Football: Mount Union Takes On Whitewater For National Title Friday at Stagg Bowl; Game Live on ESPNU

Football: Mount Union Takes On Whitewater For National Title Friday at Stagg Bowl; Game Live on ESPNU

2014 Mount Union Football - NCAA Stagg Bowl
#3 University of Mount Union Purple Raiders (14-0)
vs #1 University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Warhawks (14-0)
Friday, December 19 - 7 pm - Salem Stadium (Salem, Va.)

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

TV: ESPNU | WATCH LIVE
Clay Matvick (play-by-play), Anthony Becht  (color), Cara Capuano (reporter)

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

LIVE STATS:

COMPLETE NOTES IN PDF FORMAT - Click Here

#GOMOUNTGO

THE GAME
No. 3 ranked University of Mount Union plays No. 1 ranked University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in the NCAA Division III National Championship Game -- the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl -- Friday, Dec. 19 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 12th playoff appearance with a 42-6 record in the playoffs including a 55-2 win over Macalester (Minn.) in the first round, a 38-14 win over Wabash (Ind.) in the second round, 37-33 over Wartburg (Iowa) in the quarterfinals and a 20-14 victory in the semifinals against Linfield (Ore.).

The Warhawks have won five national titles -- all since 2007.

The Purple Raiders are 14-0 overall and one of 24 conference champions to claim an automatic bid as Mount Union won its 23rd straight and 26th overall Ohio Athletic Conference championship. Mount Union has a 86-14 record in NCAA Playoff games including a 63-3 first round win over Adrian (Mich.), a 67-0 second round win against Washington & Jefferson (Pa.), a 36-28 win over John Carroll in the quarterfinals and a 70-21 win in the semifinals over Wesley (Del.).

The Raiders are in the Stagg Bowl for the 18th time since 1993 have won a record 11 National Championships.

THE SERIES
It will mark the ninth time in 10 seasons 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, 2013. Mount Union swept a pair of regular season meetings in 2002 and 2003 so the overall series is at 5-5.

THE COACHES
Vince Kehres (Mount Union '98) is 28-1 (.966) in his second season as head coach has led the Raiders to a pair of OAC titles and been named OAC Coach of the Year twice. 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 and was Lee Tressel Ohio College Football Coach of Year. 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.

Lance Leipold (UW-Whitewater '86) is 108-6 (.947) in his 8th season as head coach at his Alma mater. He has guided the Warhawks to five NCAA Division III National Championships. 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. It will be Leipold's final game as coach at Whitewater as he has accepted the head coaching position at NCAA Division I University at Buffalo.

ON THE AIR
The game will be broadcast LIVE on ESPNU and online on WatchESPN.com. The game will also be broadcast LIVE on the radio on 1310AM WDPN and WRMU 91.1 FM. You can also here the WRMU 91.1 FM feed on any phone by calling (330) 445-7900.

BRACKETOLOGY
For the 10th 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, two spots are for teams that are independents or in conferences not granted automatic bids and the final six spots are at-large bids.

Each team is allowed to only dress a total of 58 players for a game.

SCOUTING THE WARHAWKS
Senior quarterback Matt Behrendt leads the UW-Whitewater offense. The Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year and a first team d3football.com All-West Region selection, Behrendt has completed 62-percent of his passes for 3,305 yards with 38 touchdowns. He is sixth in the nation in passer rating (171.5) and fourth in TD passes (38).

Senior wide receivers Justin Howard and Jake Kumerow are the Warhawks' top receiving threats. Howard, a first team All-WIAC pick, leads the team with 76 receptions for 1,089 yards and 11 touchdowns. Kumerow, who has missed four games, was tabbed first team All-WIAC and All-West Region with 58 receptions for 986 yards and 13 receiving touchdowns.

Junior running back Dennis Moore leads the team with 158 carries for 1,033 yards (6.5 ypc) and five touchdowns. Fellow junior Jordan Ratliffe, a second team all-league honoree, is next with 834 yards and a team-best nine rushing touchdowns.

The defense is led by a trio of first team all-region selections, one in each area of the field.

Junior defensive lineman Zach Franz leads the unit up front with 11.0 tackles for loss, including seven sacks, and a total of 33 stops. Senior Mykaell Bratchett, a second team all-conference honoree, paces the Warhawks with 11.5 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks.

Junior linebacker Justin Dischler is the team's top tackler, with 90 stops, including 7.0 for a loss, and six forced fumbles. Sophomore Paul Foster, a second team All-WIAC linebacker, is third on the team with 71 tackles.

Senior defensive back Brady Grayvold, who was recently tabbed an All-American by the American Football Coaches Association, leads the secondary in interceptions (7), pass breakups (9) and passes defended (16). Senior and second team all-region defensive back Marcus McLin has 36 tackles.

BY THE NUMBERS

  • Mount Union has an NCAA III best 742 wins as a program.
  • Mount Union has win-loss record of 209-8 since 2000
  • The Raiders have college football's two longest win streaks -- 55 from 2000-03 and 54 from 1996-99
  • Mount Union has 120 straight regular season road wins since a 21-18 loss at Baldwin-Wallace on Sept. 28, 1991.
  • Since 1996, the Raiders are 146-0 when winning the turnover battle.
  • The Raiders are 191-1 since 1990 when winning the turnover battle. That loss was a 20-17 loss to UW-LaCrosse in a 1995 national semifinal game in Alliance. In that game, the Raiders had a +1 turnover margin.
  • 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.
  • Mount Union has won 93 straight regular season games dating back to a 21-14 home loss to Ohio Northern on Oct. 22, 2005.
  • Mount Union has won 85-straight home games since a 21-14 loss to Ohio Northern in Alliance on Oct. 22, 2005.

BURKE SAVED THE BEST FOR LAST    
Mount Union senior quarterback Kevin Burke (Westlake/Lakewood St. Edward) had a career day in his final game at Mount Union Stadium as he accounted for eight touchdowns -- running for one and throwing for seven as he had a career-best 415 yards passing.

Burke is the nation's highest rated passer (187.7) and at the controls of the nation's No. 1 total offense (595.2 ypg) and scoring offense (60.3 ppg).  He is also one of four finalist for the Gagliardi Trophy that will be presented next Wednesday in Salem, Va.  Burke, won the award a year ago and if he won it again would be the first-ever two-time winner.

With the win last week, Burke is 43-1 as the Raiders starting QB.  He is a two-time All-American that led Mount Union to a national title in 2012 and back to the title game in 2013 as the only returning offensive starter. This season he led Mount Union to a 23rd straight and 26th overall Ohio Athletic Conference title and has earned the OAC's Bob Packard Offensive Back of the Year Award for the second time in three seasons while also being named a Capital One Academic All-American.  He has completed 65-percent of his passes (265-of-405) for 4,089 yards with a nation's best 49 touchdowns while rushing for 520 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground.  For his 53-game career, he has passed for 11,764 yards with 131 touchdowns, rushed for 2,407 yards and is second in Mount Union history with 14,171 yards of total offense (passing + rushing).

BETTER TO RECEIVE
Juniors Roman Namdar (Southlake, Texas/Carroll) and Taurice Scott (Alliance/Alliance) are both converted quarterbacks to wide recievers.  Namdar has 1,152 reciving yards while his 17 touchdowns on the season ties him with current Washington Redskins receiver Pierre Garcon for ninth on the school's single season list.  Scott has 75 catches for 1,047 yards with 11 touchdowns including a career-best 160 yards on 10 catches last week.

MANY HAPPY RETURNS
Sophomore Tim Kennedy (Hudson/Hudson) already has Mount Union single-season records for punt returns (45) and punt return yards (646).  He enters this week three returns and 42 yards from setting NCAA Division III records in those catagories.

KICKIN' IT
Mount Union senior Edward Ruhnke (Bayville, N.J./Central Regional) has kicked his way into the Mount Union and NCAA single season record books this season.  His 25 made field goals on the season is a Mount Union and NCAA single-season record.  He has also made 98 extra points which gives him a total of 173 points on the season which is a new NCAA single season record for kicking points in a season.  Earlier this season, he matched a school and OAC single game record with five made field goals against Wilmington, totalled an NCAA record 23 kicking points in that game and twice has matched the school record for longest field goal with two from 47 yards.  He was the All-OAC First Team kicker, All-North Region First Team kicker and was named to the Capital One Academic All-America Football First Team.
 
D-FENSE
Mount Union is No. 2 in the nation in scoring defense (9.3 ppg) and No. 3 in total defense (239.6 ypg).

Junior safety Alex Kocheff (Chagrin Falls/Kenston) is the leading tackler with 70 stops and was named OAC Lee Tressel Defensive Back of the Year.  Also named to the All-North Region First Team, he has 10.0 tackles for loss, 4.0 sacks and three interceptions.

Junior defensive lineman Tom Lally (Fairview Park/Lakewood St. Edward) has 17.5 tackles for loss and was named OAC Paul Hornemann Defensive Lineman of the Year and All-North Region First Team.  He has 49 total tackles and a team-best three fumble recoveries and his 21 career sacks is ninth all-time at Mount Union.

Linebackers in junior Hank Spencer (Greencastle, Ind./North Putnam) and senior Cody Pogorelc (St. Petersburg, Fla./St. Petersburg) were both All-OAC First Team selections while senior Jonathan Gonell (Pembroke Pines, Fla./University School) was on the All-OAC Second Team.  Spencer is second on the team with 66 tackles and was named All-North Region Second Team and a Capital One Academic All-American while Pogorelc is fourth on the team with 54 tackles.  Gonell is third on the team with 62 stops to go along with 12 tackles for loss.

Junior defensive back Tre Jones (Twinsburg/Twinsburg) had his team leading sixth interception last week and is an All-OAC and All-North Region First Team pick while junior defensive lineman Mike Furda (Wintersville/Indian Creek), an All-OAC Second Team selection, has a team-highs with 18 tackles for loss and 9.0 sacks on the season.

LINE ITEMS
Mount Union's offensive line play has been a big reason the Raiders are the nation's top rated offense.  Leading the unit is All-OAC and All-North Region First Team selection in junior Michael Frank (Eastlake/Eastlake North) who has played both left guard and left tackle this season.  The other two that have rotated in on the left side is sophomore Brooks Jenkins (Hilton Head, S.C./Hilton Head) and junior Anthony Presutti (Spring, Texas/Oak Ridge).  At center for 12 of the 13 games this season has been sophomore Mitch Doraty (Medina/Medina) while the right side has been anchored by seniors Pat Mahoney (Jeannette, Pa./Greensburg Central Catholic) at guard and Alex Goff (Mansfield/Madison) at tackle.

CAPTAINS
Mount Union's players have voted four players -- Quarterback Kevin Burke, safety Alex Kocheff, wide receiver Luc Meacham and linebacker Hank Spencer -- captains for 2014.  Burke, Meacham and Spencer were all captains last year as well.

PURPLE RAIDERS IN THE PROs
** Wide receiver Pierre Garcon, a sixth round draft pick of the Indianapolis Colts in 2008.  He spent four seasons with the Colts highlighted by playing in Super Bowl XLIV in 2009.  He signed a free agent contract with Washington in 2012 and led the NFL and set a team record for receptions in 2013.

** Wide receiver Cecil Shorts III, a fourth round pick in by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2011, is in his fourth year with the Jags in 2014.  He led Jacksonville in receiving in 2013.

** Tight end Kyle Miller played in a regular season game with the Indianapolis Colts in 2012 then was claimed off waivers by the Miami Dolphins and spent the rest of 2012 and 2013 there before being claimed by the Atlanta Falcons in 2014 where he is on the practice squad.

** Dom Capers enters 29th season as an NFL coach in 2014 and he is in his fifth season as defensive coordinator of the Green Bay Packers. The Packers won Super Bowl XLV. He has worked for seven different NFL teams including being the first head coach of the Carolina Panthers and was also the head coach of the Houston Texans.

** Nick Sirianni is in his sixth season as an NFL assistant coach and second with the San Diego Chargers as quarterbacks coach. He spent four years as an assistant coach with the Kansas City Chiefs. The 2003 Mount Union grad spent two seasons as an assistant with the Purple Raiders and three seasons as an assistant at Indiana (Pa.).

DID YOU KNOW
Mount Union's 844 points scored so far this season is an NCAA all-divisions record for points scored in a season.  It bested the old mark of 792 that Mount Union did in 2012.

Mount Union has had just three head football coaches since 1962.  Ken Wable coached the Raiders for 24 seasons (1962-85) and brought the school its first conference title and post-season berth in his final season in 1985.  Larry Kehres took over in 1986 and over 27 seasons won 23 conference titles and 11 national titles with a 332-24-3 record. Vince Kehres took over in 2013 and has won 28 of his first 29 games with two conference titles and two national title game appearances.

Kevin Burke will be the first quarterback in history to start in three different Stagg Bowls.