OSHKOSH, Wis. (UW-Oshkosh Athletics) - Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference co-champion UW-Oshkosh will begin its fifth appearance in the NCAA Division III Football Championship with a first round game Saturday (Nov. 23) at American Rivers Conference co-champion and nationally ranked Central College in Pella, Iowa.
Kickoff for the fifth meeting between the teams is scheduled for noon at Central College's Ron and Joyce Schipper Stadium.
The winner between UW-Oshkosh (8-2) and Central College (9-1) advances to play Nov. 30 against the winner of Wheaton College (Ill.) (10-0) and Martin Luther College (Minn.) (9-1). Central College is ranked 25th in the country by D3football.com while Wheaton College lists fourth.
UW-Oshkosh and Central College both earned automatic berths into the NCAA postseason. UW-Oshkosh tied for the WIAC title with UW-Whitewater while Central College shared the ARC championship with Wartburg College (Iowa).
UW-Oshkosh, the 2016 Division III runner-up, is back in the national tournament for the fourth time in the past five years. The Titans, who sport a 12-4 record in four previous trips to the NCAA postseason, reached the semifinal round in both 2012 and 2017, and the quarterfinals in 2015.
Central College ranks fourth in Division III history with 21 appearances in the national postseason. The Dutch, the 1974 national champions, finished as the Division III runners-up in 1984 and 1988 on the way to compiling a 21-19 postseason record. Central College was eliminated in the first round during its most recent NCAA appearance in 2009.
UW-Oshkosh clinched its spot in the Division III Championship via a 27-20 home win over third-ranked UW-Whitewater in the regular season finale Saturday (Nov. 16). Central College secured its automatic berth by virtue of its 31-21 victory at Coe College (Iowa) on Saturday.
UW-Oshkosh has won each of its three previous matchups with Central College, including a 24-20 victory in Pella during the most recent meeting in the 2013 season opener.
UW-Oshkosh enters the Division III Championship averaging 25.5 points and 347.8 yards per game. The Titans, allowing 18.1 points and 287.3 yards per contest, rank eighth in the nation with 3.80 sacks per game.
Central College is averaging 42.3 points and 501.2 yards per game and allowing 27.9 points and 407.7 yards per contest. The Dutch lead the country with a .935 red zone efficiency and rank eighth nationally in yards per game. Central College quarterback Blaine Hawkins' 38 touchdown passes this season are fifth most in the country.