Titans continue epic journey

Nate Proell

The Titans advanced to the third round of the NCAA Division III Football Championship after beating Ohio Northern University 42-7 on Nov. 28. Quarterback Brett Kasper went 14-22 on 211 yards and four touchdowns, which ties his career high. The Titans had 400 total yards of offense compared to the Polar Bears 286 total yards. The Titans took the early lead in the game after a 55-yard touchdown pass from Kasper to wide receiver Zach Kasuboski, putting the Titans up 7-0. The Polar Bears struck back with a 2-yard touchdown run from running back Justin Magazine; however, that would be the only time the Polar Bears scored. In the second quarter the Titans scored twice. Dylan Hecker had a 40-yard touchdown run at 9:16, and with 22 seconds left in the first half, Kasper threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver CJ Blackburn making the score 21-7 at the end of the first half. This was Blackburn’s first game back after suffering a broken hand in week five of the season against UW-Whitewater. Blackburn finished the game with 56-yards and two touchdowns. “It felt good to be back,” Blackburn said. “I knew I would get my chance today, and I was happy that I got to make the best of the opportunity.” The Titans started off the second half with a Hecker 8-yard touchdown run. The Titans struck again the following possession after a 17-yard touchdown pass from Kasper to wide receiver Craig Schommer making the score 35-7 at the end of the third. In the fourth quarter, the Titans put up one final touchdown from a 32-yard pass from Kasper to Blackburn, which brought the final score 42-7. “Great job from our players and coaches,” said Titans head coach Pat Cerroni. “Executed the game plan to perfection. Tremendous effort.” Ohio Northern entered the game with a come-from-behind win after beating Franklin (Ind.) 27-22 in the first round of the playoffs. Ohio Northern went scoreless in the first half and was down by 16; however, they managed to score 14 points in the third quarter and 13 points in the fourth all while only allowing Franklin to score 6 points in the second half. Magazine totaled 153 yards and two touchdowns in the first round. Magazine came into Saturday’s game ranked second in the nation in touchdowns scored and has had over 100-yards rushing in the past 10 of 11 games. In the game against the Titans, Magazine was held to 84 yards and scored the only touchdown of the game for the Polar Bears. UWO senior linebacker Kevin MacCudden said they watched a lot of film on the fast Ohio Northern team. “We knew they were great players; we watched them all week,” MacCudden said. “We just trusted each other to do our jobs. Guys really stepped up today across the board,” MacCudden said. In the past five games, the Titans have outscored their opponents 231-60. Kasper said the team has a lot of trust in each other. “It’s a lot of depth,” Kasper said. “If someone runs a deep route, we can get the next guy in as fresh legs.”