Running back Eric Brown(Sr, St. Paul) turned in a memorable last game for UW-Stout, rushing for 136 yards on 24 carries and catching two passes for 86 yards and a touchdown. Despite his strong effort, the Blue Devils' season came to an end as Stout fell to fifth-ranked UW-Oshkosh, 27-18 on Senior Day at Don and Nona Williams Stadium Saturday
The Blue Devils (3-7, 1-6) looked to be overmatched early on, falling behind in the first quarter. UW-Oshkosh (10-0, 7-0) had two drives of 60-plus yards that resulted in touchdowns, setting the Titans up with a 14-0 lead.
Quarteback Michael Blizel(Sr, Sturgeon Bay), faced a heavy pass rush the whole quarter and was hit on two throws that ended up being underthrown, resulting in interceptions for the Titans defense.
Oshkosh was unable to take advantage of either turnover, however. After the first pick, the Titans went three and out. Following the second interception, cornerback Billy Rosenthal (Jr, Forest Lake, Minn.) stepped in front of a pass thrown by Titan receiver Mitch Hintz and picked it off, getting the ball back for the Stout offense for the start of the second quarter.
Beginning the second quarter down 14-0, the Blue Devils came roaring back.
After Stout's first drive of the quarter ended in a Ricky Marteney(Jr, Greenfield) missed field goal from 46 yards out and the defense forced a punt, back-up quarterback Hank Kujak (So, Blair) sent Brown out of the back field in motion and then hit him on a slant over the middle. Brown did the rest himself, outrunning the defense for a 61-yard catch and run. Tyler Naatz (So, Menomonie) then took the direct snap and ran in for the two point conversion to make the score 14-8.
Another punt by the Titans set the Blue Devils up on their own 25 after a personal foul on the return. A few short runs and passes found Stout on their 46 yard line when Kujak dropped back to pass.
Facing a heavy rush, Kujak stepped up in the pocket and heaved a pass toward the endzone and Trevor Morning(Jr, Bloomer). Morning, who had to slow up and wait for the ball, caught it on the 4 yard line then lunged for the goal line, avoiding a tackle and putting it in for the score. Morning finished with four catches for 79 yards.
Marteney connected on the extra point to give Stout the lead, 15-14.
Stout's defense came up with another big stop, forcing the Titans to punt the ball away yet again, and Tanner Kuehn (So, Fairchild) took it back 36 yards to Oshkosh's 34. Two carries by Brown got Stout 20 more yards and Marteney came on to hit a field goal from 31 yards out to put the Blue Devils up 18-14 at the half.
The lead proved to be short lived, as Oshkosh promptly drove 80 yards, capping off the long drive with a Nate Wara touchdown run from one yard out, putting the Titans back up, 21-18.
A 43-yard run off tackle by Brown on the ensuing drive gave the Blue Devils an opportunity to tie the game, but Marteney was unable to hit from 49 yards out.
After a Titans field goal by Nate Ray, Stout put together a nice looking drive, getting deep into Oshkosh territory. Facing fourth down and four to go, Kujak was unable to connect with tight end Josh Peterson(Sr, Cedar Grove) and the Titans took over on offense.
Two plays later, the Blue Devils defense came up big again, as Naatz came up to make a tackle on Titan running back Cole Myhra, knocking the ball loose in the process. Defensive end Jake Johnson (Sr, Champlin, Minn.) fell on the ball to get it back for the offense in great starting field position.
After a 16 yard run, Brown was thrown for a four yard loss, bringing the third quarter to an end. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Kujak's throw was intercepted, giving the ball right back to the Titans offense.
Oshkosh took the ball back down the field, capping off an eight play, 63 yard drive with another Ray field goal, pushing the lead to what would be the final score of 27-18.
The teams then traded punts and Stout turned the ball over on downs , allowing Oshkosh to run out the rest of the clock and secure the victory.
Penalties played a big role in the fourth quarter, slowing the game way down, as both teams . On more than one occasion, multiple penalties were called on the same play, as the officials called a total of 10 penalties on the two teams in the fourth quarter alone.
Kujak finished 8-17 for 190 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
On defense, Rosenthal led the team in tackles with 11, seven solo. Naatz had 10, five solo, including half a sack. Spencer Adler (Jr, Little Chute) chipped in the other half sack, as he finished with seven tackles, one solo. Linebacker David Lindell(Jr, New Richland, Minn.) also had a strong game with eight tackles, four solo, as well as a sack.