Oregon junior linebacker Ryan McCorkle was at the center of the Panthers’ ball-hawking defense Friday, Sept. 13, against Madison Edgewood.
McCorkle had an interception and a fumble recovery to help Oregon smother Edgewood in a 35-0 victory at Panther Field. Junior defensive end Gabe Pearson added two sacks.
Oregon improved to 2-2 overall and 1-1 in the Badger South Conference with the victory.
The Panthers scored 14 points off three Edgewood turnovers.
“I would just say we came ready to play,” McCorkle said. “Last week, we didn’t come ready to play in the first half. We kept the foot on the pedal and capitalized on their mistakes.”
Oregon limited Edgewood (0-4, 0-2 Badger South) to 97 total yards. It was a dominant performance from a defense that gave up 42 points to Stoughton the week before.
“I think it will give our whole team confidence with the way our defense is playing,” McCorkle said. “If we keep that same energy throughout the whole game, we can go 5-0 the rest of the way and earn a good playoff spot.”
The Panthers gashed the Crusaders for 293 total rushing yards. Sophomore Teague Szudy rushed for 117 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries, while senior Mason Grender rushed for 103 yards and two touchdowns on three carries.
“Coaches told us we would have to keep our foot on the pedal and make a statement,” Szudy said. “Teams were probably looking down on us because we lost to Stoughton and Reedsburg.”
Szudy said the Panthers set Edgewood up with a lot of runs up the middle.
“We ran sweeps, and the counter worked,” Szudy said. “We just followed our blocks, and the line did a great job.”
The Panthers’ offense got off to a rocky start when Edgewood linebacker Dylan Walton intercepted a pass by Oregon quarterback Erik Victorson. The Panthers’ defense held strong, and the Crusaders missed a 31-yard field goal attempt.
“We just made too many mistakes,” Oregon coach Dan Kissling said. “I told our kids afterwards if we would have played like this last week, Stoughton would have just annihilated us.”
Grender had a 54-yard touchdown run with 3:56 seconds left in the first quarter to start the scoring. Victorson connected with Austin Saunders on the Panthers’ next possession, and Saunders ran for a 57-yard touchdown.
Oregon broke the game open with 21 points in the second half. McCorkle came up with an interception on a tipped pass. Two plays later, Szudy darted for a 7-yard touchdown.
McCorkle then recovered a fumble at the Crusaders’ 41-yard line. Oregon took advantage of the short field, as Grender bolted for a 36-yard touchdown three plays later.
Szudy recorded his second touchdown on a 19-yard run early in the fourth quarter.
Connor Blanke intercepted an Edgewood pass later in the fourth to preserve the shutout.
“Our defense played really well, and all 11 of them played together,” Kissling said. “It was good to see.”