OSHKOSH — UW–Platteville's playoff hopes took a major blow Saturday afternoon.
The fifth-ranked UW–Oskhosh Titans defended their own turf with a 22–13 Homecoming victory over Coach Mike Emendofer's seventh-ranked Pioneers Saturday at UWO's J.J. Keller Field at Titan Stadium.
The game was a defensive stalemate through third quarters with neither team reaching the end zone.
The teams traded field goals through the first 45 minutes with UW–Oshkosh holding a 9–6 advantage heading into the final 15 minutes.
The Titans' Eli Wettstein made a 21-yard field goal six minutes into the first quarter to score the games' first points.
UW–Platteville freshman kicker Samuel Herkert's 41-yard field goal with 4:50 left in the first quarter tied theg game. Herkert added a 28-yard field goal with two minutes left in the opening half to make it 6–3, the Pioneers' only lead of the game.
The Titans took advantage of a 39-yard kick return by CJ Blackburn and tied the game on Wettstein's 30-yard field goal with 25 seconds left in the half.
UWO took a three-point lead on Wettstein 37-yard field goal late in the third quarter.
The Titans pushed the lead to 15–6 two minutes into the fourth quarter on a 1-yard run by Dylan Hecker.
Again, special teams set the Titans up in good field position. Blackburn returned the ensuing kickoff 30 yards out to the 38. Devon Linzenmeyer broke off a 43-yard run on frist down and on the next play Hecker scored from 19 yards out to make it 22–13.
UW–Platteville drove to the Oskosh 46-yard line, but turned the ball over on downs with 4:22 left to play and the Titans ran out the clock.
Linzenmeyer rushed for 123 yards on 10 carries to lead the Titans. Hecker added 88 yards and scored a pair of touchdowns on 15 carries.
The Pioneers attempted to play keep away much of the afternoon rushing for 222 yards on 49 carries. Sophomore Sean Studer rushed for a career-high 122 yards on 23 carries.
Kelly rushed for 66 yards on a season-high 17 carries. He completed just 10 of 19 passes for a season-low 84 yards and one touchdown.
UW–Oshkosh improved to 6–1 on the season and 3–1 in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, keeping its own postseason aspirations alive. The Titans remain a game behind league-leading UW–Whitewater (7–0, 4–0) in the WIAC standings. The second-ranked Warhawks defeated UW–Stevens Point 24–2 on Saturday.
Meanwhile UW–Platteville fell to 5–2 overall and 2–2 in the WIAC and are now mired in a three-way tie for third-place in the WIAC.
The Pioneers will return to action next Saturday when they travel to UW–Stout (3–4, 1–3). Kickoff is set for 2 p.m.