UW-Oshkosh doesn't feel like a DIII Powerhouse but they should

Published: Nov. 28, 2017 at 7:27 PM CST
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The UW-Oshkosh football team has become a Division III powerhouse whether they like it or not. UWO has advanced to its third straight national quarterfinals appearance.

Third-ranked UW-Oshkosh (11-0) will host 17th ranked Wartburg College from Iowa (12-0) at noon on Saturday, Dec. 2 at J.J. Keller Field at Titan Stadium in Oshkosh, Wis.

“In the past we coached from the bottom coming up, now we are on top and from a coaching standpoint it’s very difficult to transition to being on top. I’m used to being an underdog. This program is used to being an underdog. The culture is underdog culture. We thrive in that. And now we’ve had to transition to be the top dog. And it’s a whole different world. It’s difficult,” UW-Oshkosh Head Coach Pat Cerroni said.

Oshkosh’s postseason play has become an expectation to many. The Titans lost 10-7 to Mary Hardin-Baylor in last year's national championship game but rank third in Division III history with a .786 winning percentage (11-3 record) in NCAA postseason play. So has it become a privilege or an expectation?

“It's still a privilege,” Titans senior defensive back Rajon Hall said. “Every team is good. You never know when you could be knocked off. “

“We look at it as a privilege,” Titans senior running back Dylan Hecker said. “We get another week out here at practicing and being with the guys. As a senior I don't want this to end at all because that means I have to go face the real world. I just want to enjoy this and I think I speak for a lot of the guys. I just want to live in this moment.”

“Oh, it's an absolute privilege. I hope they said that,” Cerroni said. “I don't know what they said but I'm just proud of the fact that these guys set goals the last couple of years and it's tough when you have a group of people and you set a goal and it's tough to achieve that goal and right now it's two years in a row where we are achieving our goals and it's gratifying.”

Oshkosh’s offense has been a juggernaut in the month of November, outscoring teams 178-28. That margin of victory includes the Titans first and second round playoff games. A 63-0 throttling of previously undefeated Lakeland University and a 42-21 win last Saturday against ninth ranked North Central College (Illinois). Oshkosh scores 28 points in the second quarter to lead 35-7 at halftime.

The Wartburg Knights come into Saturday’s matchup averaging 39.3 points per game while allowing 16.1 points. Wartburg escaped in the first round against Franklin in overtime 35-34 by stopping a two-point conversion.

The Knights cleaned up against 25th ranked Trine University 49-7, forcing six turnovers while leading 35-0 at halftime.

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