Titans clinch first playoff berth since 2012

Nate Proell

The UW Oshkosh football team ended its regular season at home on Saturday, Nov. 14 after shutting out UW-Eau Claire 38-0. The Titans clinched the WIAC championship with the victory, their second in four seasons. UWO finished the regular season with a record of 9-1. Both teams got off to a slow start in Saturday’s game with a score of 0-0 by the end of the first quarter. However, a 1-yard run from running back Devon Linzenmeyer put the Titans on top 7-0 in the second quarter. Later on, a 12-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Brett Kasper to wide receiver Sam Mentkowski gave the Titans a 14-0 lead at the half. The Titans extended their lead in the third quarter, scoring three touchdowns. First was a 2-yard run by Linzenmeyer with 11:21 to go in the third quarter. UWO scored again with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Kasper to wide receiver Zach Kasuboski. The Titans closed out the third quarter with yet another touchdown via a 26-yard pass from Kasper to Kasuboski. The score at the end of the third quarter was 35-0 Titans lead. In the fourth, the Titans scored three more points after a 22-yard field goal by kicker Greg Rand that brought the final score to 38-0 Titans win. The Titans finished the game with 153-yards of passing, compared to UW-Eau Claire’s 22-yards of passing. The Titans’ total offensive yards for the game was 452 compared to Eau Claire’s 181 total yards of offense. The victory clinched the WIAC championship for the Titans; however, with their first playoff game being this Saturday, the team is getting right back to work. The Titans received a bid to play in the NCAA DIII national championship tournament. The Titans will face St. Scholastica on Nov. 21 at 3 p.m. at J.J. Keller Field at Titan Stadium. Mentkwoski said the team is excited to be in the playoffs. “We’re going into the playoffs like we’ve done all year, which is win-the-day mentality,” Mentkowski said. “It’s go time now.” The Titans have a brief history with the St. Scholastica Saints. In 2012, the Titans played the Saints in the first round of the playoffs and won 55-10. The Titans made it to the final four of the tournament that same year. This year both teams are coming into the game with records of 9-1; however, the Titans seem to have a slight advantage because the game is in Oshkosh. Head coach Pat Cerroni said the team is focused on preparing for its first playoff appearance since 2012. “It’s the playoffs,” Cerroni said. “Obviously they’re there for a reason and we are too. We’re going to do our best, and it’s going to be fun. We’re happy to be here.” Kasper said getting to play at home is a huge advantage. “We’ve been playing pretty well at home,” Kasper said. “It’s a new season. Anything can happen, it’s do or die.”