UW-Oshkosh looks to continue its outstanding success in season openers when it kicks off the 2011 football campaign at home against Central College (Iowa) on Saturday (Sept. 3). Game time is 1 p.m. at J.J. Keller Field at Titan Stadium.
UW-Oshkosh, which went 4-6 last year, has been victorious in 27 of its past 30 season openers. UW-Oshkosh and Central College met to begin the 2010 campaign, with the Dutch posting a 34-28 victory in Pella, Iowa. Ranked seventh in the nation at the time, Central converted nine straight third downs to dominate the second half. Nate Snead led the charge with 257 passing yards, 76 rushing yards and four total touchdowns.
Central College received 64 points in the D3football.com preseason poll to unofficially rank 28th in the NCAA Division III. The Dutch return four All-Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (IIAC) selections from last year's 8-2 team, with brothers Nate Snead (quarterback) and Jeremy Snead (wide receiver) earning all-league honors in both 2009 and 2010. Nate Snead racked up 1,510 passing yards, 642 rushing yards and 27 scores last season, while Jeremy Snead was on the receiving end of 597 yards and seven touchdowns. Junior running back Ross Doehrmann is also back after recording 522 rushing yards one season ago.
Central College allowed just 256 yards per game and yielded 10 points or fewer in half of its contests a year ago. The IIAC's toughest defensive unit surrendered just 79 rushing yards per game. The leading tackler was defensive back Ryan Schmidt, who totaled 54 stops in 2010. Linebackers Keith Rush (44 tackles) and Seth Carson (33) add more quality experience to the squad.
UW-Oshkosh returns seven starters on offense, including quarterback Nate Wara (Jr. • Oshkosh) who totaled 2,135 yards and 22 touchdowns passing with just four interceptions. He also rushed for 555 yards and five touchdowns to lead the team and collect All-Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) honors. Running back Charlie Weissman (Sr. • Colgate) was next in rushing with 393 yards. At wide receiver, Garrie Fox (Sr. • Madison) earned 2010 All-WIAC second team honors after catching 47 passes for 716 yards and nine touchdowns.
The Titans had the second-ranked pass defense in the league last season, allowing 186 yards per game. Eight starters on that side of the ball return, including All-WIAC second-team defensive end Vince Sciano (Sr. • Franklin) who totaled 49 tackles. Linebacker Taylor Goodman (Jr. • South Wayne) recorded 61 tackles last year to lead all returnees. Another defensive returnee is linebacker Nick Jolin (Jr. • Three Lakes), who posted 47 tackles and two pass interceptions last season.
UW-Oshkosh, just like Central College, is predicted to finish third in its conference this fall.