Going into its NCAA Division III quarterfinal playoff game, St. Thomas was a plus-13 in the turnovers for the season.
On Saturday in St. Paul, the Tommies were forced into an uncharacteristic eight turnovers as Wisconsin-Oshkosh pulled out a 34-31 victory. With the victory, the Titans, who did not commit a turnover, advance to next Saturday’s semifinals against John Carroll. John Carroll surprised Wis.-Whitewater, 31-14, on Saturday.
The loss was the first of the season for the Tommies (12-1), who had committed just 18 turnovers going into the game.
Eli Wettstein’s 36-yard field goal with 2:30 remaining broke a 31-31 tie. On the ensuing possession, the Tommies turned the ball over after their fifth interception. The Tommies got the ball back with 7 seconds remaining, but lost a fumble.
Brett Kasper’s third TD pass to Sam Mentkowski gave the Titans a 31-24 lead midway through the fourth quarter. The Tommies tied the score less than three minutes later on a 14-yard TD run by Josh Parks.
The Titans jumped to a 21-7 lead in the first quarter by taking advantage of two Tommies turnovers. With the score tied, 7-7, Kasper completed a 46-yard TD pass to Mentkowski. The PAT gave the Titans a 14-7 lead with 2:47 left in the first quarter.
On the Tommies’ ensuing possession, the Titans’ Johnny Eagan intercepted an Alex Fenske pass to give the Titans the ball at the Tommies’ 38. On the Titans’ first play, Kasper threw a 38-yard TD pass to Mentkowski. The PAT extended the Titans lead to 21-7 with 2:28 left in the first quarter.
Early in the second quarter, the Titans’ Jon Kallas recovered a Tommies’ fumble to give the Titans the ball at the Tommies’ 47. The Titans drove to the Tommies’ 18-yard line before settling for a 36-yard field goal and 24-7 lead. Bryan Stensapir’s 23-yard field goal pulled the Tommies within 24-10 with 8:57 left in the half.
The Tommies scored twice in a two-minute span in the third quarter to erase a 14-point deficit.
Midway through the third quarter, the Tommies’ defense forced the Titans to punt from their own 5-yard line. After a 22-yard punt return by Nick Waldvogel, the Tommies took over at the Titans’ 31. On the first play, Fenske completed a 31-yard TD pass to Jackson Hull. Stensapir’s PAT pulled the Tommies within 24-17 with 6:38 left in the third.
On the Titans’ ensuing possession, the Tommies again forced the Titans to punt from their 45-yard line. The Tommies’ Ryan Winter blocked the punt and picked up the ball and returned it 30 yards for a touchdown.
Stensapir’s PAT made it 24-24 with 4:34 left in the third.
Fenske, who had thrown just four interceptions in 12 games, was intercepted five times. He was 13 of 26 for 158 yards. Parks rushed for 152 yards.
Kasper passed for 237 yards and three TDs. The Titans outgained the Tommies, 406-362.
Bemidji State 36, Washburn 23
Jordan Hein passed for 261 yards and four TD passes to lead the Beavers to the victory in the Mineral Water Bowl in Excelsior Springs, Mo.
Geno Adams rushed for 159 yards for the Beavers (9-3), who earned the first postseason victory in program history.