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The huddle

November 15, 2017

Top Five Division 3 Football Stadiums

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There is a wide range of Division 3 Stadiums that could be considered among the most fantastic facilities at the D3 level. There are certain aspects of judging a stadium that is in the eyes of the beholder, but these five stadiums stand apart from others in size, capacity, and general attendance. We picked five Division 3 college football stadiums and ranked them in order of size, which correlates directly with home field advantage in most cases.

Perkins Field – University of Wisconsin

1. At the top of the list is Perkins Field, home of the University of Wisconsin Warhawks. Perkins Field is a monstrosity within the spectrum of Division 3 athletics, seating 13,500 spectators. It is almost double the size of most of the other most significant stadiums in Division 3 football, making this location a standout. The stadium is named for Mr. Forrest Perkins because he spearheaded the construction of the stadium in 1970. This stadium is the perfect place to foster a tradition of success at home to the 6-time national champion Warhawks. The Warhawks have won all six national championships within the last ten years, the most recent being in 2014. Further boosting their tradition of success, this program has sent more than 20 athletes to the play professionally in the NFL and CFL since the stadium’s construction in 1970. Big names out of UW-Whitewater include Derek Stanley, Matt Blanchard, and Jake Kumerow. It’s safe to say that these success stories are a product of their environment. With a winning tradition and the Division 3 outlier that is Perkins Field, this program will continue to be interesting to watch as they continue to grow and succeed within the tradition of Division 3 Football.

JJ Keller Field – University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh

2. Coming in at a close second is JJ Keller Field at Titan Stadium. This stadium is the home to the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. The stadium is not nearly as marvelous to behold as Perkins Field but still seats 9,800 people. This stadium was also built in 1970 and was recently upgraded in 2004 thanks to contributions from both public and private entities including JJ Keller and Associates. This stadium is complete with an Olympic-quality, 9-lane running track and synthetic turf for the football/soccer field that is designed to reduce the risk of injury. The Titans are an up-and-coming program in Division 3 football, recently boasting their best season in history in 2012. They are large competitors and claim notable alumni like Hal Robl, Eber Simpson, and Milt Wilson. Although the Titans have not recently sent any players to the NFL or another professional league, they have a strong traditional culture and continue to push for excellence within NCAA Division 3 football.

The Natural Bowl – Saint John’s University

3. This stadium, also known as “The Natural Bowl,” in Collegeville, Minnesota also boasts all-time Division 3 record for attendance at 17,327 people! The stadium is nestled in the side of a U-shaped hill, and it is surrounded on three sides by trees to give it a natural beauty and aesthetic unlike any other stadium in the country. Saint John’s has a solid program with a rich history and is the alma mater quarterback Bob Shepard who later became the PA announcer for the New York Yankees.

Crusader Stadium – University of Mary Hardin-Baylor

4. Crusader Stadium, home of the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor Crusaders. The Crusaders won the NCAA Division 3 national championship in 2016. The stadium seats 7,671 fans and includes locker rooms, meeting rooms, concession stands, press boxes, and suites that are a staple holding together this amazing facility.

The UMHB Cru finished the 2017 regular season ranked at #1 in both national polls. The Cru has been building a phenomenal program for a long time, and upon their last game of the regular season, they achieved their 25th consecutive victory over East Texas Baptist, 31-21. The Cru is in a great position to pursue another national championship this year. Two former student-athletes from UMHB are currently making an impact in professional football. Their names are Jerrell Freeman and Nate Menkin. The Tennessee Titans drafted Freeman in 2008, and he now plays linebacker for the Chicago Bears. Menkin was picked up as an undrafted free agent by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2014 and is currently playing in the CFL for the Ottawa RedBlacks as an offensive tackle. UMHB has become a powerhouse within Division 3 football, making Crusader Stadium a destination for watching phenomenal football games in a great environment.

Cortland Stadium – SUNY Cortland

5. Last but not least is the SUNY Cortland Stadium Complex. Also known as the “Red Field,” this stadium was constructed in 2002, and the complex contains two artificial turf fields, one dedicated to football, and the other to soccer. The Cortland Red Dragons have a football tradition that dates back to 1893, making them a staple in the rich history of Division 3 football. The stadium seats 6,500 fans. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this complex is that the grandstands for the “Red Field,” which is the football field, and the “White Field,” the soccer field. Both fields are joined together by a common walkway. R-Kal K-Quan Truluck is a graduate of the SUNY Cortland football program and bounced back and forth between the CFL and NFL. He played for the Washington Redskins, Kansas City Chiefs, and the Arizona Cardinals before going to finish his career in in the CFL with the Montreal Alouettes. The “Red Field” has an 18 by 36-foot scoreboard with a nine by 14-foot video screen. The gritty ambiance of the “Red Field” has been one of Upstate New York’s favorite locations for college football for years, and will no doubt continue to ‘wow’ crowds for as long as the SUNY Cortland Red Dragons continue to lace up their cleats.

Images courtesy of D3football, University of Wisconsin Whitewater, News and Events, Populous, panoramio.comD3boards.com, Pinterest, The LA Group, and Wall Street Journal.