GAME PREVIEW - #2 Mount Union Hosts #14 Bethel in NCAA Semifinals
2010 University of Mount Union Football - NCAA Playoffs
#2 Mount Union Purple Raiders (13-0) vs
Bethel (Minn.) Royals (12-1)
Saturday, Dec. 11, 2010 - 12 pm
Mount Union Stadium (Alliance, Ohio)
Jeff Shreve (play-by-play), Harry Paidas (color)
WIVM Ch. 52 (Tape Delay - Sat. Dec. 11 at 6 pm, Sun. Dec. 12 at 1 pm)
SportsTime Ohio (Tape Delay - Sat. Dec. 11 at 6 pm; Sun. Dec. 12 at Noon)
Complete Mount Union Game Notes in PDF Format: CLICK HERE
No. 2 Mount Union hosts No. 14 Bethel (Minn.) in the semifinals of the 2010 NCAA Division III Football Championship Saturday at noon at Mount Union Stadium in Alliance, Ohio.
The Purple Raiders are 13-0 after a 37-7 win against Alfred in the quarterfinals. 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 68-11 (.855) in the playoffs with 10 national championships (1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2008). Mount Union is in the semifinals for the 16th straight year and has played in the Stagg Bowl national championship game 13 times.
Bethel (12-1) earned an at-large bid after finishing second in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC). The Royals are making their sixth playoff appearance with a 6-5 record in NCAA ganes and have won three-straight playoff road games this year.
MOUNT UNION FOOTBALL ON TV, RADIO AND ONLINE
The game will be broadcast on the radio on WDPN 1310 AM and WRMU 91.1 FM and simulcast online along with a LIVE STATS and LIVE VIDEO 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 game will also be broadcast on TV (tape delay) in Canton/Stark County on WIVM Ch. 52 and regional cable sports network SportsTime Ohio.
This will be the second ever meeting between the two schools and a rematch of the 2007 national semifinals where Mount Union got a 62-14 win in Alliance. Including that win, the Raiders have a 4-1 record against MIAC schools. Mount Union has a 3-1 record against St. John's (Minn.).
Larry Kehres (Mount Union '71) is 302-22-3 (.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.
Steve Johnson (Bethel, Minn. '79) is 156-73-1 (.680) in his 23rd season as head coach of the Royals. He is a five-time Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Coach of the Year, a two-time West Region Coach of the Year and has led Bethel to the NCAA Playoffs six times over the last 11 seasons.
PLAYOFFS ... TALKING ABOUT PLAYOFFS
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.
UP NEXT ...
The winner of this game plays the winner of a matchup between UW-Whitewater and Wesley (Del.) in next week's national championship game -- the Stagg Bowl. The game will be at 3:30 pm in Salem, Va. and broadcast on national TV on ESPNU.
KEHRES NAMED AFCA REGIONAL COACH OF THE YEAR
Larry Kehres was named American Football Coaches Association Regional Coach of the Year for a record 15th time.
Kehres has led the Purple Raiders to their 19th straight and 22nd overall OAC championship and a 16th straight appearance in the NCAA Playoff semifinals. He also became the 11th coach in college football history to win 300 career games this season and is currently 302-22-3 in his 25th season as head coach.
It was also a record for consecutive regional coach of the year honors (5) and Mount Union as a school now has a record 16 selections (Ken Wable 1, Larry Kehres 15).
Kehres is also the current president of the AFCA.
SCOUTING THE ROYALS
Bethel has literally been on a quite a run as the Royals have won three-straight road playoff games over nationally ranked teams by using a dominating rushing attack along with an equally dominating run defense.
On the ground on offense for the Royals is senior tailback Logan Flannery, who rushed for 200 yards last week at St. Thomas to become Bethel's and the MIAC's all-time rushing leader with 5,253 yards. This season Flannery has rushed 303 times for 1,857 yards (142.8 per game) and backfield mates Kevin Lindh (105 carries, 637 yds, 8 TD) and Josh Aakre (153 carries, 612 yds, 6 TD) as the Royals average 256.8 yards rushing a game. Aakre is also the quarterback and he has thrown for 1,430 yards with 12 TD's and 8 INT's. Mitch Hallstrom is the top receiver with 38 catches for 462 yds with 4 TD's.
The defense is the nation's No. 4 total defense (227.38 yards per game) and No. 4 scoring defense (11.23 points per game). Junior linebacker Billy Morgan leads the unit with 81.5 tackles with 3.5 sacks, junior defensive back David Vavra has a team-best six interceptions, while senior nose guard Trent Pearson has 5.0 sacks.
The kicking game is a question for the Royals as they are 2-for-7 on field goals and have missed 10 extra points on the season.
BY THE NUMBERS
Mount Union's win-loss record since 2000
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 47-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.
With a win 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)
401 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)
302 Larry Kehres * (Mount Union)
300 Tubby Raymond (Delaware)
LUCKY 13 FOR SHORTS
All-American senior wide receiver Cecil Shorts III (Cleveland/Collinwood) has scored 13 touchdowns over the last four weeks after being out for a month -- an 80 yd. kickoff return, a 54 yd. punt return, 10 receiving TD's and a rushing TD. He caught a 20-yard touchdown pass and ran in five yard touchdown against Delaware Valley. He enters this week with 59 yards shy of his third straight 1,000-yard season receiving (59 catches, 941 yds., 16 TD). He also has a school-record 248 catches for 4,450 yards with 61 TD's in 53 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).
DIEUSEUL FUELING DEFENSE
Sophomore defensive end Charles Dieusel (Winter Haven, Fla./Lake Region) had 1.5 sacks and forced a fumbled on the first play of the second half that Nick Driskill (Wabash, Ind./Southwood) returned for a touchdown. Dieuseul now has nine sacks and three forced fumbles. Fellow defensive end senior defensive end Lambert Budzinski (Canton/Massillon Jackson) leads the unit with a school single-season record 17.0 sacks. The Raiders have 47 sacks in 2010 which is good for the second highest total in the nation.
MURRAY MAKES HIS WAY INTO RECORD BOOK
Sophomore running back Jeremy Murray (Martins Ferry/Martins Ferry) had his second-straight and seventh 100-yard rushing performance of the season with 33 carries for 122 yards against Alfred. Murray now has 283 carries for 1525 yards on the season which is the fifth-best single-season yardage total in school history.
DID YOU KNOW?
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.
Nine of 13 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 allowed only one touchdown over the last 19 quarters.
Since the start of the 2006 season (a span of 73 games), Mount Union has had a sack in 71 of those games. The two games the Raiders did not register a sack was last season's Stagg Bowl against UW-Whitewater and the 2007 semifinal against Bethel.
PURPLE RAIDERS IN THE PROs
Former Mount Union wide receiver Pierre Garcon is in his third season with the NFL's Indianapolis Colts, had a 8 catches for 56 yards a touchdown and an 11 yard rush in the Colts 38-35 overtime loss to the Dalas Cowboys. 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.) in the Empire 8 against Alfred 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.