Central College issued the following announcement on Nov. 21.
How Central College fares in its first NCAA Division III football playoff appearance since 2009 may depend on how it measures up at the line of scrimmage.
The University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh (8-2) is the most physically imposing squad the Dutch (9-1) have seen in 2019. The Titans offensive line averages 294 pounds and three of the five starters are 6-foot, 4-inches or taller. And the defensive front has helped the squad rank eighth in Division III in sacks with 3.8 per game.
"They're very big," coach Jeff McMartin said. "It will easily be the biggest team we've played all year up front on both sides of the ball at each position. It's a really well-coached team and I think one of the best teams out there."
The first-round game in the 32-team playoffs kicks off at noon at Ron and Joyce Schipper Stadium in Pella. Tickets are $8 for general admission, $4 for college students and seniors 65 and over and $3 for youth. Tickets go on sale at the stadium at 10:15 a.m. Saturday. For additional ticket information call 641-628-5226.
Saturday's winner advances to a Nov. 30 contest with the Wheaton College (Ill.) (10-0) and Martin Luther College (Minn.) (9-1) winner. This year's Division III title game is slated for Friday, Dec. 20 at 7 p.m. at Woodforest Bank Stadium in Shenandoah, Texas.
On the air and online—The Voice of the Dutch, Trevor Castle, will call Saturday's action on KRLS-FM (92.1), with NFCA hall of fame softball coach George Wares providing the color. The KRLS pregame show will air at 11:35 p.m. The broadcast can be accessed through www.kniakrls.com or directly at rdo.to/krls. It's also accessible via mobile device with the KRLS app available through iTunes and other outlets.
On Mondays, Castle plays host to coach Jeff McMartin on the KRLS Coaches' Corner at 7 p.m. Those broadcasts are also available on demand through www.kniakrls.com.
Twitter users can get updates through @CentralDutch.
A video stream of the game can be seen through athletics.central.edu with live stats also available through ncaa.com.
The series—Wisconsin-Oshkosh holds a 3-1 advantage in the teams' series, which started in 2010 with the most recent meeting in 2013 when Central tumbled at Pella 24-20.
Playoff veterans-- It's a new experience for this year's Dutch but this is the program's 21st NCAA playoff appearance and the fifth for coach Jeff McMartin. Now in his 16th season, McMartin previously led Central to berths in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2009, compiling a 2-4 record in those games.
Central received an automatic berth to the field after sharing the American Rivers Conference title and winning its head-to-head match-up with co-champion Wartburg College Nov. 2. It's a record 31st conference crown for the Dutch.
Wisconsin-Oshkosh vaulted into the playoff picture by knocking off the then No. 3-ranked University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Saturday 27-20. The teams shared the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference crown. Wisconsin-Oshkosh is in the field for the fifth time and the first time since 2017. The Titans have a 12-4 playoff record and finished second nationally in 2016.
Central has the fourth-highest number of appearances in Division III history, trailing only the University of Mount Union (Ohio) (30 years), Washington & Jefferson College (Pa.) (26 years) and Saint John's University (Minn.) (25 years). The Dutch have a 21-19 playoff record, winning the 1974 Division III crown and making three appearances in the championship game at the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl (1974, 1984, 1988).Defensive lineman Carter Terpstra and the Dutch make their first NCAA appearance in 10 years Saturday.
National ranking—In the final Division III West Region rankings, which are used in determining playoff pairings, the Dutch climbed three spots to No. 5 while Wisconsin-Oshkosh is No. 7. Chapman University (Calif.) took over at No. 1 for Wisconsin-Whitewater, which dropped to second ahead of the University of Redlands (Calif.) and Saint John's University (Minn.).
Central carries the higher seed in the playoffs but is the underdog this week according to two national polls. Saturday's win propelled Wisconsin-Oshkosh to No. 21 in the American Football Coaches Association rankings and No. 18 according to D3football.com.
Central is No. 23 in the AFCA rankings and No. 24 in the D3football.com poll.
WIAC teams have a formidable track record in playoff action, with 40 wins by league schools since most joined Division III in the early 1990s. The Dutch are 2-4 against WIAC teams in playoff action. Saturday's foe is a difficult draw, McMartin said, but he doesn't waste a lot of energy studying bracketology.
"If you look at our playoff history, we have faced some challenges in the opening rounds," he said. "But that's so out of our control. You don't get a vote, you don't get a say. You signed up for it and you go out and attack it. You prepare and you play your best football and you lay it all out there and you see where it takes you."
The Titans—Enduring a demanding schedule, Wisconsin-Oshkosh suffered a 24-19 loss Sept. 14 after a long trip to No. 6-ranked Salisbury University (Md.) and the Titans were also defeated by the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, which is among those schools receiving national poll votes.
"They're a very talented football team," McMartin said. "You beat Whitewater and you're good."
Wisconsin-Oshkosh is gaining 347.8 yards per game, including 183.4 on the ground, and scoring 24.6 points. The squad is giving up 320.3 yards and 25.5 points.
The Titans made a quarterback switch after the third game, inserting freshman Kobe Berghammer as the starter. He has completed 119 of 245 passes (48.6%) for 1,521 yards with 12 touchdowns and five interceptions. He's a dangerous runner, gaining a team-high 592 yards on 115 carries with eight touchdowns.
"When you watch them on film he looks like a senior," McMartin said. "I'm sure they're excited because they have him another three years. He's a very good quarterback. And they do a really good job of running the ball. They know what they're about."
Junior wide receiver Mitchell Gerend has 31 catches for 444 yards and two scores. Kicker Jaydon Haag leads Division III in field goal percentage, going 11 of 11 with a long of 49 yards. He's 23 of 26 on extra points.
The defense has intercepted 14 passes and notched 39 sacks. Junior cornerback Kollyn Beyer is fifth in passes defended with 19, picking off five passes and breaking up 14. He also has 7.5 tackles for loss. Sophomore defensive end Brandon Kolgen has 13.5 tackles for loss and 5.0 sacks while senior defensive end Brady Heimer has 7.0 sacks and junior nose tackle Trenton LaCombe has 10 tackles for loss and 6.0 sacks. Sophomore Nick Noethe has 59 tackles, with 6.5 for loss and four pass breakups. Sophomore free safety Connor Zirpel has 50 tackles with two interceptions and three breakups.
"LaCombe is a tremendous football player," McMartin said. "He shows up Their whole defensive line is very good. They'll give you a lot of different looks. And their corners are really good. Knowing where they are and how you're going to account for people is important.
"They're not going to blitz on every down. They do blitz but not as much as some teams we play. But they say, 'We're going to keep it front of us. We're going to change up the coverages and we've got good enough guys in the defensive line that we don't have to blitz.'"
The Dutch entered the week of preparation with a long to-do list. The offensive line has helped the Dutch top the 40-point mark in eight games this year.
"Offensively, we have to really hone in on how we want to attack this defense because they can give you a lot of different versions of it," McMartin said. "Defensively, we've got to really work hard to stop the running game, making sure we have hats to the ball and people in places that are going to effective. We also can't give up big plays in the passing game."
"And then obviously, shore up what we're doing in the punting game and make sure we're covering kicks well."
Special season—The conference title share gives Central at least one championship for the ninth straight decade. It didn't come easily.
" It's been a really special season," McMartin said. "We improved as a football team. We played some of our best football towards the end of the year. We won out in November and we needed to do that. There were ups and downs as there are every season but this is a group of guys that is really resilient. I like the fact that they've worked hard, they want to work hard and they want to be pushed. They've done everything they can do. I feel like we've gotten the most out of them."
And now the Dutch look to take the next step in the NCAA playoffs.
"Our kids are excited," McMartin said. "I know they're looking forward to this challenge and opportunity."
NCAA numbers—Central moved to number one in Division III in red zone offense (93.5%, 43-46) . The Dutch are seventh in total offense (499.8 yards per game), eighth in first downs (247), 11th in third-down conversions (51.0%, 75-147), 16th in scoring (42.3 points), 16th in pass completion percentage (66.4%, 221-332-14), 16th in passing efficiency (171.71) and 21st in passing yards (297.9 yards).
Individually, quarterback Blaine Hawkins (junior, Ankeny) is second in points responsible for (280), fifth in passing touchdowns (38), sixth in total offense, (330.3 yards per game), 12th in passing efficiency (175.4), 17th in pass completion percentage (.667) and 18th in passing yards (2,837). He's completed 210 of 314 passes with 12 interceptions and 38 TDs. He's also Central's second-leading rusher with 494 yards on 103 carries with eight scores.
Hawkins is also the conference total offense leader (333.1 yards).
Wide receiver Hunter Robinson (senior, Lisbon) is 13th nationally in punt returns (12.9 yards per return) and is the league leader as well. He's also 12th in Division III in touchdown catches (14). Receiver Erik Knaack (junior, Reinbeck, Gladbrook-Reinbeck HS) is 28th in touchdown catches (11).
Alberts is third in Division III in field goal percentage (.909, 10-11) and 20th in field goals per game (1.00). He kicked a 48-yarder this year and last year had Division III's longest boot with a school-record 55-yard kick.
Record watch—Hawkins has shattered most of Central's career passing records, including marks for passing yards (6,424), touchdown passes (73), total offense (7,829 yards). and TDs responsible for (96).
One of the few career passing records without Hawkins' name on it is pass completions. Tim Connell (2004-07) completed 495 of 891 throws with 33 interceptions. Hawkins stands second at 473 of 719.
On the season list, Saturday Hawkins broke Connell's 2007 record for TD passes with 38 and tied Connell's total offense mark with 3,331. He also moved up to second in pass completions (210), 18 behind Connell's 2007 total. He's second in passing yards with 2,837, trailing Connell by 247. He's already set the mark for TDs responsible for with 46.
Hawkins has twice thrown for a record six touchdowns in a game this fall and set the single-game passing yards mark of 421 yards (24-28-0) and total offense record of 499 yards at Simpson Nov. 2.
Knaack moved into fifth in career pass receiving yards (1,782), is tied for tied for sixth in career TD catches (20) and is ninth in career pass receptions (106). Robinson is tied for 10th in TD catches (15).
On the season charts, Knaack is fifth in receiving yards (971) and is bidding to become the third player in school history to reach the 1,000-yard mark. He's fifth in season receptions (55). Robinson holds the season TD receptions record (14) with Knaack tied for fifth (11).
Alberts is tied for third in career field goals (32), fourth in career extra points (137), and sixth in career scoring (233 points). With at least a game remaining, he's second in career extra-point percentage at 96.5 (137-142) and first in career field goal percentage at 88.9 (32-36).
For the year, Alberts is a school-record 53-53 on extra points and 10-11 on field goals to rank first in percentage in both categories. He's fifth in season field goals.
Notes—This is Central's 23rd nine-win season and the first since the Dutch went 10-1 in 2009…The Dutch have topped the 40-point mark in eight of their 10 games, the most in school history. They're averaging 42.5 points a game while giving up 27.9. The school scoring record is 43.5, set in 1989…Central has had six 500-yard games…Central's last playoff win was a 37-7 victory over Saint John's (Minn.) in a 2007 second-round game at Pella… Hawkins has passed or thrown for a touchdown in all 10 games this year. He's thrown for three or more touchdowns in eight…With four catches in Central's 31-21 victory at Coe College last Saturday, Tanner Schminke (junior, Boone) reached the 40-reception mark. That gives the Dutch three receivers with 40 or more catches for the first time in school history. Knaack has 58 and Robinson has 53…This is Central's seventh home game of the season, the most since the Dutch played a record eight at Schipper Stadium in 2007.
QB 3 Blaine Hawkins (5-11, 200, jr.)
RB 8 Jason Hopp (6-0, 225, so.)
SB 1 Caleb Schlatter (5-11, 200, jr.)
TE 83 Ross Norem (6-3, 230, sr.)
WR 11 Erik Knaack (6-0, 190, jr.)
WR 2 Hunter Robinson (6-0, 190, sr.)
LT 68 Cody Smith (6-4, 295, sr.)
LG 53 Jake Suggett (6-0, 300, sr.)
C 70 Ian Den Herder (6-0, 270, fr.)
RG 58 Josh Mayhew (6-1, 260, jr.)
RT 70 Travis Wagner (6-5, 270, jr.)
DL 85 Matt Glockel (6-0, 245, jr.)
NG 52 Tom Adolph (5-11, 250, so.)
DL 92 Blade Durbala (6-1, 285, jr.)
OLB 33 Tate O'Tool (5-11, 185, sr.)
ILB 9 Drew Smith (5-9, 195, so.)
ILB 12 Connor Lewin (6-1, 195, sr.)
OLB 54 Hunter Maddy (6-3, 220, jr.)
CB 14 Danny Anderson (6-1, 190, sr.)
SS 22 Jordy Borman (5-10, 170, sr.)
FS 4 Brayden Egli (6-1, 180, so.)
CB 13 Tre Wilridge III (5-7, 145, jr.)
K 19 Jon Alberts (5-11, 180, jr.)
P 14 Danny Anderson (6-1, 190, sr.)
KR 12 Connor Lewin (6-1, 195, sr.)
8 Jason Hopp (6-0, 225, so.)
PR 2 Hunter Robinson (6-0, 180, sr.)
14 Danny Anderson (6-1, 190, sr.)
LS 46 Justin Thomas (6-0, 185, fr.)
H 10 Tanner Schminke (6-0, 180, jr.)
NCAA Division III first-round playoff games
All games Saturday at noon, local time
Wis.-Oshkosh (8-2) at Central (9-1)
Martin Luther (Minn.) (9-1) at Wheaton (Ill.) (10-0)
Linfield (Ore.) (8-1) at Chapman (Calif.) (8-0)
Aurora (Ill.) (9-1) at Saint John's (Minn.) (9-1)
Redlands (Calif.) (9-1) at Mary Hardin-Baylor (Texas) (10-0)
Huntingdon (7-3) at Berry (Ga.) (9-1)
Monmouth (Ill.) (7-2) at Wis.-Whitewater (9-1)
Wartburg (9-1) at Hope (Mich.) (9-1)
SUNY-Maritime (5-5) at Salisbury (Md.) (9-0)
Case Western Reserve (Ohio) (9-1) at Union (N.Y.) (10-0)
MIT (7-2) at Muhlenberg (10-0)
Brockport State (N.Y.) (8-2) at Western New England (Mass.) (9-1)
Hanover (Ind.) (9-1) at Mount Union (Ohio) 10-0
Wabash (Ind.) (7-3) at North Central (Ill.) (9-1)
Framingham State (8-2) at Wesley (9-1)
Delaware Valley (9-1) at Bridgewater (10-0)
NCAA Division III West Region rankings
1. Chapman (Calif.) 9-0
2. Wis.-Whitewater 8-1
3. Redlands (Calif.) 91
4. Saint John's (Minn.) 9-1
5. Central 9-1
6. Wartburg 9-1
7.. Wis.-Oshkosh 8-2
8. Linfield (Ore.) 8-1
9. Monmouth (Ill.) 7-2
10. Wisconsin-La Crosse 7-2
2019 American Football Coaches Association Division III Coaches' Poll – November 18, 2019
Rank School (1st votes) Rec. Pts. Prev. Last Week Next Game
1. Mary Hardin-Baylor (Tex.) (38) 10-0 1310 1 D. Sul Ross St. (Tex.), 77-14 Nov. 23 vs. No. 22 Redlands
2. Mount Union (Ohio) (15) 10-0 1287 2 D. Marietta (Ohio), 69-7 Nov. 23 vs. Hanover (Ind.)
3. Wheaton (Ill.) 10-0 1208 4 D. Elmhurst (Ill.), 58-0 Nov. 23 vs. Martin Luther (Minn.)
4. Muhlenberg (Pa.) 10-0 1153 5 D. Moravian (Pa.), 52-7 Nov. 23 vs. MIT (Mass.)
5. North Central (Ill.) 9-1 1070 6 D. Millikin (Ill.), 59-32 Nov. 23 vs. Wabash (Ind.)
6. Salisbury (Md.) 9-0 983 7 D. William Paterson (N.J.), 42-13 Nov. 23 vs. SUNY-Maritime
7. John Carroll (Ohio) 9-1 964 8 D. Baldwin Wallace (Ohio), 17-10 Season Complete
8. St. John's (Minn.) 9-1 889 11 D. Rose-Hulman (Ind.), 47-14 Nov. 23 vs. Aurora (Ill.)
9. Delaware Valley (Pa.) 9-1 866 9 D. Widener (Pa.), 28-21 Nov. 23 at No. 20 Bridgewater (Va.)
10. Wisconsin-Whitewater 9-1 807 3 Lost to Wisconsin-Oshkosh, 27-20 Nov. 23 vs. Monmouth (Ill.)
11. Wesley (Del.) 9-1 794 12 D. Christopher Newport, 42-7 Nov. 23 vs. Framingham St.
12. Hardin-Simmons (Tex.) 8-2 678 13 D. Southwestern (Tex.), 49-6 Season Complete
13. Chapman (Calif.) 9-0 646 14 D. La Verne (Calif.), 28-17 Nov. 23 vs. No. 15 Linfield (Ore.)
14. Union (N.Y.) 10-0 633 16 D. Rensselaer (N.Y.), 33-0 Nov. 23 vs. No. 25 Case Western
15. Linfield (Ore.) 8-1 507 17 D. George Fox (Ore.), 24-17 Nov. 23 at No. 13 Chapman
16. Susquehanna (Pa.) 9-1 488 18 D. Juniata (Pa.), 63-7 Nov. 23 vs. Wilkes (Pa.)
17. Wartburg (Iowa) 9-1 446 19 D. Loras (Iowa), 48-7 Nov. 23 at Hope (Mich.)
18. St. Thomas (Minn.) 8-2 427 21 D. No. 10 Bethel (Minn.), 17-7 Season Compete
19. Berry (Ga.) 9-1 370 20 D. Austin College (Tex.), 55-28 Nov. 23 vs. Huntingdon (Ala.)
20. Bridgewater (Va.) 10-0 335 22 D. Guilford (N.C.), 41-7 Nov. 23 vs. No. 9 Delaware Valley
21. Wisconsin-Oshkosh 8-2 334 NR D. No. 3 Wis.-Whitewater, 27-20 Nov. 23 at No. 23 Central
22. Redlands (Calif.) 9-1 270 23 D. Occidental 67-12 Nov. 23 at No. 1 Mary Hardin-Baylor
23. Central 9-1 241 24 D. Coe (Iowa), 31-21 Nov. 23 vs. No. 21 Wis.-Oshkosh
24. Bethel (Minn.) 8-2 224 10 Lost to No. 21 St. Thomas (Minn.),17-7 Season Complete
25. Case Western Reserve (Ohio) 9-1 87 15 Lost to Carnegie Mellon (Pa.), 24-21 Nov. 23 at No. 14 Union
Dropped out: Brockport (N.Y.) (25)
Others receiving votes: Hope (Mich.), 41; Texas Lutheran, 33; Wisconsin-La Crosse, 29; Hanover (Ind.), 21; Middlebury (Vt.), 17; Brockport (N.Y.), 14; Martin Luther (Minn.), 13; Western New England (Mass.), 9; Trinity (Tex.), 8; Whitworth (Wash.), 7; Ithaca (N.Y.), 5; Wisconsin-Platteville, 3; Randolph-Macon (Va.), 2; Carnegie Mellon (Pa.), 1; Cortland (N.Y.), 1; Dubuque (Iowa), 1; Framingham St. (Mass.), 1; Hobart (N.Y.), 1; Wesleyan (Conn.), 1.
D3football.com top 25
|Rank||School (No. 1 votes)||W-L||Points||Prev.|
|1||Mount Union (14)||10-0||614||1|
|2||Mary Hardin-Baylor (11)||10-0||607||2|
|5||North Central (Ill.)||9-1||507||6|
Dropped out: No. 20 Case Western Reserve; No. 22 Brockport.
Others receiving votes: Texas Lutheran 23; Case Western Reserve 18; Brockport 14; Ithaca 14; Hope 14; Hanover 10; Middlebury 9; Stevenson 7; Aurora 4; Carnegie Mellon 2; Trinity (Texas) 1; WPI 1.
Original source can be found here.