Football: #1 Mount Union and #14/15 Wesley Meet Saturday in NCAA Quarterfinals; Third Playoff Game Between Teams Since 2009
2013 Mount Union Football - NCAA Quarterfinals
#1 University of Mount Union Purple Raiders (12-0)
vs #14/15 Wesley College Wolverines (10-2)
Saturday, December 7 - 12 pm - Mount Union Stadium (Alliance, Ohio)
Joe Tait (play-by-play), Harry Paidas (color), Jim Ballard (analyst)
WIVM Ch. 39 (Tape Delay - Dec. 7 - 11 pm, Dec. 8 - 3 pm)
SportsTime Ohio (Tape Delay - Dec. 7 - 10 pm, Dec. 9 - 12 pm)
No. 1 ranked University of Mount Union hosts No. 14/15 ranked Wesley (Del.) College in the quarterfinals of the 2013 NCAA Division III Football Playoffs Saturday, Dec. 7 at noon at Mount Union Stadium in Alliance.
Mount Union, ranked No. 1 in both the American Football Coaches Association and D3football.com rankings, defeated Washington & Jefferson (Pa.), 34-20 in a first round game and No. 10/12 Wittenberg, 56-21 in the second round. The Purple Raiders are 12-0 overall, won their 22nd straight and 25th overall Ohio Athletic Conference championship and have the nation's longest win streak at 27 games. Mount Union has an 80-13 record in NCAA Playoff games. The Raiders have advanced to the Stagg Bowl 16 times and have won a record 11 National Championships.
Wesley, an independent from Dover, Delaware, is 10-2 overall and Wolverines claimed one of three "pool b" bids to the tournament reserved for independents or teams from non-automatic qualifying conferences. Wesley is making its 10th playoff appearace overall -- all of them since 2000 -- and the Wolverines have a record of 22-9 in the tournament. Wesley scored a touchdown in the final minute to beat No. 11 Johns Hopkins, 29-24 in the first round and got a 23-15 win over No. 20 Ithaca in the second round.
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.
The game will be shown on television via tape delay on regional sports cable channel FSN 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 and college football hall of famer Jim Ballard. Tait spent 39 years as the radio voice of the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers and his now 27 years of doing Mount Union football on radio and television while Ballard was the the quarterback of the Purple Raiders' first national championship team in 1993.
Vince Kehres (Mount Union '98) is 12-0 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. 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. He was also named OAC Coach of the Year this week.
Mike Drass (Mansfield, Pa. '82) is 187-51-1 (.785) in his 21st season as head coach and 25th year at Wesley. He has built the Wolverines into one of the nation's top NCAA Division III programs as the Wolverines are 102-15 with five NCAA semifinal appearance since 2005. An all-conference offensive lineman at Mansfield (Pa.), he spent four years as a high school coach and two years as an assistant at his alma mater before joining the staff at Wesley in 1989.
This will be the third ever meeting of the teams all of which have happened in the playoffs since 2009. In the previous two meetings -- both in Alliance in the national semifinals -- Mount Union posted a 24-7 win in 2009 and a 28-21 win in 2011.
SCOUTING THE WOLVERINES
Wesley is used to the road as an independent the Wolverines have played games in five different states. Their two losses this season have both been on the road to playoff teams Mary Hardin-Baylor (35-7) and Rowan (24-17). A relatively young team, the Wolverines have just four seniors in their projected starting lineup.
Like Mount Union, a freshman running back has stepped up for the Wolverines as Jamar Baynard has ran for over 100 yards in two of the last three games including 103 in his first college start last week against Ithaca. Sophomore quarterback Joe Callahan has thrown for almost 3,000 yards (2,966) with 21 touchdowns and his top target is junior Steve Koudossou, who has 67 catches for 864 yards with 11 touchdowns.
On defense, Wesley is fifth in the nation with 42 sacks as 17 different players have at least one sack on the season with junior end Aamir Petrose leading the way with 8.0 sacks. The duo of junior linebackers Sosthene Kapepula and Jordan Wescott have 99 and 92 tackles respectively. Freshman cornerback Zane Campbell has a team-best six interceptions on the season.
BY THE NUMBERS
193-7: 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 2000-03 and 54 from 1996-99
27: Mount Union has college football's (all divisions) longest active win streak at 27 games.
114: consecutive regular season road wins for Mount Union dating back to a 21-18 loss at Baldwin Wallace on Sept. 28, 1991.
135-0: Since 1996, the Raiders record when winning the turnover battle.
180-1: The Raiders record since 1990 when winning to the turnover battle. That lone loss was a 20-17 loss to Wisconsin-LaCrosse in a 1995 national semifinal game in Alliance, where the Raiders had a +1 turnover margin.
11: The Raiders 11 National Championships (1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2012) are a record for college football teams in a playoff format.
83: game regular season win streak for Mount Union dating back to a 21-14 loss to Ohio Northern in Alliance on Oct. 22, 2005
75: game home winning streak for Mount Union dating back to a 21-14 loss to Ohio Northern on Oct. 22, 2005
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 is second in the nation in total offense (544.2 yards per game) and is third in the nation in scoring (48.6 points per game). The Raiders are also the best team in nation on third down with a 60.4-percent conversion rate. On defense, Mount Union is fourth in the nation in total defense (243.6 yards per game) and is fourth in the nation in rushing defense (67.1 rushing yards allowed per game).
Mount Union's defense held Wittenberg to 363 total yards which was 162 below the average of 525 yards that the Tigers offense ranked No. 4 in the nation averaged per game coming into last week. Wittenberg was one of only three opponents this season to gain over 300 yards on the Raiders.
Mount Union had 3.0 sacks last week and marked the seventh straight game that the Raiders had a multi-sack game. Sophomore Tom Lally (Fairview Park/Lakewood St. Edward) has a team-best 9.0 sacks this season which is the most for a Mount Union player in a single-season since current defensive line coach Charleus Dieusel had 10.5 in 2011. Senior Matt Fechko (Twinsburg/Twinsburg) who was named OAC defensive lineman of the year last week has 16.5 career sacks which is one away from 10th place on the school's all-time list held by Matt Williamson, who had 17.5 from 2006-09.
SUPER SIX FOR BJ
Mount Union freshman running back Bradley (B.J.) Mitchell (St. Clair Shores, Mich./South Lake) had his sixth overall and fifth straight 100-yard rushing performance last week with 143 yards on 19 carries. Mitchell has started the last six games and his other 100-yard rushing performance of the season -- 181 yards against Washington & Jefferson, 105 yards vs. Wilmington, 157 yards at Heidelberg and versus John Carroll with 114 against Baldwin Wallace.
Junior quarterback Kevin Burke (Westlake/Lakewood St. Edward) matched his career-high with five touchdown passes last week against Wittenberg. Burke now leads the nation with 40 touchdown passes this season. Burke ended up throwing for 326 yards as it was his fifth 300-yard passing performance of the season and eighth of his career. He is also one of 10 finalists for the Gagliardi Trophy given to the top all-around player in NCAA Division III. Fans can vote on d3football.com and the collective fan vote winner will receive one vote for the award. Four finalists will be invited to Salem, Va. for the awards ceremony Wed., Dec. 18.
PURPLE RAIDERS IN THE PROs
Wide receiver Pierre Garcon, a sixth round draft pick of the Indianapolis Colts in 2008, is in his second season with Washington had 48 receiving yards in a 27-6 loss to San Francisco. Cecil Shorts III, a fourth round pick in by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2011, had 71 receiving yards in a 13-6 win at Houston. Kyle Miller made his NFL debut as a TE for the Indianapolis Colts in 2012, was waived then signed by the Miami Dolphins where he is on the practice squad with another former Raider in wide receiver Jasper Collins. Two Raiders in the NFL coaching ranks are Dom Capers, defensive coordinator of Green Bay Packers and Nick Sirianni is the offense quality control coach witht the San Diego Chargers.
UP NEXT ...
The winner of this game plays the winner of the North Central (Ill.)/Bethel (Minn.) game next Saturday at a time and site to be announced Sunday. Both semifinal games will be broadcast LIVE on ESPN3.