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Titans Host Red Men In 2019 Season Debut

Titans Host Red Men In 2019 Season Debut

The UW-Oshkosh football team begins the 2019 season by hosting Carthage College on Saturday (Sept. 7). Kickoff for the Titans' 125th season opener is set for 1 p.m. at J. J. Keller Field at Titan Stadium.

UW-Oshkosh and Carthage College will be meeting for the second straight season. The Titans downed Carthage College, 20-9, during last year's season opener in Kenosha. The 2018 game, the first ever between the intrastate institutions separated by just 123 miles, featured a UW-Oshkosh comeback in the final minutes as the Titans reclaimed a 14-9 advantage on a touchdown with 85 seconds remaining before securing the victory with an interception return for a touchdown on the final play of the game.

Last season UW-Oshkosh compiled a 6-4 overall record and finished third in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) with a 4-3 mark. The Titans have produced eight consecutive winning seasons, matching the program's longest string of winning seasons first established from 1918-25.

Carthage College went 4-6 a year ago and placed sixth in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW).

UW-Oshkosh, projected to finish third in the WIAC in a poll by the league's coaches and sports information directors, is seeking its fifth overall appearance in the NCAA Division III Championship and the fourth in the past five years. The Titans reached the 2016 national championship game, advanced to the semifinal round in both 2012 and 2017, and played in the quarterfinal round in 2015. Carthage College's lone trip to the national postseason resulted in a quarterfinal appearance in 2004.

UW-Oshkosh 13th-year head coach Pat Cerroni welcomes back 38 letter winners this fall, including five starters on offense and four on defense. Cerroni needs five wins to become the 10th WIAC coach with 100 victories.

UW-Oshkosh ranked 12th in the Division III last season by collecting 19 interceptions and listed 16th nationally with a 95.81 passing efficiency rating defense. The Titans also led the WIAC in first downs allowed (174), turnover margin (0.80), kickoff return average (22.4) and net punting (34.5).

Returning starters on offense for the Titans are receivers Mitchell Gerend and Riley Kallas, running back Mitch Gerhartz, quarterback Kyle Radavich and tackle Alex Wipperfurth.

Kobe Berghammer and Steven Makinen are also expected to play at quarterback for UW-Oshkosh in Saturday's game.

Radavich's .578 completion percentage led the WIAC last season. He completed 130 of 225 passes for 1,474 yards a year ago with 12 touchdowns and six interceptions.

Gerhartz was the team's leading rusher in 2018, running for 488 yards and three touchdowns on 127 carries.

Kallas, an All-WIAC honorable mention selection last season, caught a team-leading 47 passes for 586 yards and four touchdowns in 2018. Gerend added 32 receptions for 402 yards and four scores.

Defensive starters back for UW-Oshkosh are linemen Brady Heimer and Brandon Hughes, cornerback Kollyn Beyer and linebacker Logan Heise.

Heimer, an All-WIAC second team performer in 2017, recorded 15 tackles last year in seven games played.

Hughes contributed 41 tackles to lead the Titan defensive line a year ago while Beyer had 28 tackles and two interceptions. Heise made 41 tackles, including a pair of sacks.

Carthage College, picked to place fifth in the CCIW this season, welcomes back two all-league performers in linebacker Kevin O'Boyle and defensive lineman Kameron Stubblefield. O'Boyle registered 58 tackles last season while Stubblefield made 39 stops, including a team-leading 15.5 for loss and eight sacks.

Carthage College second-year head coach Dustin Haas must replace a large departed senior class from 2018 that included five All-CCIW First Team performers and three Second Team picks.

Quarterback Billy Drury returns for the Carthage College after going 103-for-189 passing for 1,404 yards with 10 touchdowns and 14 interceptions last season.

Dana Fontenot, the leading returning rusher for the Red Men, ran for 325 yards and three touchdowns during seven games in a reserve role a year ago. Brett Patton paces the returning Carthage College receiving corps after contributing 30 catches for 428 yards and four scores.

The Carthage College defense loses four all-league players due to graduation, including defensive back Amani Dennis, who was invited to minicamp this season with the Cleveland Browns.

UW-Oshkosh has won 26 of its last 28 home games, including each of the past 18 contests during the regular season at J. J. Keller Field at Titan Stadium. The Titans' last home regular season setback was a 24-20 loss to Marian University (Ind.), a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, on Sept. 13, 2014. UW-Oshkosh's last regular season home loss to a Division III opponent was 17-16 setback against UW-Platteville on Nov. 16, 2013.