… A coach leads his team to an undefeated, regular-season record, a first conference title since the 1970s and storybook playoff run… A record-breaking, nationally recognized hometown quarterback with a rocket-engine arm and an aptitude for escaping the pocket, racks up yards… A campus and community fan base awakens to the talent before them and rides an unprecedented surge of Titan Pride.
From its first kickoff to its last tick of the clock, 2012 was a season for the record books for the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Titans football team.
A flawless regular-season record, punctuated by the defeat of the national-champion UW-Whitewater Warhawks (on the team’s Homecoming field, no less), led to a thrilling bid by the Titans for their own national crown.
A week after traveling across the country to defeat No. 3-ranked Linfield College in overtime on that team’s Oregon home field, the Titans football team fell to the University of St. Thomas squad on that team’s home field 28-14 Saturday, Dec. 8. St. Thomas would eventually lose to perennial football powerhouse Mount Union in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III Football Championship.
While it ended short of the ultimate goal, the Titans’ journey was incredible.
Pat Cerroni’s focus and determination in leading the Titans to their historic year earned him a place as one of five finalists for the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award. Around the country, coaches were rated on a series of criteria, including fan voting, wins, team penalties, sportsmanship, academic performance of their athletes and charitable contributions. Quickly, as the Titans climbed the D3 rankings, so did their coach’s ascent toward the award.
In the end, Cerroni’s bid came up short. However, the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) and D3football.com named him their 2012 NCAA Division III West Region Coach of the Year. He also earned CaptainU’s, the largest youth and college sports network’s, 2012 NCAA Division III Football Coach of the Year title.
Wara posts legendary year
UW Oshkosh quarterback Nate Wara became one of four candidates for the Gagliardi Trophy, the NCAA Division III’s equivalent to the Heisman Trophy, awarded to the most outstanding player in the division nationally.
The senior from Oshkosh led UWO to its most successful season in the program’s 118-year history and, despite falling short of the Gagliardi honor, earned Offensive Player of the Year from D3football.com. He additionally received NCAA Division III All-America honors from the AFCA— the first Titan to be recognized since the AFCA All-America program began in 1945, according to UW Oshkosh Athletics.
The Titans averaged 37.5 points per game with Wara behind center. The team effort was enough to earn several Titans All-American D3 honors: Fourteen Titans were selected for four All-America squads, including cornerback Tim Filter (a senior from New Berlin) and running back Cole Myhra (a junior from Menomonee Falls) as second-team honorees. UW Oshkosh Athletics noted tackle Brandon Peter (a senior from Allenton) was picked for the third team and linebacker Taylor Goodman (a senior from South Wayne), center Ben Strehlow (a senior from Brandon) and defensive end Andrew Thompson (a senior from Greendale) earned spots on the fourth team.
Check out more photographs of the UW Oshkosh Titans in action.
To share your Titan Pride, visit UW Oshkosh Athletics.