UW-Oshkosh rushed for 370 yards and scored 14 points in every quarter to demolish UW-Stout, 56-10, on Thursday (Sept. 22) in Menomonie. The game was a non-conference bout between the WIAC rivals.
Nate Wara (Jr. • Oshkosh) highlighted the offensive showcase with 185 rushing yards, while his two tailbacks each averaged better than 14 yards per carry. Justin Budiac (Sr. • Mukwonago) totaled 74 yards on the ground as Cole Myhra (So. • Menomonee Falls) churned out 69 more. The passing game was also effective, with Garrie Fox (Sr. • Madison) registering 131 yards on six catches.
UW-Stout (2-1) had allowed just 114 rushing yards per game entering the night, while the UW-Oshkosh (2-1) offense averaged 108. The Titans' quarterback, backfield and offensive line more than tripled both of those figures. UW-Oshkosh's point total was its highest since scoring 62 against Lakeland College during 2007.
The Titan defense forced punts on UW-Stout's first three possessions. Wara and the UW-Oshkosh offense then quickly turned its first six plays into 14 points. After running for 16 yards to approach midfield, Wara broke free for a 52-yard touchdown to make it 7-0 just 3:23 into the contest.
Wara handed off on the Titans' third play of their next drive, and Budiac took his carry 46 yards for the score and a 14-0 advantage. UW-Stout would respond early in the second quarter with a 13-play drive and 36-yard field goal by Ricky Marteney.
UW-Oshkosh got the ball back and continued to deliver explosive plays. Wara found Fox for 34 yards and Caleb Voss (So. • Van Dyne) for gains of 17 and 15. Utilizing his legs once again, Wara rushed into the end zone from six yards out to gain a 21-3 cushion.
The Blue Devils reached opposition territory twice during the second quarter, but they turned it over on downs at the 35 and 21-yard lines. Just before halftime, Wara found a seam and raced 78 yards to just short of the goal line. Charlie Weissman (Sr. • Colgate) later carried the final yard to put the Titans up, 28-3, with 1:29 on the clock.
Weissman kept the momentum going by returning the third-quarter kickoff 49 yards. UW-Oshkosh ran four plays for minimal gains, including a fourth-down conversion, before lighting up the scoreboard again. Wara took to the air this time and connected with Fox for a 36-yard score.
UW-Stout found success with a 14-play drive that consumed nearly seven minutes. Ross Carey hit Josh Peterson on consecutive passes to pick up 22 yards. Paul Bernier carried the rock on 10 plays, finally plunging in for a two-yard score that cut the deficit to 35-10 midway through the third period. Bernier booked 95 yards on his 21 rushing attempts for the game.
A fortunate special teams play assisted the Titans with their next touchdown. When UW-Oshkosh punted, a Blue Devil roughed the kicker to award a first down. Wara took advantage with a 14-yard run on his next snap. He then dropped back and fired a strike to Fox, who hauled in a 26-yard touchdown to regain a 32-point advantage.
The Titans tacked on a pair of fourth-quarter scores with Myhra's 61-yard run and James Steffens' (Fr. • Waterford) 74-yard interception return. The pick-six by Steffens capped a strong night by the UW-Oshkosh defense, which held Carey to 9-of-30 passing for just 91 yards. Peterson topped the Blue Devil receivers with four grabs for 57 yards.
UW-Oshkosh compiled 535 yards overall, with Wara hitting 11-of-16 passes for 172 yards and two touchdowns. The Blue Devils (316 yards) won the time of possession category by holding the ball for almost 35 minutes. UW-Stout also equaled UW-Oshkosh's total of 19 first downs. The major difference came in yards per play, where the Titans averaged nine yards to the Blue Devils' four.
Taylor Goodman (Jr. • South Wayne) paced all tacklers with 10, as the Titans also received a sack from Andrew Thompson (Jr. • Greendale). UW-Stout was led by eight tackles apiece from Aaron Kobes and Damian Guggenbuehl.
The Titans begin their conference slate by hosting UW-River Falls on Oct. 1.