December 16, 2013

Football: #1 Mount Union Takes on #5 UW-Whitewater Friday at Stagg Bowl XLI For National Title

2013 Mount Union Football - NCAA Stagg Bowl
#1 University of Mount Union Purple Raiders (14-0)
vs #5 University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Warhawks (14-0)
Friday, December 20 - 7 pm - Salem Stadium (Salem, Va.)

Tickets/Bus/Watch Party Information: https://alumni.mountunion.edu/Stagg-Bowl2013

TV: ESPNU | WATCH LIVE
Joe Davis (play-by-play), David Diaz-Infante (analyst), Paul Carcaterra (sideline)

RADIO:
WDPN 1310 AM (Alliance) | LISTEN LIVE
WRMU 91.1 FM (Alliance) | LISTEN LIVE

LIVE STATS:
http://livestats.prestosports.com/mountunion

COMPLETE NOTES IN PDF FORMAT - Click Here

THE GAME

No. 1 ranked University of Mount Union plays No. 5 ranked University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in the NCAA Division III National Championship Game -- the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl -- Friday, Dec. 20 at 7 pm at Salem Stadium in Salem, Va.

The game will be broadcast LIVE on ESPNU and ESPN3 (check with your cable/satellite provider for information).

Whitewater is 14-0 overall and in the tournament after winning the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title and its automatic bid. The Warhawks are making their 11th playoff appearance with a 37-6 record in the playoffs including a 31-7 win over St. Norbert (Wis.) in the first round, a 33-3 win over Franklin (Ind.) in the second round, a 28-17 quarterfinal win over Linfield (Ore.) and a 16-15 victory in the semifinals at Mary Hardin-Baylor (Texas).

The Purple Raiders are 14-0 overall and one of 24 conference champions to claim an automatic bid as Mount Union won its 22nd straight and 25th overall Ohio Athletic Conference championship with a 9-0 record.

Mount Union has a 82-13 record in NCAA Playoff games including a 34-20 win against Washington & Jefferson (Pa.) in the first round, a 56-21 win over Wittenberg in the second round, a 62-59 win over Wesley (Del) in the quarterfinals with a 41-40 semifinal win against North Central (Ill.).

The Raiders are in the Stagg Bowl for the 17th time since 1993 have won a record 11 National Championships.

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 COACHES

Vince Kehres (Mount Union '98)

is 14-0 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 win an OAC title and earn OAC Coach of the Year honors in his first season as head coach joining his father Larry Kehres. His 14 wins are the most for a first year head football coach in school history.

Lance Leipold (UW-Whitewater '86)

is 93-6 in his seventh season as head coach at his Alma mater. He has guided the Warhawks to four NCAA Division III National Championships and six Stagg Bowl appearance. He came to UWW after a three-year stint at Nebraska-Omaha, where he served as associate head coach and offensive coordinator. He also spent time as an assistant coach at Nebraska-Lincoln, Doane College, Wisconsin and Whitewater. Leipold was a four-year letterman as a quarterback for the Warhawks and he ranks among the school's top ten in most major passing categories.

THE SERIES

It will mark the eighth time in the nine years that the two teams have met in the championship game. Mount Union won the matchups in 2005, 2006 and 2008 while Whitewater won in 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011. Mount Union swept a pair of regular season meetings in 2002 and 2003 to lead the overall series 5-4.

SCOUTING THE WARHAWKS

After missing the playoffs a year ago, the Warhawks find themselves back in the national title game riding a 16-game win streak dating back to the end of last season. Whitewater brings a dominating defense ranked No. 3 in the nation and No. 1 in scoring defense with a young, skilled and efficient offense. The Warhawks are an impressive +31 in turnover margin.

The defense which has 23 interceptions and has forced 17 fumbles is led by senior linebacker Cole Klotz. Klotz leads UWW with 96 tackles and along with Kevin Burke is a Gagliardi Trophy finalist. Fellow senior linebacker in Kyle Wismer has a team-best 14.0 tackles for loss. Senior defensive lineman and 2011 Stagg Bowl MVP Loussaint Minett has a team-high 5.5 sacks and three blocked kicks while junior defensive back Brady Grayvold has eight interceptions.

Junior quarterback Matt Behrendt has only one interception in 432 pass attempts this season. He has completed 65-percent of his passes for 3,041 yards with 36 touchdowns. His top target is 6-5 junior Jake Kumerow who has 70 catches for 1,228 yards with 17 toucchdowns while sophomore Jordan Ratliffe is the top running back with 1,113 yards rushing with seven touchdowns. All of these guys work behind and offensive line that averages 6-4 and 289 pounds across the front.

BY THE NUMBERS

728

Mount Union's win last week gave the program its 727th victory which is tied with Wittenberg for most by an NCAA Division III program. Only 21 programs in all of college football have ever won over 700 games. 

195-7

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 2000-2003 and 54 from 1996-99

29

Mount Union has college football's longest active win streak at 29 games.

136-0

Since 1996, the Raiders record when winning the turnover battle.

181-1

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.

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. Notre Dame has the most college football titles (11) for teams playing in a non-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.

77

game home winning streak for Mount Union dating back to a 21-14 loss to Ohio Northern in Alliance on Oct. 22, 2005.

BRACKETOLOGY

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 nation's highest scoring team averaging 49.0 points per game and is second in the nation in total offense (528.6 yards per game). The Raiders are also the best team in nation on third down with a 57-percent conversion rate. On defense, Mount Union is second in the nation in total defense (282.1 yards per game) and is third in the nation in rushing defense (71.4 rushing yards allowed per game).

EIGHT IS GREAT FOR MITCHELL

Mount Union freshman running back Bradley (B.J.) Mitchell (St. Clair Shores, Mich./South Lake) had his eighth overall and seventh straight 100-yard rushing performance last week with 124 yards on 19 carries. Mitchell has started the last eight 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, 114 against Baldwin Wallace, 143 yards against Wittenberg and 134 yards versus Wesley. His now 1,350 rushing yards on the season is more than Nate Kmic -- college football's all-time leading rusher -- had as a freshman which was 1,219 yards.

BURKE FINALIST FOR GAGLIARDI

Junior quarterback Kevin Burke (Westlake/Lakewood St. Edward) has been selected as one of four finalists for the Gagliardi Trophy given to the top all-around football player in NCAA Division III. The trophy will be presented on Wednesday, Dec. 18, in Salem, Va., at a banquet kicking-off a series of Division III Stagg Bowl championship events.

Burke is 29-0 as the Purple Raiders' starting quarterback. A year ago, he earned All-American honors and was the OAC's Bob Packard Offensive Back of the Year as he led Mount Union to a 15-0 record, an Ohio Athletic Conference title and a record 11th NCAA Division III title. This season as the only returning starter on offense, he has led an offense that is currently the nation's top scoring offense.

This season he is the nation's No. 2 rated passer (192.3 rating) and leads the nation with 44 touchdown passes. He has completed 63-percent of his passes (212-of-337) for 3,514 yards while he is also the team's second leading rusher with 1,035 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns. His 1,035 rushing yards is a school single season record for a quarterback. For his career, he has passed for 7,359 yards with 82 touchdowns and he has 9,256 yards of total offense (passing + rushing) which are both fifth on Mount Union's all-time list.

A record five other Purple Raiders have won the Gagliardi Trophy. Quarterback Jim Ballard won the inaugural award in 1993, fellow quarterback Bill Borchert in 1997, running backs Chuck Moore and Dan Pugh won the award in 2001 and 2002, while quarterback Greg Micheli won the award in 2008.

FECHKO NAMED AFCA ALL-AMERICAN

Senior defensive lineman Matt Fechko (Twinsburg/Twinsburg) has been selected as an All-American by the American Football Coaches Association. The prestigious team has been selected by coaches since 1945 and features just 25 selections per season. Fechko, a team captain, has 4.0 sacks and a forced fumble on the season. He has never missed a game playing in his 60th game and making his 58th start this week.

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 and last week assured himself of his first 1,000 yard receivng season. Cecil Shorts III, a fourth round pick in by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2011, has emerged as the Jaguars No. 1 receiver and is also among NFL leaders in receptions. 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.

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