Football: #1 Mount Union Beats #9 Heidelberg 44-34 in Tiffin

Edward Ruhnke ran for 50 yards on a fake punt (Photo by JT Higgins)
Edward Ruhnke ran for 50 yards on a fake punt (Photo by JT Higgins)

TIFFIN, Ohio -- No. 1 ranked Mount Union extended the nation's longest win streak to 23 games with a 44-34 win at No. 9 ranked Heidelberg in an Ohio Athletic Conference game Saturday in Tiffin.

It was also the 81st consecutive regular season win for the Purple Raiders (8-0, 7-0 OAC) as they won its 114th straight regular season road win dating back to 1991.

Mount Union quarterback Kevin Burke (Westlake/Lakewood St. Edward) tossed four touchdown passes as he completed 16-of-22 passes for 310 yards while freshman running back Bradley Mitchell (St. Clair Shores, Mich./South Lake) rushed for 152 yards on 27 carries in his second start to pace an offense that had 654 yards of offense.

Jack Nicholls (Galion/Galion) had six catches for a career-best 125 yards and Luc Meacham (Toledo/Toledo Central Catholic) had three catches for 100 yards.

The Purple Raider defense held the nation's No. 1 scoring team to 20 points below its average while keeping the conference's leading rusher Cartel Brooks to 68 yards rushing on 26 carries.

Josh Scott (Hamilton/Fairfield) had a career-best 11 tackles and his interception with eight minutes to play kept the lead at 10 points.  

Linebacker Jonathan Gonnell (Pembroke Pines, Fla./University School, Fla.) had seven stops while fellow linebacker LeShawn Luke (Steubenville/Steubenville) had a fumble recovery.

Heidelberg (7-1, 6-1 OAC) got 327 yards passing from quarterback Michael Mees and the 34 points scored was the most against a Mount Union defense in a regular season since John Carroll scored 57-51 in a triple overtime Raider win in 1999.

Mount Union started the scoring as Burke hit Nicholls on a 14-yard scoring strike.  Heidelberg tied the game on an eight yard pass from Mees to Cameron Vocke.  Edward Ruhnke (Bayville, N.J./Central Regional) kicked a 30-yard field goal to give the Raiders a 10-7 lead at the break.

Mason Minnich (Greenwich/Crestview) scampered up the sideline on a 51-yard touchdown run to extend the Mount Union lead to 17-7 on the first play of the second quarter.

Heidelberg scored again as Mees ran in from five yards out to make the score 17-13 with 8:47 left in the half.

On the ensuing drive facing a fourth down on its own 19-yard line, Mount Union executed a fake punt as Ruhnke rumbled 50 yards and three plays later Burke hit Meacham from 27 yards to extend the lead to 24-13.

Mount Union would score again to take a 30-13 lead into halftime as Burke hit Nicholls on a four-yard TD pass.

Heidelberg rallied scoring 14 straight points as Mees threw a 35-yard pass to Donteea Dye and Brooks scored from 11 yards out to get the Berg within three, 30-27 with 5:32 remaining in the third quarter.

Burke then engineered a seven-play 77-yard drive that was capped by a Mitchell two-yard run to get it to 37-27.  Burke finished the scoring for the Raiders with a 56-yard scoring pass to Meacham as it was 44-27 early in the fourth quarter.

Brooks scored again on the next drive to make it 44-34 but The Berg got no closer.

Mount Union returns home for the final two regular season games starting next Saturday at 1:30 pm against Baldwin Wallace.