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The Racquet Press

The student news source of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

The Racquet Press

The student news source of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

The Racquet Press

“The team continuously finds a way to win”: UWL Eagles narrowly defeat UW-Oshkosh Titans 31-28.

John Gaynor
UWL Eagles Football players during the Eagles’ win over UW-Oshkosh.

This past weekend, the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Eagles football team beat the UW-Oshkosh Titans with a final score of 31-28 at Roger Harrington Stadium at Veterans Memorial Park. The Eagles have now improved to a 6-1 record this season, only losing in a week two matchup to #6 Hardin-Simmons with a score of 28-21. 

In the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC), UWL football continues to be ranked atop the conference, with a 4-0 record. UWL football is also ranked fourth in the nation among Division III schools. 

Saturday’s game was a monumental win for the program over a conference rival, but also a monumental day for the fans. The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse hosted its annual Family Weekend, as well as Varsity Homecoming, and Band Day.  

The Eagles put on a show in front of a record 5,414 fans in Roger Harrington Stadium at Veterans Memorial Park, UWL Athletics reported. This breaks the previous record of 5,373, which was held in 2016 during another conference matchup against UW-Whitewater.  

UW-Oshkosh opened up the game with a drive that went down to the Eagles’ 25-yard line, but Eagle’s linebacker Tanner Newlin stopped Kobe Berghammer’s fourth-and-one quarterback sneak attempt.  

Jack Studer catches a pass in the UWL Eagles’ 31-28 win over UW-Oshkosh. Studer had five receptions for 81 yards, including one touchdown. (John Gaynor)

The Eagles took over on their own 25-yard-line. In a span of three minutes and 29 seconds, they used nine plays to cover a distance of 75 yards. This resulted in a 10-yard touchdown pass from Keyser Helterbrand into the hands of Jack Studer, putting the Eagles on the board first with seven minutes and 29 seconds remaining in the first quarter.  

The Titans took another turn and drove down the field, but came up short and missed a 41-yard field goal with three minutes and 30 seconds left in the quarter. The Eagle’s offense took the field once again and succeeded in scoring, this time with Gabe Lynch rushing for five yards. The first quarter concluded with the UW-Oshkosh Titans in a deficit of 14-0.

Gabe Lynch celebrates a rushing touchdown in the UWL Eagles’ 31-28 win over UW-Oshkosh. Lynch had one touchdown and 102 yards on 19 carries. (John Gaynor)

The second quarter began with UW-Oshkosh, driving down the field and scoring a touchdown in three minutes and 36 seconds, amassing 80 yards over eight plays. The Eagles responded with a 17-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Bowman, and after a successful PAT attempt, the score was 21-6. 

The Titan’s offense then took the field for the last time in the first half. With four minutes and 29 seconds remaining, UW-Oshkosh scored a touchdown and after a successful PAT attempt, narrowed the margin to only a seven-point deficit. 

The Eagles retained possession of the ball at the start of the second half, but the team’s only successful scoring drive in the third quarter was from Michael Stack, with a 41-yard field goal for the Eagles.

Michael Stack kicks a field goal in the UWL Eagles’ 31-28 win over UW-Oshkosh. (John Gaynor)

Only five seconds into the fourth quarter, UW-Oshkosh narrowed the game to within one-possession and scored on a 10-yard run from Berghammer.  

Helterbrand responded with a 21-yard rushing touchdown of his own. However, UW-Oshkosh came back and scored another touchdown, this time through the air with a 16-yard pass with four minutes and 26 seconds to go in the game, bringing the Titans within three points of the Eagles. 

The Titan’s effort was not enough. After a performance of 203 passing yards, 145 rushing yards, two passing touchdowns and one on the ground, Hildebrand knelt down to run out the clock and end the game.

Keyser Helterbrand threw for 203 yards and rushed for 145 in the UWL Eagles’ 31-28 win over UW-Oshkosh.

When asked about his performance at this past weekend’s Homecoming game, Hildebrand said, “It means everything, there’s no better feeling than to win here [Roger Harrington Stadium] in front of my family and the home crowd.” 

Regarding the Eagle’s #4 Division III ranking, Hildebrand said, “While we have to clean some things up… when we’re playing our best, we can compete with any team in the nation.”  

The Racquet Press asked UWL Head Football Coach Matt Janus about his leadership and success with the Eagles. “I talk about the experience with our kids all the time, you get to be at this wonderful school, and a part of this wonderful football program, and this wonderful city, and I get to live through them and try to provide that experience the best I can,” Janus said. 

Janus said that the team’s mentality is to win. Keep finding ways to win games, and that’s all that matters. This team has won one-possession games over the past 3 weeks and the team continuously finds a way to win.” 

Saturday’s win was the Eagles’ 4th consecutive win in the past 10 years over the UW-Oshkosh Titans and Head Football Coach Matt Janus’s 24th win with the program. 

The full box score from Saturday’s game can be found here. The Eagles look to continue their WIAC dominance against UW-Eau Claire, at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 29, at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

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About the Contributor
John Gaynor
John Gaynor, Sports Reporter
Year at UWL: Freshman
PGPs: He/Him
Hometown: Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin
Major: Marketing
Minor: N/A
Other Campus Involvement: Running Club, Track & Field Team
Future Plans after Graduation: Work in the aviation industry
Favorite Activity in La Crosse: Walking near the river
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