#2 Football Opens Season Saturday at #13 Franklin

#2 Football Opens Season Saturday at #13 Franklin

2012 University of Mount Union Football
#2 Mount Union Purple Raiders (0-0, 0-0 OAC) vs
#13 Franklin Grizzlies (0-0, 0-0 OAC)
Sat., Sept. 1 - 1:30 pm - Red Faught Stadium (Franklin, Ind.)


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

FRANKLIN: Roster | Stats | Schedule | Coaches


No. 2 ranked Mount Union begins its 115th season of football against No. 13 ranked Franklin College this Saturday, Sept. 1 at 1:30 pm in Franklin, Indiana.

The Purple Raiders are preseason ranked No. 2 in the nation and the Raiders return 15 starters from a team that went 14-1 last season, won the school's 23rd overall and 20th straight Ohio Athletic Conference title while making a record 15th appearance in the NCAA Division III National Championship game.

Franklin is preseason ranked No. 13 in the nation and the Grizzlies lost just two games a year ago both to national champion UW-Whitewater -- 45-0 in week two and 41-14 in the second round of the NCAA Playoffs. Franklin has been in the NCAA Playoffs and won Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference titles in four of the last five seasons.


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.

The four regular season home games will be shown on television via tape delay on regional sports cable channel SportsTime Ohio and WIVM TV39 (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 Harry Paidas along with hall of fame broadcaster Joe Tait. Tait spent 39 years as the radio voice of the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers and was recently awarded the Bill Nichols Media Service Award by the Ohio Athletic Conference for his now 26 years of doing Mount Union football and basketball on radio and television.


This will be the second-ever meeting between the two teams but first since 1968. In 1968, Mount Union shut out Franklin, 20-0 in a night game at Mount Union Stadium in Alliance.


Larry Kehres (Mount Union '71) is 317-24-3 (.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 10 coaches in college football history to win at least 300 games. His teams have won 23 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 was the offensive coordinator for Team USA as they won the gold medal in the IFAF World Championships in 2011.

Mike Leonard (Hanover '84) is 67-30 (.691) in his 10th season as head coach at Franklin. He has led the Grizzlies to four Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference titles and four NCAA Playoff appearances over the last five seasons. Prior to coming to Franklin, he served as offensive coordinator at Hanover (Ind.) and Wittenberg along with stints at Butler (Ind.), Holy Cross, DePauw (Ind.) and Alabama.


For the first time since 2009, the Raiders will have a bye before hosting Muskingum in the home and OAC opener Saturday, Sept. 15 at 7 pm.


Franklin brings back 52 letterwinners including 15 starters and were the preseason pick to repeat as HCAC champions.  The Grizzlies feature a run-and-shoot attack on offense and line-up in a 3-4 on defense.

Leading the seven returning starters on offense is junior quarterback Jonny West.  The HCAC Offensive MVP completed 285 passes for 3.581 yards with 32 touchdowns.  His top target is back as well in junior split end Kyle Linville, who had 84 catches for 1,226 yards and 11 touchdowns while leading the conference in all-purpose yards (102.2 per game).          

On defense, six starters are back including All-HCAC First Team pick in cornerback Zack Corpe and All-HCAC Second Team selections in junior linebackers Scott Moore (97 tackles) and Jordan Segner (79 tackles).

Junior punter Michael Parks (40.3 avg.) and senior kicker Cole Richards (60-65 PAT's) both all-conference a year ago are also back.



Mount Union's record in season opening games


Mount Union has won 24 straight season openers dating back to a 17-15  home loss to The College of Wooster on Sept. 12, 1987.


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 


game regular season win streak for Mount Union dating back to a 21-14  loss to Ohio Northern in Alliance on Oct. 22, 2005.58 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.163-1 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 Alliance. In that game, the Raiders had a +1  turnover margin.


Larry Kehres is one of 10 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)
  • 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)

* Active


A pair of All-American seniors in safety Nick Driskill (Wabash, Ind./Southwood) and Charles Dieuseul (Winter Haven, Fla./Lake Region) return to lead the nation's No. 2 ranked defense from a year ago.  Driskill was the nation's defensive player of the year and OAC's defensive back of the year as he had a team-high 113 tackles, 17 of those for loss, along with 6.5 sacks, four interceptions, two fumble recoveries, a forced fumble and a blocked kick. Dieuseul, who was the OAC's defensive lineman of the year, had 78 stops with a team-best 20.5 tackles for loss including 10.5 sacks.

Other starters back are senior defensive backs Isaiah Scott and Alex Nicholls along with senior defensive lineman Frank Orteca and junior defensive lineman Matt Fechko.  Scott was an All-OAC Second Team selection that had a team-high six interceptions a year ago while Nicholls had five interceptions.  Fechko, an All-OAC First Team selection, and Orteca, on the All-OAC Second Team, man the middle of the defensive line. 

Everything starts up front on offense for the Raiders as All-American tackle Antonio Tate (Cleveland/Villa Angela St. Joseph) leads the unit with Matt Mattox (St. Joseph, Mich./St. Joseph), Mac Knisley (Perrysburg/Perrysburg) while a pair of former defensive lineman in Chris Favazzo (Blacklick/Columbus St. Charles) and Jared Modrak (Clinton Twp./Chippewa Valley) will both start on the right side. Tate was the OAC's Offensive Lineman of the Year while he and Mattox were also All-OAC First Team picks.  

Also back are seniors in fullback Jake Simon (Parma/Holy Name) and talented All-OAC senior wide receiver Jasper Collins (Geneva, N.Y./Geneva).  Collins, who missed four games in 2011, still led the team with 67 catches for 844 yards and 13 touchdowns and leads a deep and explosive wide receiver unit. The rest of the returning receivers include Chris Denton (Plantation, Fla./South Plantation), who had 48 catches for 577 yards and six TD's along with Julius Moore, with 16 catches for 208 yards and a touchdown.

Senior signal caller Neal Seaman (Louisville/Louisville), who started nine games in an injury plagued 2011 season, returns as he completed nearly 61-percent of his passes with eight touchdowns while a pair of sophomores saw time under center as true freshman last season and this spring in Kevin Burke (Westlake/Lakewood St. Edward) and Roman Namdar (Southlake, Texas/Carroll).

Senior kicker Tyler Almeida (Elyria/Elyria) and senior punter Brandon Mathie (Louisville/Louisville) are also back among a group of returners on special teams.     


With its next victory, Mount Union will become the 21st program -- 2nd ever NCAA Division III member -- in college football history with 700 victories

  • 895 Michigan
  • 869 Yale
  • 858 Texas
  • 853 Notre Dame
  • 846 Nebraska
  • 825 Ohio State
  • 821 Harvard 
  • 821 Oklahoma
  • 819 Penn
  • 814 Alabama
  • 794 Tennessee
  • 786 Princeton
  • 779 Southern California
  • 749 Fordham
  • 747 Georgia
  • 733 Louisiana State
  • 715 Penn State
  • 711 Auburn
  • 707 Wittenberg
  • 701 West Virginia
  • 699 Mount Union


Larry Kehres is in his 27th season as head coach but 38th 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 42 years as a student-athlete, assistant coach, head coach, teacher and administrator in Alliance. 

A pair of fifth year seniors in kicker Tyler Almeida (Elyria/Elyria) and linebacker Jack LaForce (Vermillion/Vermillion) both were on the roster and played in the 2008 Stagg Bowl National Championship team for Mount Union. 


Wide receiver Pierre Garcon was a sixth round draft pick of the Indianapolis Colts in 2008 signed an off-season free agent deal with the Washington Redskins. Cecil Shorts III was a fourth round pick in 2011 and begins his second season with the Jacksonville Jaguars while Kyle Miller is currently a tight end for the Colts.  Two Raiders in the NFL coaching ranks are Dom Capers, the defensive coordinator of Green Bay Packers and Nick Sirianni as the wide receivers coach of the Kansas City Chiefs.


Fans will notice some dust behind the opens stand east of the stadium as a pair of locker rooms are under construction to house Mount Union's men's and women's soccer and new men's and women's lacrosse programs.  A new facade will be added to the back of the open stands and the plan is to expand and renovate the main press box in a second phase that will be done later.  As a result of the expansion, Stadium Drive will no longer exist.