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UWRF football moves up in rank after win over Oshkosh

October 13, 2022

After blowing out Northwestern and UW-Stevens Point to earn a 3-1 record, the Falcon football team had one of their biggest home games in recent history. UW-Oshkosh, ranked No. 16 in the American Football Coaches Association, came to Ramer Field to play No. 17 ranked UW-River Falls. Not only did this game have huge national championship implications, but it also featured two of the top teams in the WIAC so it was an important one to win. This was also the Falcons’ first ranked opponent they saw since the loss at #4 ranked Saint Johns.

The first quarter set the tone for how the game was gonna go. River Falls started with the ball and drove all the way to the Titan 40 yard line but Oshkosh intercepted a Kaleb Blaha pass for 30 yards. Oshkosh got it all the way to the River Falls one yard line but a gritty goal line stand by the Falcon defence got the Falcons the ball back, denying any points.

However, when the offence got the ball back they got it on their one yard line so they had to play it safe and the drive was short. UWO got the ball back on the UWRF 45 yard line and drove a good way down the field, but the Falcon defence held the Titans to a field goal after UWO had two straight incompletions on the Falcon 17 yard line.

With the Titans having a 3-0 lead the Falcons’ last drive of the quarter had to be a big one. The Falcons drove the ball down to the UWO 30 yard line but it looked like the Titans were going to get off the field, allowing zero points because they had it at 4th and 7. But Falcon quarterback Kaleb Blaha found receiver Mason Van Zeeland for a 20 yard first down conversion, then on the next play Blaha completed another pass to Van Zeeland for the first Falcon touchdown of the day to make it a 7-3 lead for UWRF.

The Titans had a 4th and 2 on their own 44 yard line to start the second quarter. On the conversion attempt, UWO fumbled the ball thanks to Andrew Schumacher forcing it out of the running back’s hands. It was Kaiden Sell that recovered it and got a 17-yard gain to set up the Falcon offense with good field position. 

The Falcons then took advantage of the turnover and got another touchdown to build a 14-3 lead. After the Falcon defence forced the Titans to punt, the Falcon offence was able to drive it down the field again where they got a field goal to get the score to 17-3. On Oshkosh’s last drive of the half, they got a touchdown and converted the two-point conversion to make it 17-11 against the Falcons going into the half. 

UWO started the second half with the ball and they were able to score a touchdown, but a missed extra point by them kept the game tied at 17-17. River Falls had a drive going but, on 4th and 4, they tried to run a quarterback draw with Kaleb Blaha and the Titans were ready for it. After UWO stopped UWRF on the fourth down, the Titans had good field position and they were able to use the short yardage pretty easily.

The Titans reclaimed the lead 24-17 thanks to two big plays from the Oshkosh quarterback Kobe Berghammer, which set UWO up for the go-ahead touchdown. On the kickoff, Oshkosh tried an onside kick but the Falcons were able to recover it. This set up the Falcons with great field position on their own 44 yard line. On what was probably the most important drive of the game and maybe the season for the Falcons, they showed tons of grit. First, when they had a 4th and 2 on the UWO 48 yard line they converted it thanks to a short four-yard pass from Blaha to Ron Beauchamp. Then on a 4th and 7 later in the drive, Blaha found Tanner Canfield for a nine-yard gain. The Falcons were able to get the ball on the three-yard line and Blaha punched it in for the tying touchdown. 

The Falcons got the ball back to start the fourth after forcing the Titans to punt to end the third, and they were able to chew the clock for nearly seven minutes and muscle their way to the UWO six yard line to set up the go-ahead 23-yard field goal by Justin Scherbel to make the score 27-24. The Titans’ first drive of the fourth was short-lived, as defensive back Michael Brown picked off Berghammer’s pass and set up the Falcons on their own 50 yard line.

On the Falcon’s drive, it looked like they were going to put this one in the books but a fumble by Blaha on the Oshkosh 10 yard line gave the Titans new life. The Titans got the ball back down 27-24 with just over three minutes left. On their drive, it looked like the Falcons had them stopped as the Titans had an incomplete pass on 4th and 3, but a pass interference by River Falls gave their drive new life.

UWO was able to get all the way to the Falcon 38 yard line. But after a sack set up a 4th and 15 with just under 30 seconds left. A deep pass to keep the game alive by UWO’s Berghammer was intercepted by Michael Brown again and it sealed a big 27-24 win for the Falcons.

On offense it was Kaleb Blaha that led the way again; he had 315 yards of total offense going 18/32 with 172 yards passing and 149 yards on the ground. The defence for the Falcons had five tackles for loss and two sacks; Aaron Borgerding led the way with 10 tackles and Aaron Schumacher had a fumble and a pass breakup.

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