The University of Mount Union (Ohio) won its 50th consecutive home game after scoring 24 second-quarter points during a 41-17 victory over the UW-Oshkosh football team on Saturday (Sept. 10) in Alliance, Ohio.
Mount Union (1-0), ranked second in the NCAA Division III by D3football.com, prevailed in its season opener for the 24th straight year. The regular-season victory was also Mount Union's 54th in a row, just one short of the NCAA record that the Purple Raiders set from 2000-03. UW-Oshkosh (1-1) and Mount Union scored just seven points each in the second half, but the Purple Raiders' second-quarter output was too much for the Titans to overcome.
The Purple Raiders took advantage of a short field to obtain its early cushion. Mount Union had four drives start inside the Titans' 39-yard line, and it turned those opportunities into 20 points. UW-Oshkosh went three-and-out to start the game, but Alex Ferrara punctuated the stop by blocking a punt. Seven plays later, Tyler Almeida booted a 20-yard field goal to give the Purple Raiders a 3-0 lead.
The Titans responded during the middle of the first quarter to take their only lead. The 90-yard march required 15 plays, with six of them being runs by Nate Wara (Jr. • Oshkosh). Four of those carries went for at least eight yards. On 4th-and-8 from the Mount Union 21-yard line, Wara found Charlie Weissman (Sr. • Colgate) with a touchdown pass. The extra point made it a 7-3 UW-Oshkosh advantage with 6:06 left in the opening period.
On UW-Oshkosh's next punt, Mount Union's Jasper Collins returned the ball to the Titan 35-yard line. Jeremy Murray needed just two carries from there to reach the end zone. His 16-yard scamper in the first quarter and two-yard run in the second period put the Purple Raiders in front by a 17-7 tally. Mount Union recovered two fumbles during a 10-minute span to set up its offense.
Each team went airborne to continue the scoring in the second. Caleb Voss (So. • Van Dyne) hauled in a 52-yard reception to set up a UW-Oshkosh 28-yard field goal by Nate Becker (Jr. • Waukesha). Moments later, Matt Piloto connected with Julius Moore for a 42-yard gain. Mount Union capped that possession with Piloto's 26-yard touchdown pass to Chris Denton for a 24-10 lead.
The Purple Raiders closed the first half by marking a 76-yard drive during the final three minutes. Neal Seaman quarterbacked this series and found Collins three times for 23 yards. On third-and-long, Murray grabbed a 20-yard scoring pass with 13 seconds on the clock. Mount Union carried a 34-10 cushion into the locker room.
The third quarter also saw the offenses go quiet with a total of four punts. Using rushes of 20 yards by Wara and 18 by Justin Budiac (Sr. • Mukwonago), the Titans finally moved the ball to begin the fourth quarter. Cole Myhra (So. • Menomonee Falls) capped the 82-yard drive with a one-yard run to make it a 34-17 score. Mount Union added a 16-yard touchdown run by Jake Simon with 7:31 left to conclude the scoring.
The stout Purple Raider defense was led by the 13 tackles, including three for a loss, by Nick Driskill. The Titans were paced by the 14 tackles of Jack Breese (Sr. • Kewaskum), nine of Zach Wettengel (Jr. • Appleton) and the eight of Jacob Juedes (Sr. • Sheboygan Falls).
Murray compiled 125 yards on 20 carries to pace the Mount Union offense. At quarterback, Seaman completed 18-of-29 passes for 149 yards and one touchdown, while Piloto completed 7-of-10 passes for 120 yards and one score. Collins racked up 96 yards on 10 catches and Moore 80 yards on five grabs to top the receiving department.
UW-Oshkosh posted 146 yards on the ground, with 79 earned by Wara. Voss compiled 58 yards on his two catches as Wara totaled 138 yards passing on 16 completions in 31 attempts. The Titans equaled the Purple Raiders' 6-of-17 figure on third downs, but Mount Union prevailed in total offensive yardage, 417-284.
There will be some time off before UW-Oshkosh faces UW-Stout (2-0) in Menomonie on Thursday (Sept. 22).