 WIAC), which entered Saturday averaging a league-best 37.4 points per game, suffered its first home loss of the year and fell into a tie for third in the conference. The Pioneers' last home win over UW-Oshkosh was a 20-17 decision Oct. 11, 2003.

UW-Oshkosh held advantages of 369-298 in scrimmage yards and 195-107 in rushing yards. The Titans overcame a pair of turnovers by holding the Pioneers, who possessed the ball for more than 33 minutes, to a season-low 191 passing yards on 33 attempts.

Berghammer finished the day 8-for-17 passing for 174 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He also rushed 16 times for a career-best 114 yards.

MacCudden had a team-leading 17 carries 60 yards and a touchdown while adding a pair of catches for 30 yards and a score. The rushing and receiving touchdowns were the firsts of MacCudden's career.

Gerend led the Titans with four receptions for 78 yards. Jimmy DuVal's lone grab of the game went for a UW-Oshkosh 40-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter.

The Titan defense featured seven players with at least four tackles, including Brandon Hughes and Kyle Scharenbroch with a team-best five stops apiece. Kollyn Beyer, Brandon Kolgen and Nick Noethe each accounted for two of UW-Oshkosh's seven tackles for loss. Noethe notched both of the Titans' two sacks.

Schuetz went 20 of 33 passing for UW-Platteville for 191 yards with one touchdown. He also led the Pioneers with 18 rushes for 66 yards a score on the ground.

UW-Platteville's Stare led all players with seven receptions for 61 yards and one touchdown. Donald Allender and Tyler Knigge both chipped in five catches for 58 yards for the Pioneers.

The Pioneer defense, which ranked third in nationally with 22 turnovers entering Saturday, was paced by Tyler Reinhardt's game-high seven tackles. Dayne Friday and Aidan Tyk both snared interceptions for UW-Platteville.

UW-Oshkosh received the opening kickoff and marched 88 yards to the Pioneer 1-yard line until settling for a 23-yard field goal from Jaydon Haag, who is now 7-for-7 on field goals this season.

UW-Platteville's first possession ended with a field goal of its own as Andrew Schweige connected from 32 yards to cap a 12-play drive at the 3:38 mark of the first quarter.

MacCudden then scored his first collegiate rushing touchdown, running untouched to the end zone from 6 yards out. Haag's extra point upped the Titan lead to 10-3 with 3:24 left in the second period.

The Pioneers knotted the score once again at 10 following a 5-yard touchdown run by Schuertz with 39 seconds to play before intermission.

UW-Platteville then took its first lead of the game at 13-10 on Schweige's 20-yard field goal at the 3:06 mark of the third quarter, but Berghammer heaved a 40-yard scoring strike down the middle to DuVal, who stretched into the end zone after contact, for a 17-13 Titan advantage. The long pass culminated a three-play, 62-yard drive that began with an 18-yard catch by Gerend.

The Titans punted and threw an interception on their next two possessions, while UW-Platteville punted twice ahead of Schuetz's go-ahead touchdown pass to Stare with less than two minutes to go.

UW-Oshkosh returns home to host UW-River Falls next Saturday (Nov. 9) at J. J. Keller Field at Titan Stadium.

Photo courtesy of UW-Platteville sports information