#2 Mount Union Hosts #18 Delaware Valley in NCAA Playoffs

Cecil Shorts III (Cleveland/Collinwood) has 10 touchdowns in his last three games (Photo by JT Higgins).
Cecil Shorts III (Cleveland/Collinwood) has 10 touchdowns in his last three games (Photo by JT Higgins).

2010 University of Mount Union Football - NCAA Playoffs
#2 Mount Union Purple Raiders (11-0) vs
Delaware Valley (Pa.) Aggies (9-2)
Saturday, Nov. 27, 2010 - 12 pm
Mount Union Stadium (Alliance, Ohio)

WDPN 1310 AM (Alliance): LISTEN LIVE
WRMU 91.1 FM (Alliance): LISTEN LIVE

LIVE STATS: Click Here

Complete Mount Union Game Notes in PDF Format: CLICK HERE

Delaware Valley: Roster | Schedule | Statistics | Staff | Media Guide


No. 2 ranked Mount Union hosts No. 18 ranked Delaware Valley in the second round of the 2010 NCAA Division III Football Championship Saturday at noon at Mount Union Stadium in Alliance, Ohio.

The Purple Raiders are 11-0 after a 49-0 win over St. Lawrence in the first round. Mount Union won its 19th straight and 22nd Ohio Athletic Conference title to claim the OAC's automatic bid. Mount Union is making its 22nd NCAA playoff appearance with a record of 66-11 (.855) in the playoffs with 10 national championships (1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2008). Mount Union has played in the Stagg Bowl national championship game 13 times.

Delaware Valley is 9-2 and won the Middle Atlantic Conference for an automatic bid to the NCAA Playoffs. The Aggies are making their fourth playoff appearance and have a 6-3 record in the playoffs. Delaware Valley knocked off Salisbury (Md.) in the first round 23-12.


All Mount Union football playoff games will be broadcast on the radio on WDPN 1310 AM and WRMU 91.1 FM and simulcast online along with a LIVE STATS game tracker at http://athletics.mountunion.edu. Ric Brienza and Mark Grossman broadcast the games on the radio on WDPN 1310 AM. You can listen to Mount Union's student radio feed on WRMU 91.1 FM on any phone by calling (330) 445-7900.


The two schools have never met on the football field. Mount Union is 3-0 against current members of the Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) as the Raiders beat Lycoming (PA) 61-12 in the 1997 Stagg Bowl, a 70-30 win over Widener (PA) in the national semifinals in 2000, and a 55-3 win against Albright (Pa.) last year in the national quarterfinals. Delaware Valley has only played one game against a member of the OAC as they suffered a 27-0 loss to Ohio Northern in 1970.


Larry Kehres (Mount Union '71) is 300-22-3 (.927) in his 25th season as head coach as one of the most successful coaches in college football history as he is one of only 11 coaches in college football history to win at least 300 games. His teams have won 21 OAC Championships, including the last 19 in a row, along with 10 of the last 17 NCAA Division III National Championships. This year he is president of the American Football Coaches Association.

Jim Clements (Widener, Pa. '96) is 40-15 (.702) in his fifth year as head coach of the Aggies and holds a 39-15 record. He has led Delaware Valley to three consecutive MAC championships and two straight trips to the NCAA Division III playoffs. Clements was an assistant coach at Widener and an assistant head coach/defensive coordinator at Delaware Valley for two years before being elevated to head coach. He still retains the title of defensive coordinator.


For the sixth year the NCAA Division III Football Championship consists of a 32-team field. For perspective, in Mount Union's first appearance in the playoffs in 1985, the field was 16 teams. This year's field breaks down like this: Automatic bids will be given to 23 conference champions, three spots are reserved for teams that are independents or in conferences not granted automatic bids and the final six spots are national at-large bids.


The winner of this game plays the winner of a matchup between Alfred (N.Y.) and Cortland State (N.Y.) in the national quarterfinals (round of 8) next Saturday at noon.


Delaware Valley started out its season with a pair of wins against playoff team Muhlenberg (Pa.) and then-nationally ranked Washington & Jefferson. The Aggies then took a loss to No. 3 ranked Wesley before ripping off six-straight wins to win the MAC title. Delaware Valley was ranked as high No. 8 in the nation before a regular season ending loss to Widener.

The offense is led by senior running back Matt Cook, who holds every school single-season and career rushing record. This season he has 1183 yards on 233 carries with 18 TD's to earn MAC Offensive Player of the Year honors and spark a rushing attack that averages nearly 200 yards a game. Senior Mark Hatty has completed 60-percent of his passes for 2,373 yards with 20 TD's and 10 interceptions. His top targets are fellow seniors Dan Heiland (50 rec., 733 yds, 2 TD) and Joe Gionfriddo (37 rec., 492 yds, 7 TD's).

The Aggies 3-4 defense has held the opposition to just 230 yards and 11.8 points per game with 39 sacks and 17 interceptions. Senior linebacker Kyle Gesswein is the MAC Defensive Player of the Year and leads the unit. Gesswein, an All-American last year, is the school's all-time leader in sacks (39) that has 67 tackles, nine sacks, two blocked kicks, a forced fumble and a safety this season. Junior linebacker Chris James leads the team in tackles with 75, junior Mike Jaskowski has 9.5 sacks while junior defensive backs Ryan McCullough and Troy Green each have three interceptions.


With a win last week against St. Lawrence, Larry Kehres became the 11th coach in college football to win at least 300 games. Here is a list of the others.

478 John Gagliardi * (Carroll, Mont.; St. John's, Minn.)

408 Eddie Robinson (Grambling State)

400 Joe Paterno * (Penn State)

377 Bobby Bowden (Samford, West Virginia, Florida State)

323 Paul "Bear" Bryant (Alabama, Maryland, Kentucky, Texas A&M)

319 Pop Warner (Georgia, Carlisle, Pitt, Stanford, Temple)

314 Roy Kidd (Eastern Kentucky)

314 Amos Alonzo Stagg (Springfield, Chicago, Pacific)

305 Frosty Westering (Parsons, Lea, Pacific Lutheran)

300 Tubby Raymond (Delaware)

300 Larry Kehres * (Mount Union)

* Active


Mount Union's win-loss record since 2000

55, 54
The Raiders hold the NCAA's two longest consecutive college football win streaks -- 55 from 2000-2003 and 54 from 1996-99

Mount Union's record in the NCAA Playoffs

game regular season win streak for Mount Union dating back to a 21-14 loss to Ohio Northern in Alliance on Oct. 22, 2005.

game home winning streak for Mount Union dating back to a 21-14 loss to Ohio Northern in Alliance on Oct. 22, 2005.

consecutive regular season road victories for Mount Union dating back to a 21-18 loss at Baldwin-Wallace on Sept. 28, 1991.

Since 1996, the Raiders record when winning the turnover battle.

The Raiders record since 1990 when winning the turnover battle. That lone loss was a 20-17 loss to Wisconsin-LaCrosse in a 1995 national semifinal game in Alliance. In that game, the Raiders had a +1 turnover margin.

Mount Union has hosted 45-straight playoff games (not including Stagg Bowl that is played at a neutral site) dating back to a national semifinal vs. Wis.-LaCrosse in 1996 at Camp Randall Stadium, which the Raiders won 39-21.


Larry Kehres is in his 25th season as head coach but 36th season working at Mount Union as he spent 10 seasons (1975-84) as an assistant coach to Ken Wable then in 1985 worked only as director of athletics before becoming head football coach and director of athletics in 1986. You might not know, he was also the first swimming coach at Mount Union.

Eight of 11 Mount Union opponents have been held to 200 yards or less of total offense. The Raiders are No. 2 in the nation in total defense allowing 191.0 yards per game. They have also not allowed a point in the last 11 quarters.


Senior wide receiver Cecil Shorts III (Cleveland/Collinwood) caught three touchdowns last week and has 10 touchdowns over the last three weeks -- an 80 yd. kickoff return, a 54 yd. punt return and eight receiving TD's He enters this week with a school-record 229 catches for 4,223 yards with 59 TD's in 51 career games.

(NOTE: Prior to 2002, playoff games did not count in NCAA statistics, if those stats counted Adam Marino (1997-2000) would have 272 rec. for 4,704 yds with 52 TD's).


Senior defensive end Lambert Budzinski (Canton/Massillon Jackson) had two of the Raiders four sacks against St. Lawrence which makes him second in the nation with 15.0 sacks. The Raiders have 40 sacks in 2010 which is good for the third highest total in the nation. Sophomore defensive end Charles Dieuseul (Winter Haven, Fla./Lake Region) is next with 7.0 sacks while freshman defensive end Nyejel Thomas (Pittsburgh, Pa./Central Catholic) has come off the bench with 6.5 sacks.


Sophomore defensive back Nick Driskill (Wabash, Ind./Southwood) had his team-best fifth interception of the season last week against St. Lawrence. Senior defensive back Brett Fimbinger (Dearborn, Mich./Dearborn) also had a pick which made him the 10th different player to have at least one of the Raiders 21 interceptions on the season.


A record seven University of Mount Union football players have been awarded ESPN Academic All-District IV honors as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America.

Senior tight end Kyle Miller (Elida/Elida), senior linebacker Sam Kershaw (West Jefferson/West Jefferson), junior safety Alex Ferrara (Independence/Walsh Jesuit), sophomore defensive back Nick Driskill (Wabash, Ind./Southwood), and sophomore punter Zak Suhar (Cedarburg, Wis./Cedarburg) are all first team selections and will advance to the national Academic All-America ballot.

Junior offensive lineman Brett Ekkens (East Kentwood, Mich./East Kentwood) and sophomore quarterback Neal Seaman (Louisville/Louisville) both garnered second team honors.


Former Mount Union wide receiver Pierre Garcon is in his third season with the NFL's Indianapolis Colts, had five catches for 62 yards in the Colts 31-28 loss to the New England Patriots. Garcon had a breakout season in 2009 as he started 16 games including Super Bowl XLIV where he caught one of his six touchdowns on the season. Against the NY Jets in the AFC Championship game, he had 11 catches for 151 yards and his post-game celebration that included waiving a Haiti flag (birthplace of his parents) made national news headlines as he was bringing awareness to the nation that was ravaged by an earthquake just days before the game. This past offseason he returned to Mount Union and completed his bachelor's degree in communications. He had 3,363 yards and 47 touchdowns receiving in three seasons at Mount Union. He played his freshman season at Norwich (Vt.) and in 2008 the Colts drafted him in the sixth round (208 overall).

Nick Sirianni '03 is in his second season as an assistant coach (offensive quality control) with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Mount Union alum Dom Capers '72 is the defense coordinator for a Green Bay Packers.

Former Mount Union quarterback Kurt Rocco has signed a contract to play for the Cleveland Gladiators of the Arena Football League.

Former Mount Union wide reciever Brandon Boehm has signed a contract to play for the Northern Kentucky River Monsters of the Ultimate Indoor Football Leauge. Boehm was a three-year letterwinner (2005-07) who had 91 catches for 1,178 yards.