Football: #3 Mount Union Travels to Otterbein Saturday For OAC Game

Photo by JT Higgins
Photo by JT Higgins

2014 Mount Union Football 
#3/3 University of Mount Union Purple Raiders (7-0, 6-0 OAC) vs Otterbein University Cardinals (5-2, 5-1 OAC)
Saturday, November 1 - 1:30 pm - Memorial Stadium (Westerville, Ohio)

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THE GAME
No. 3 ranked Mount Union travels to Otterbein for an Ohio Athletic Conference game Saturday at 1:30 pm at Memorial Stadium in Westerville.
 
Mount Union (7-0, 6-0 OAC) extended its regular season win streak to 90 games and 79 straight at home with a 74-7 win over Wilmington.  The Purple Raiders jumped out to a 28-0 lead in the game's first six minutes and never looked back.  Senior quarterback Kevin Burke threw for three scores and ran for another to pace an offense that rolled up 603 yards while the defense held the Quakers to 180 total yards with three fumble recoveries and two interceptions.   

Otterbein (5-2, 5-1 OAC) is alone in third place in the OAC after beating Baldwin Wallace 20-9 last Saturday.  The Cardinals rallied from a 9-0 halftime deficit scoring on its first four possessions of the second half; the last of those scores was a 12-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Brick Davis to Cole Benner with 7:30 to play to put the game away.
 
THE SERIES
This is the 47th meeting between the teams with Mount Union holding a 42-4 lead in the series dating back to a 12-7 Otterbein win on October 16, 1937 in Alliance. The Raiders have won 36 straight meetings going back to a 24-17 Otterbein win in 1977 in Alliance. In its last trip to Westerville, Mount Union shutout the Cardinals 51-0 in 2012.

THE COACHES
Vince Kehres (Mount Union '98) is 21-1 (.955) in his second season as head coach.  He went 14-1 in his first season in 2013 to set an NCAA record for most wins (14) by a first year college football coach.  He earned OAC Coach of the Year and Lee Tressel Ohio College Football Coach of Year awards.  Kehres spent 13 years, eight as defensive coordinator, on the Raiders coaching staff for his father Larry Kehres.  As either a player of coach, Vince Kehres has been part of 10 of Mount Union's 11 national championships.

Tim Doup (Otterbein '92) is 18-9 (.667) in his third season as Otterbein head coach. Before becoming head coach, he spent nine seasons as the Cardinals offensive coordinator. Doup was a four-year letterwinner as an offensive lineman at Otterbein and had a seven-year stint as an assistant football coach at Upper Arlington High School before returning to Otterbein as an assistant coach.

STORYLINES
Mount Union senior quarterback Kevin Burke is the highest rated passer at all levels of college football (214.8 rating) and is at the controls of the nation's No. 1 total offense (637.9 yds/gm), No. 1 scoring offense (64.6 ppg) and No. 1 in first downs (212).

For the first time in school history, Mount Union has started a season with seven-straight games scoring 50 or more points in each game.

The Purple Raiders enter the week with NCAA Division III No. 1 rated defense allowing opponents just 181.9 yards per game.  Mount Union's first seven opponents are averaging 2.8 yards per play and are fourth in the nation in defensive third down conversions as opponents are converting just 22.1-percent on third down.
 
SCOUTING THE CARDINALS
Otterbein has won seven of its last 11 games since it lost at Mount Union a year ago.  The Cardinals are fourth in the OAC in total defense (366.6 yds/gm) and fifth in total offense (407.1 yds/gm).  Otterbein's two losses this season are to then No. 9 ranked St. John Fisher (N.Y.) in the season opener, 36-14 and home against Heidelberg, 45-28.

The Cardinal defense leads the OAC with 27 sacks and a trio of linebackers lead the unit.  Sophomore Austin Jones tops the OAC in tackles with 73 while fellow sophomore Will Brett and Zac Hamilton each have 5.0 sacks.  Hamilton is also third in the OAC with 7.5 tackles for loss on the season.

Senior quarterback Brick Davis, reigning OAC Offensive Player of the Week, has completed 57.7-percent of his passes for 1,500 yards with eight touchdowns and four interceptions. Sophomore running back Reid Hutchison averages 98.9 yards rushing a game with five TDs while senior receiver Ryan Thombs has 22 receptions for 358 yards and two TDs.
    
Senior placekicker Alana Gaither is third in the OAC with seven field goals and senior Tyler Hammond is second in the OAC with a 23.7 yard average on kickoff returns.

BY THE NUMBERS

  • 735    Mount Union has an NCAA III best 735 wins as a program.
  • 202-8    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
  • 118    consecutive regular season road victories for Mount Union dating back to a 21-18 loss at Baldwin-Wallace on Sept. 28, 1991.
  • 141-0    Since 1996, the Raiders record when winning the turnover battle.
  • 186-1    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.
  • 90    game regular season win streak for Mount Union dating back to a 21-14 loss to Ohio Northern in Alliance on Oct. 22, 2005.
  • 79    game home winning streak for Mount Union dating back to a 21-14 loss to Ohio Northern in Alliance on Oct. 22, 2005.

BURKE TOPS THE CHARTS
Nicknamed "#PaulBunyan" by ESPN's QB guru George Whitfield -- Mount Union senior quarterback Kevin Burke (Westlake/Lakewood St. Edward) threw for three TDs and ran for another one against Wilmington last week.

Burke, an All-American and reigning Gagliardi Trophy winner, is the nation's highest rated passer in all divisions of college football this season with a passer rating of 214.8. He has completed 68.3-percent of his passes (110-of-161) for 1,928 yards and an OAC-best 23 TD's.  

Burke has also been selected as one of 167 semifinalists for the 2014 William V. Campbell Trophy®, presented by Fidelity Investments®.  There will be 16 award winners hosted at the New York Athletic Club, this December.

JUST FOR KICKS
Mount Union place kickers in senior Edward Ruhnke (Bayville, N.J./Central Regional) and sophomore Jefferson Lee (New Castle, Va./Craig County) put their names in the school and NCAA record books against Wilmington last Saturday.

Ruhnke kicked a school and OAC record five field goals that included matching a Mount Union record with a 47-yard field goal.  Two other 47-yard field goals in school history come from Ken Edelman versus John Carroll in 1990 and Jay Carpenter against Muskingum in 2007.  Along with his five field goals, Ruhnke was 8-for-8 in extra points to total 23 kicking points which is a new NCAA Divison III record besting the previous mark of 20 points (6 FG, 2 PAT) that Jim Hever of Rhodes (Tenn.) had against Millsaps on Sept. 22, 1984.

Lee went 1-for-2 on field goals but his 31-yard field goal in the fourth quarter was the Raiders sixth made field goal of the game which matched the team record for field goals in a game that Rhodes set against Millsaps in 1984.   

TURNING TEAMS OVER
Mount Union's defense got five turnovers against Wilmington and now have a turnover margin of plus-12 on the season.  

Junior defensive lineman Tom Lally (Fairview Park/Lakewood St. Edward) had 1.5 tackles for loss and a fumble recovery.  Lally leads the OAC with 11 tackles for loss and three fumble recoveries.

Junior defensive back Tre Jones (Twinsburg/Twinsburg) had an interception last week against Wilmington, which gave him three for the year which is second-most in the OAC.

Junior safety Alex Kocheff (Chagrin Falls/Kenston) leads the team in tackles on teh season with 28 stops.

LINE ITEMS
Mount Union's offensive line has allowed only 1.0 sack over the last five games and 6.0 sacks total for the season.  The starters include seniors Pat Mahoney (Jeannette, Pa./Greensburg Central Catholic) at right guard and Alex Goff (Mansfield/Madison) at right tackle, juniors Michael Frank (Eastlake/Eastlake North) at left tackle and Anthony Presutti (Spring, Texas/Oak Ridge) at left guard along with sophomore center Mitch Doraty (Medina/Medina).

UP NEXT ...
Mount Union plays its final regular season road game next Saturday at 1:30 pm at Baldwin Wallace in Berea.

The Purple Raiders finish the regular season at home Saturday, Nov. 15 at 1:30 pm against John Carroll.

Mount Union is no longer taking advance ticket orders for the John Carroll game on November 15 but the remaining tickets and standing room will be sold starting at 10 am on the day of the game.

If you have an OAC parent pass, you can come to the gates and get two tickets and purchase additional ones at that time if needed.

No one will be turned away as once the seats are sold standing room tickets will then be made available.