#2 Mount Union Purple Raiders (14-0, 9-0 OAC) vs.
#1 Wisconsin-Whitewater Warhawks (14-0, 6-0 WIAC)
Fri., Dec. 16 - 7 pm - Salem Stadium (Salem, Va.)
TV: ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN3: Rob Stone (play-by-play), Danny Kanell (analyst), Tom Luginbill (reporter)
LIVE STATS: http://livestats.prestosports.com/mountunion
Complete Mount Union Game Notes in PDF Format: CLICK HERE
Two of the most exciting words in sports are "Game 7" and this week football gets a rare opportunity to share that excitement as No. 2 ranked University of Mount Union and No. 1 ranked University of Wisconsin-Whitewater play in the NCAA Division III Football National Championship game for an unprecedented seventh time. The Stagg Bowl is Friday, Dec. 16 at 7 pm at Salem Stadium in Salem, Virginia.
The teams have played in each of the last six Stagg Bowls with Mount Union winning three in 2005, 2006 and 2008 and Whitewater taking the title three times in 2007, 2009 and 2010. Even closer is the total points over the six games favors Mount Union 171-170.
Mount Union (14-0) completed its sixth straight undefeated regular season to win its 23rd overall and 20th straight Ohio Athletic Conference and an automatic bid into the 32-team tournament then won its opening round game 47-7 over Benedictine (Ill.), a 30-10 second round victory over #25 Centre (Ky.), a 20-8 win against #9 Wabash (Ind.) in the quarterfinals before a 28-21 victory over #7 Wesley (Del.) in the semifinals.
The Purple Raiders are making their 23rd NCAA Tournament appearance with a 73-12 record in NCAA Playoff games. Mount Union has advanced to the Stagg Bowl (National Championship game) 15 times and have won a record 10 National Championships.
Wisconsin-Whitewater (14-0) earned an automatic bid by winning the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) title. The Warhawks are making their 10th playoff appearance with a 32-6 record in NCAA post-season play. Whitewater defeated Albion (Mich.) 59-0 in the first round, No. 17 Franklin (Ind.) 41-14 in the second round, a 34-14 win over No. 10 Salisbury (Md.) in the quarterfinals and beat No. 3 St Thomas (Minn.) 20-0 in the semifinals.
MOUNT UNION FOOTBALL ON 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 will be the eighth meeting between the schools with Mount Union holding a 5-3 edge in the series. The teams have met in each of the last six Stagg Bowls and also played a pair of regular season openers in 2002 and 2003 with Mount Union winning 44-21 in 2002 in Wisconsin and 40-17 in 2003 in Ohio. The Raiders are a combined 9-5 against WIAC teams (5-3 vs. UW-Whitewater, 2-2 vs. UW-LaCrosse and 2-0 vs. UW-Oshkosh).
Larry Kehres (Mount Union '71) is 317-23-3 (.928) 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.
Lance Leipold (UW-Whitewater '87) is 81-3 (.964) and has gotten the Warhawks to the title game in each of his five seasons as head coach at his Alma mater. He is a two-time National Coach of the Year that was a quarterback for the Warhawks and had assistant coaching stints at UW-Whitewater, Wisconsin and Nebraska-Omaha.
For the seventh 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 25 conference champions, one spot is reserved for teams that are independents or in conferences not granted automatic bids and the final six spots are national at-large bids.
Each team is allowed to dress 52 players for a game. Six additional players can go through warm-ups but must be in street clothes and a jersey during the game.
SCOUTING THE WARHAKWS
Wisconsin-Whitewater features a high powered offense with multiple weapons, a defense that is stout against the run and forces turnovers ... sound familiar. The Warhawks enter the game with the nation's best 44-game winning streak.
The offense runs through All-American senior running back Levell Coppage has rushed for 2029 yards this season and enters this week with 7,704 career rushing yards which is 370 yards from former Mount Union player and current assistant coach Nate Kmic's college football record 8,074 yards rushing.
The Warhawk offense is more than one-man show though as senior quarterback Matt Blanchard has thrown for 2,755 yards with 23 TD's and only three interceptions. His top target is junior wide receiver Tyler Huber with 75 catches for 1,209 yards and 10 TD's. Leading the offensive line is 6-3, 311-pound senior tackle Logan Allemand.
A pair of linebackers in sophomore Kyle Wismer (65 tackles) and junior Greg Arnold (64 tackles) lead a talented defense. Junior defensive back Ryan Wenkman has a team-best six interceptions while upfront the senior duo of Casey Casper (5.5 sacks) and senior Jake Keeser (5.0 sacks) anchor the line.
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.
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 that game, the Raiders had a +1 turnover margin.
The Raiders 10 National Championships (1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2008) are a record for college football teams in a playoff format. Notre Dame has the most college football titles (11) for teams playing in a non-playoff format.
Mount Union has made 15 trips to the Stagg Bowl. All since 1993, which was the first time the game was played in Salem, Virginia.
Mount Union has an all-time record of 699-381-38 in 114 years of football. Which is second in Division III only in wins to Wittenberg (707). A total of 19 college football programs have over 700 wins.
300 WIN CLUB
Larry Kehres is one of 11 coaches in college football history to win at least 300 games. Here is a list of the others.
- 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)
- 317 Larry Kehres * (Mount Union)
- 314 Roy Kidd (Eastern Kentucky)
- 314 Amos Alonzo Stagg (Springfield, Chicago, Pacific)
- 305 Frosty Westering (Parsons, Lea, Pacific Lutheran)
- 300 Tubby Raymond (Delaware)
LUCKY NO. 13 FOR DRISKILL
Junior safety Nick Driskill (Wabash, Ind./Southwood) had a team-high 13 tackles last week against Wesley. It was the second-time he had 13 tackles in a game this season which was also his fourth double digit tackle game of the year and one off his career-best 14 stops which he had against Baldwin-Wallace this season.
He was named D3football.com North Region Defensive Player of Year as one of the leaders of the nation's No. 1 rated defense. The OAC's Defensive Back of the Year, has a team-high 105 tackles, 17.0 for loss, along with 6.5 sacks, four interceptions, two fumble recoveries and a forced fumble. Driskill, who also has a 3.69 gpa as a Biology major, is an Academic All-OAC, Academic All-District selection and is a nominee for the Capital One Academic All-American team.
BACK-TO-BACK 100-YARD GAMES FOR MURRAY
Junior running back Jeremy Murray (Martins Ferry/Martins Ferry) had 120 rushing yards against Wesley for his 10th 100-yard rushing performance this season and 17th of his career. In 28 career games, Murray has 3,287 yards on 604 attempts with 41 TD's. He is in fifth on the school's all-time rushing list and is eight yards behind fourth place spot of Russ Kring (3,295 yds. 1983-84, 86-87).
CHARLES IN CHARGE
Junior defensive end Charles Dieuseul (pronounced Diesel) (Winter Haven, Fla./Lake Region), the OAC's Defensive Lineman of the Year, was named to the All-North Region First Team as he is second on the team in tackles 74 along with a team-high 19.0 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks along with three forced fumbles.
Junior defensive back Isaiah Scott (Hamilton/Fairfield) had three interceptions against Wesley. It gave him a team-best six interceptions on the season and he was first Raider since current defensive back coach Daryl Ely (11/10/07 vs. Marietta) to have three interceptions in a single game. Mount Union has 29 interceptions on the season which is three of the school-record 32 in 1992.
COLLINS FOR THREE
Junior wide receiver Jasper Collins (Geneva, N.Y./Geneva) had nine catches for 139 yards and three touchdowns. It was his fourth 100-yard receiving performance of the season but first since missing four games late in the regular season with an injury.
PILOTO THROWS HIMSELF IN THERE
A year ago, junior quarterback Matt Piloto (Rotonda West, Fla./Lemon Bay) was getting ready to make his first career start in the Stagg Bowl. He was the backup the first eight games this season before an injury to Neal Seaman (Louisville/Louisville) made him the starter again. He has won six-straight games as a starter including matching his career-high with four TD passes in the win against Wesley.
DID YOU KNOW?
Larry Kehres is in his 26th season as head coach and 37th year working at Mount Union as he spent 10 seasons (1975-84) as an assistant to Ken Wable then in 1985 worked only as director of athletics before adding head football coach 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.
Mount Union claimed its 23rd OAC Football title this season. The Raiders won their first title in 1985, Ken Wable's last year as head coach, their second in 1986 in Larry Kehres' first year as head coach. Mount Union next won the 1990 title then started a run of 20-straight starting in 1992.
Nine of 14 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 202.2 yards per game. They have only allowed 34 first half points all year and just 13 in the second quarter.
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 Nick Sirianni as the offensive quality control coach of the Kansas City Chiefs and Dom Capers, the defensive coordinator of Green Bay Packers. Capers was also a college teammate of Mount Union coach Larry Kehres.
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.