The Advance-Titan

Titans look to make postseason impression

The Titans are heading back to the NCAA Division III Football Championship in Salem, Virginia again this December.

You heard it here and you heard it from me. And you’ll be reading that headline again in the A-T about four weeks from now.
UWO is a football powerhouse. It has proven it time and time again this season.

The Titans are 8-0 overall and 6-0 in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletics Conference, arguably the best D-III conference in the nation. They have been ranked third in the nation almost all season. This in itself is a huge accomplishment.

UWO has maintained this perfect record while facing a handful of nationally-ranked teams and, in doing so, has proved it can compete with the big dogs.

On Sept. 2, the Titans traveled to Ohio to take on eighth-ranked John Carroll University. They won 23-17, showing early on in the season they can come out on top against tough opponents and play well on the road.

UWO dominated one of its biggest rivals and last year’s WIAC winner, UW-Whitewater, 37-20 on Sept. 30. This was a huge game for the Titans, as the Warhawks always seem to create problems for them. UWW has consistently been a football dynasty and beating the Warhawks is never an easy task.

The Titans also had a strong showing against ninth-ranked UW-Platteville on Oct. 14, winning 28-14. Dylan Hecker rushed for 165 yards in the game and the defense forced three turnovers.

These games have given the team the experience needed when it comes to facing tougher opponents in the postseason. The Titans have proved they can capitalize against good teams.

On offense, UWO is averaging 482.1 yards per game, with 244.9 yards of that coming on the ground. And that’s without star running back Hecker stepping onto the field these past few weeks.

The Titans will be even more dynamic when Hecker returns and the dominating duo consisting of him and Mitch Gerhartz is back in business.
Quarterback Brett Kasper is completing 64.1 percent of his passes this season. He is averaging 229.4 yards per game and 11.0 yards per pass attempt, his highest during his career for the Titans.

Add in an average of 110 yards receiving from Sam Mentkowski per game and you have got yourself one heck of a ground-and-pass game combination.

And, let’s not overlook what the Titan defense has done so far this season. It has forced four fumbles, 14 interceptions and 13 sacks in eight games.

The UWO football team is well-rounded to say the least and has every weapon needed to make a run in the playoffs.

The Titans have proved this by solidifying an automatic bid to the tournament and being named WIAC champs after destroying UW-Eau Claire 42-7 on Saturday.

If the Titans defeat UW-Stout on Saturday and maintain a perfect record, they should receive a No.1 seed in the playoff bracket. This would mean being in a different division than Mary Hardin-Baylor and Mount Union, which would be a huge perk for the Titans.

Mary Hardin-Baylor, who UWO fell to in the Stagg Bowl last season, is ranked first in most D-III rankings, while Mount Union is listed second. These two teams are also likely to receive first seeds in their respective brackets.

This means the earliest the Titans would have to face either of these two powerhouses isn’t until either the Final Four or the Stagg Bowl itself, granted UWO makes it that far.

The Titans have put themselves in great position to be successful in the postseason.

However, the Titans must not let this go to their head. It is a must the team defeats UW-Stout next weekend in order to enter the playoffs on a high note.

I look forward to seeing everyone in Salem on Dec. 15.

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Independent Student Newspaper of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
Titans look to make postseason impression