#2 Mount Union Starts Second Season Saturday Hosting Benedictine

The Mount Union defense is ranked No. 1 in the nation (Photo by JT Higgins)

#2 Mount Union Purple Raiders (10-0, 9-0 OAC) vs.
Benedictine University (7-3, 6-1 NATHC)
Sat., Nov. 19 - 12 pm - Mount Union Stadium (Alliance, Ohio)

TV:

Joe Tait (play-by-play), Harry Paidas (color): 
WIVM Ch. 52 (Tape Delay - Sat. Nov. 19 at 8 pm, Sun. Nov. 20 at 1 pm) 
SportsTime Ohio (Tape Delay - Sun. Nov. 20 at 5 am; Mon. Nov. 21 at Noon)

RADIO:

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

LIVE STATS: http://livestats.prestosports.com/mountunion

Complete Mount Union Game Notes in PDF Format: CLICK HERE

BENEDICTINE:

THE GAME

No. 2 ranked University of Mount Union hosts Benedictine (Ill.) University in the first round of the 2011 NCAA Division III Football Playoffs Saturday, Nov. 19 at noon at Mount Union Stadium in Alliance.

Mount Union just completed its sixth straight undefeated regular season with a 28-0 win over Muskingum and earned an automatic bid into the 32-team tournament by winning its 20th straight Ohio Athletic Conference championship. The Purple Raiders are making their 23rd NCAA Tournament appearance and has a 69-12 record in the NCAA Playoffs. Mount Union has advanced to the Stagg Bowl (National Championship game) 15 time and have won a record 10 National Championships.

Benedictine (7-3), located in Lisle -- a suburb of Chicago, Ill., started out the season 1-2 before winning six of its final seven games to win its second straight Northern Athletics Conference title. The Eagles are making their second-ever and second-straight NCAA Playoff appearance. A year ago they lost 57-10 at St. Thomas (Minn.) in an NCAA First Round game.

MOUNT UNION FOOTBALL ON TV, RADIO AND ONLINE

All Mount Union football games are broadcast on the radio on WDPN 1310 AM and WRMU 91.1 FM and simulcast online along with a LIVE STATS game tracker. You can also here the WRMU 91.1 FM feed on any phone by calling (330) 445-7900.

This game will be shown on television via tape delay on regional sports cable channel SportsTime Ohio and WIVM TV52 (Stark County), WIVN TV29 (New Philadelphia), Time Warner Cable (ch. 989-Stark County, ch. 99-Tuscarawas County), Massillion Cable (ch. 21) and Clear Picture Cable (ch. 21-Wayne County). Image Video produces the broadcasts with Joe Tait, who just finished a 39-year run as the radio voice of the Cleveland Cavaliers, does the play-by-play and Harry Paidas handles the color commentary.

THE SERIES

This will be the first ever meeting between the teams and the first time that Mount Union has played a team from the Northern Athletics Conference. The Raiders are 11-2 against teams from Illinois -- 3-2 vs. Augustana, 2-0 vs. Illinois Wesleyan and 6-0 vs. Wheaton


THE COACHES

Larry Kehres (Mount Union '71) is 313-23-3 (.927) in his 26th season as head coach and is 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 22 OAC Championships, including the last 20 in a row, along with 10 of the last 18 NCAA Division III National Championships. He is a past president of the American Football Coaches Association and this past summer was the offensive coordinator for Team USA as they won the gold medal in the IFAF World Championships.

Jon Cooper (North Park, Ill. '72) is 37-34 (.521) in his seventh season as head coach of the Eagles. He has led Benedictine to back-to-back Northern Athletics Conference titles and the first two NCAA Playoff appearances in school history. Prior to taking over at Benedictine, Cooper spent 19 years as an assistant coach at Aurora (Ill.) University.

UP NEXT ...

The winner of this game plays the winner of a matchup between Hampton-Sydney (Va.) and Centre (Ky.) next Saturday at noon. The NCAA will announce a site on Sunday.

SCOUTING THE EAGLES

Benedictine started the season 1-2 then went 6-1 in Northern Athletics Conference play to win its second straight league title.

Junior running back John Borsellino accounts for 216.7 all purpose yards per game for the Eagles. He leads the NATHC with 1,282 yards rushing and 17 TD's on the ground, he is third on the team in receiving with 272 yds and four TD's also his the primary punt and kick returner. Senior quarterback Matt Brown has completed 56-percent of his passes with 17 TD's and 7 interceptions. His top targets are a pair of seniors in Brandin Austin (45 rec. 643yds, 8 TD's) and Chris Schultz (34 rec., 596yds., 5 TD's).

The Eagles play a 4-3 defense and are led by junior linebackers Chris Buonavolanto and Trent Altieri as each have 89 and 88 tackles respectively while junior defensive lineman Ben Lockton has 87 stops with 23 of those for a loss along with 5.5 sacks. Senior defensive back Matt McWilliams has a team-best five interceptions.

BY THE NUMBERS

163-6
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

63
game regular season win streak for Mount Union dating back to a 21-14 loss to Ohio Northern in Alliance on Oct. 22, 2005.

56
game home winning streak for Mount Union dating back to a 21-14 loss to Ohio Northern in Alliance on Oct. 22, 2005.

104
consecutive regular season road victories for Mount Union dating back to a 21-18 loss at Baldwin-Wallace on Sept. 28, 1991.

116-0
Since 1996, the Raiders record when winning the turnover battle.

161-1
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 that game, the Raiders had a +1 turnover margin.

48
Mount Union has hosted 48-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 in Madison, which the Raiders won 39-21.

THE RAIDERS in 2011

Mount Union returns 16 starters and 48 letterwinners in 2011.

300 WIN CLUB

With a 49-0 win over St. Lawrence in the first round of the 2010 NCAA Playoffs, Larry Kehres became the 11th coach in college football history to win at least 300 games. Here is a list of the others.

With his next win Kehres will tie Amos Alonzo Stagg and Roy Kidd with 314 wins.

  • 483 John Gagliardi * (Carroll, MT, St. John's, MN)
  • 409 Joe Paterno (Penn State)
  • 408 Eddie Robinson (Grambling 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)
  • 313 Larry Kehres * (Mount Union)
  • 305 Frosty Westering (Parsons, Lea, Pacific Lutheran)
  • 300 Tubby Raymond (Delaware)

* Active

MURRAY ON THE RUN

Junior running back Jeremy Murray (Martins Ferry/Martins Ferry) ran for 74 yards and had 59 yards receiving including a 45-yard screen pass for a touchdown against Muskingum. He has eight 100-yard rushing performance this season and 15 in his career. In 24 career games, Murray has 2,938 yards on 532 attempts with 36 TD's. He is in fifth on the school's all-time rushing list and is 357 yards behind fourth place spot of Russ Kring (3,295 yds. 1983-84, 86-87).

AJ HITS CENTURY MARK

Senior wide reciever A.J. Claycomb (Medina/Medina) had a career-high eight catches for 117 yards against Muskingum. It was the first 100-yard receiving game for the fifth-year senior, who sat out all last season with an injury.

GREAT SCOTT

Junior wide receiver Isaiah Scott (Hamilton/Fairfield) had two interceptions last week against Muskingum and it marked the second straight week and third time this season that a Raider defender had two picks in a single game as Alex Nicholls (Galion/Galion) had a pair against Baldwin-Wallace and Nick Driskill had two against Capital.

DID YOU KNOW?

Larry Kehres is in his 26th season as head coach but 37th 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. If you include his four years as a quarterback with the Raiders (1967-70), the 1971 Mount Union grad has spent 41 years as a student-athlete, assistant coach, head coach, teacher and administrator in Alliance.

Eight of 10 Mount Union opponents have been held to 200 yards or less of total offense. The Raiders are No. 1 in the nation in total defense allowing 172.7 yards per game. They have only allowed 17 first half points all year and just three in the second quarter.

THREE NAMED ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT

Three Mount Union football players -- senior offensive lineman Brett Ekkens (Kentwood, Mich./East Kentwood) and defensive backs in senior Alex Ferrara (Independence/Walsh Jesuit) and junior Nick Driskill (Wabash, Ind./Southwood) have each been named to the Capital One Academic All-District VII Football Team for a second-straight season.

Ekkens is an Education major with a 3.65 gpa that has started 25 straight games on the offensive line that is an All-OAC, All-North Region and Academic All-OAC selection. He is also part of the Raider Buddy program that has football players metoring youth at local elementary schools.

Ferrara, a Business major with a 3.77 gpa, and Driskill, a Biology major with a 3.699 gpa are two leaders of the nation's No. 1 ranked defense. Ferrara is a two-time All-OAC and All-North Region pick that was also named Academic All-OAC and Academic All-American a year ago. Off the field, he did a mission trip to El Salvador and was part of Trick or Treat with Raiders project. Driskill is the team's top tackler this season and was an All-OAC and Academic All-OAC selection last year.

PURPLE RAIDERS IN THE PROs

Wide receiver Pierre Garcon was a sixth round draft pick in 2008 and is in his fourth season as a member of the Indianapolis Colts. Cecil Shorts III was a fourth round pick this past spring and is in his rookie season with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Two Raiders in the NFL coaching ranks are Dom Capers, the defensive coordinator of Green Bay Packers and Nick Sirianni as the offensive quality control coach of the Kansas City Chiefs.

NEW TURF, NEW HOME UNIFORMS

Mount Union replaced its 10-year old AstroPlay surface with a new FieldTurf playing surface this past summer. Fans will notice that the football and soccer lines are permanent with two tones of alternating green and black end zones. The black also carries over to new Nike home purple jerseys that the Raiders will wear this season. Mount Union's newest teams -- men's and women's lacrosse will start varsity play in the spring of 2013 and their lines will be painted onto the field. New turf was put in the South end zone which moved the students and band to the North end leading to Mount Union warming up on North side and entering the stadium from the Northwest corner of stadium.

View: Mobile | Desktop