Heartbreak at home: Football looks to rebound from overtime loss

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William Heidenreich

Senior Jack Healy (above), has been a crucial component to the Titans offense, the receiver awarded CCIW All-Conference Squad honors for his performances last season, among other distinctions. Photo credit: IWU Sports

Control the possession and you will control the game. A simple sports philosophy applicable to the Titan football season-opener, last Saturday against the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Eagles. 

But in this case, it did not work in favor of the Titans, despite the team controlling the possession for 38:49, nearly two-thirds of the 60-minute game. 

Offensively, the Titans lead in all categories statistically, their 544 total yards of offense nearly twice as much as their opponents, the Eagles finishing the game with 277. 

In the air, quarterback Brandon Bauer threw for 365 yards. Leading his team in receptions, senior Jack Healy recorded seven for a total of 98 yards with two touchdowns. Matching Healy in receptions was senior Dean Zigulich, totaling 69 yards. 

On the ground, Hamid Bullie rushed for 177 yards, touching the ball 37 times in what culminated into a memorable debut for the sophomore running back, his performance earning him CCIW Offensive Player of the Week Honors. 

Defensively, senior Trevor Koepke performed spectacularly, the defensive back tallying seven tackles, an interception, two pass break-ups and a fumble recovery, his efforts rewarded in his recognition as CCIW Defensive Player of the Week. 

Bullie and Koepke swept the CCIW in conference honors. 

A slow start forced the Titans to spend most of the game fighting to come back from an early deficit, not doing so until their 20-17 lead with 12:00 remaining in the fourth. 

 “ There are some losses that are harder to swallow than others… but next week is a fresh start…” – Patrick Tata

The Eagles scored in the first minute of the game on a 57-yard touchdown reception, leaving the Titan offense anxious to respond with one of their own. 

Despite a hard-fought game with the Eagles’ offense, the IWU defense would surrender another touchdown with 7:36 remaining in the first quarter, Lacrosse leading 14-0 going into the second. 

Offensively, the team looked for answers, not finding one until the end of the second quarter, Healy scoring on a 14-yard reception from the arm of Bauer. 

Following Healy’s touchdown, the Eagles managed to kick a field goal in the closing seconds of the second-quarter, 17-7 La Crosse going into the second-half. 

In the third and fourth quarters, two field goals and a pair of touchdowns pushed the Titans to a 27-24 lead with 2:43 remaining in regulation. 

With victory in sight, the Titans looked to stop La Crosse from scoring in their final possession of the game, but were unable to do so, the Eagles tying the game with a 38-yard field goal with 00:18 remaining, sending the game into overtime. 

In overtime, a fluke on offense lead to a fumble recovered by La Crosse, final score 27-33 Eagles. 

This Saturday, the Titans will look to rebound from their loss, facing conference opponent Wheaton College Thunder on the road. 

“There are some losses that are harder to swallow than others, and this is definitely one of them, but next week is a fresh start and an opportunity to beat Wheaton for the third season in-a-row,” senior kicker Patrick Tata said.