Wartburg’s Sacia Is Finalist For Division III’s Top Award
Matt Sacia is hoping to hear his named called when the Gagliardi Trophy is presented to the most outstanding football player in NCAA Division III Wednesday night (Dec. 13, 2017).
The Wartburg Knights' junior quarterback is among four student-athletes being considered for the prestigious award, which is equivalent to the Heisman Trophy. Sacia is the first player from Wartburg to be named a finalist and invited to attend the ceremony in Salem, Va., which begins at 6:30 p.m. (Central Time).
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This year, Sacia became only the second quarterback in school history to lead Wartburg to a 12-win season. The Knights advanced to the NCAA playoff quarterfinals before suffering a 41-27 setback at No. 3 Wisconsin-Oshkosh on Dec. 2. Wartburg tied program records for season wins (12), postseason victories (2) and games played (13).
Sacia set six individual records at Wartburg in 2017, while completing 243 of 360 passes for 3,221 yards with three interceptions. He established new single-season marks for passing yards, passing touchdowns (35), pass completion percentage (67.5), pass efficiency (173.1) and total touchdowns (40). Sacia also ran for 127 yards and five scores.
The Iowa Conference (IIAC) voted Sacia the league's offensive most valuable player after the Knights completed their fifth unbeaten regular season (10-0) in school history.
Given annually since 1993, the Gagliardi Trophy recognizes excellence in athletics, academics and community service. The award is presented each year by Jostens and the J-Club of Saint John's University of Minnesota. The trophy is named after legendary St. John’s Hall of Fame Head Coach John Gagliardi, who retired in 2012 with the most career victories (489) in college football history.
The 25th Gagliardi Trophy is being presented two days ahead of the Stagg Bowl, the Division III national title game. Mount Union (Ohio) will play Mary-Hardin-Baylor (Texas) for the championship in Salem, Va., Friday night (Dec. 15).
Joining Sacia at the awards ceremony will be Wisconsin-La Crosse wide receiver Nick Holcomb, Wisconsin-Oshkosh quarterback Brett Kasper, and Springfield College (Mass.) fullback Jordan Wilcox. Sacia is the only junior among the group of finalists. The others are seniors. All four were among 10 semifinalists announced in November.