2013 Mount Union Football - NCAA First Round
#1 University of Mount Union Purple Raiders (10-0, 9-0 OAC)
vs Washington & Jefferson College Presidents (8-2, 7-1 PAC)
Saturday, November 23 - 12 pm - Mount Union Stadium (Alliance, Ohio)
No. 1 ranked University of Mount Union hosts Washington & Jefferson (Pa.) College in the first round of the 2013 NCAA Division III Football Playoffs Saturday, Nov. 23 at noon at Mount Union Stadium in Alliance.
Mount Union (10-0, 9-0 OAC) just completed its eighth straight undefeated regular season with a 42-34 win against No. 9 ranked John Carroll and earned an automatic bid into the 32-team tournament by winning its 22st straight Ohio Athletic Conference championship. The Purple Raiders are making their 25th NCAA Tournament appearance and has a 78-13 record in the NCAA Playoffs. Mount Union has advanced to the Stagg Bowl (National Championship game) 16 times and have won a record 11 National Championships all in the last 20 seasons.
Washington & Jefferson (8-2, 7-1 PAC) won its 23rd Presidents Athletic Conference title to claim the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Playoffs. The Presidents are making their 23rd NCAA Playoff appearance with a 21-22 record in the tournament and advanced to the title game -- the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl in 1992 and 1994.
The two schools are 82 miles apart, have been long time scrimmage partners and is the closest distance between two schools in any of the 16 first round games.
MOUNT UNION FOOTBALL ON THE AIR 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 hear the WRMU 91.1 FM feed on any phone by calling (330) 445-7900.
Vince Kehres (Mount Union '98)
is 10-0 in his in first season as head coach at Mount Union. Kehres played for the Purple Raiders and has spent the last 13 years on the coaching staff including the last eight as defensive coordinator before taking over for his father Larry Kehres this past May. As either a player or coach Kehres has been a part of 10 of the Purple Raiders' 11 national championships. His defenses have ranked among the nation's best for years including last year when Mount Union was ranked No. 1 in total defense, scoring defense and rushing defense in all of NCAA Division III. He is the second coach in school history to go 10-0 and win an OAC title in his first season as head coach joining his father Larry Kehres.
Mike Sirianni (Mount Union '94)
won his 100th game as a college head coach two weeks ago and owns a 101-23 (.813) overall record in his 11th season as head coach at Washington & Jefferson. The four-time PAC Coach of the Year and two-time South Region Coach of the Year (2004, 2012) is second among all active NCAA coaches in winning percentage (minimum 10 years). Sirianni was a three-year starter for the Purple Raiders and two-time All-OAC selection as a wide receiver and won a national championship in 1993. He also served three years as an assistant coach at Mount Union and had assistant coaching stints at Ithaca (N.Y.), Wilkes (Pa.) and Washington & Jefferson before taking over as head coach in 2002.
UP NEXT ...
The winner of this game advances to the second round against the winner of the Lebanon Valley (Pa.) - Wittenberg game next Saturday at noon. Location of next week's game will be announced by the NCAA Sunday afternoon.
SCOUTING THE PRESIDENTS
At one point this season, Washington & Jefferson was 3-2 and facing a home game against nationally ranked and conference rival Thomas More (Ky.). The Presidents won that game 45-21 in the process of finishing the season on a five-game win streak to win the PAC title and NCAA bid. Former Purple Raider Mike Sirianni earned PAC Coach of the Year honors for the fifth time in his 11 seasons as head coach at W&J.
The Presidents have the nation's No. 26 rated scoring offense at 38.2 points per game. Senior running back Dion Wiegand is 22nd in the nation in rushing with 1,265 yards and 20 touchdowns on his way to All-PAC First Team honors. Three-time All-PAC First Team wide receiver Alex Baroffio is the top receiver with 79 catches for 920 yards and eight touchdowns. Senior quarterback Matt Bliss, an All-PAC Second Team pick, has thrown for 2,089 yards with 18 touchdowns but has been banged up and is questionable for this week. If Bliss can't go, then freshman Pete Coughlin will get the call -- he has played in eight games throwing for 373 yards and a touchdown pass.
On defense, junior linebacker Jared Pratt earned All-PAC First Team honors as he has a team-best 94 tackles along with 2.5 sacks. Senior defensive back B.J. Monacelli also was a first team all-conference pick with five interceptions while fellow senior in defensive end Jon Lowery is an All-PAC Second Team pick tops the team with 7.5 sacks.
This game will be the sixth meeting between the teams with Washington & Jefferson holding a 4-1 lead in the series that dates back to 1913. The teams last played in a 2009 NCAA First Round game at Mount Union which the Raiders won 55-0.
For the 9th 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 24 conference champions, three spots are for teams that are independents or in conferences not granted automatic bids and the final five spots are national at-large bids.
Each team is allowed to only dress a total of 58 players for a playoff game.
WHERE THEY STAND
Mount Union leads the OAC and is second in the nation in total offense (545.7 yards per game) and is third in the nation in scoring (49.3 points per game). The Raiders are also the best team in nation on third down with a 63-percent conversion rate. On defense, Mount Union is fourth in the nation in total defense (227.7 yards per game) and are tops in the conference and fifth in the nation in rushing defense (70.2 rushing yards allowed per game).
FIVE NAMED ACADEMIC ALL-OAC
Five University of Mount Union football players -- Matt McClain (Newark/Licking Valley), Logan Nemeth (McBain, Mich./McBain), Nick Rodriguez (Macedonia/Nordonia), Hank Spencer (Greencastle, Ind./North Putnam) and Joshua Scott (Hamilton/Fairfield) -- have been named Academic All-Ohio Athletic Conference. To be named, a student-athlete must have a cummulative grade point average of 3.5 or better, have at least one academic year in residence and be varsity status on their given team..
Junior wide receiver Luc Meacham (Toledo/Toledo Central Catholic) had a career-best 10 catches for 175 yards with two touchdowns against John Carroll. The 175 receiving yards are the most for a Mount Union player since Jasper Collins had 228 against Johns Hopkins (Md.) last season. He was not the only receiver to have a good day as senior Jack Nicholls (Galion/Galion) had eight catches for 118 yards for his third straight and fourth overall 100-yard receiving day of the season. It was also the third game this season that Mount Union has had two 100-yard recievers in the same game.
MOTOR CITY MITCHELL
Mount Union freshman running back Bradley Mitchell (St. Clair Shores, Mich./South Lake) had career-best 157 yards rushing against John Carroll. Mitchell was making his fourth straight start and had his fourth 100 yard rushing performance of the season. His other 100-yard games were 105 yards against Wilmington, 157 yards at Heidelberg and 114 against Baldwin Wallace.
CODY COMING ON
Mount Union junior safety Cody Pogorelc (St. Petersburg, Fla./St. Petersburg) had a career-best 12 tackles against John Carroll. It is the most tackles in a single game for a Mount Union player since Nick Driskill had 19 against Mary Hardin-Baylor last year. On the season, Pogorelc is fifth on the team in tackles with 40. Sophomores in safety Alex Kocheff (Chagrin Falls/Kenston) and Tom Lally (Fairview Park/Lakewood St. Edward) lead the team in tackles each with 53.
PURPLE RAIDERS IN THE PRO's
Wide receiver Pierre Garcon, a sixth round draft pick of the Indianapolis Colts in 2008, is in his second season with Washington had 68 receiving yards in a 24-16 loss to Philadelphia. Cecil Shorts III, a fourth round pick in by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2011, had 22 receiving yards in a 27-14 loss to Arizona. Kyle Miller made his NFL debut as a TE for the Indianapolis Colts, last year and was waived then signed by the Miami Dolphins and Jasper Collins are currently on the Dolphins practice squad. Two Raiders in the NFL coaching ranks are Dom Capers, defensive coordinator of Green Bay Packers and Nick Sirianni -- brother of W&J coach Mike Sirianni -- is the offense quality control coach witht the San Diego Chargers.