Football: #1 Mount Union Pounds #5 Whitewater; Nemeth Runs for 214 as Raiders Return to Stagg Bowl

Photo by JT Higgins
Photo by JT Higgins

ALLIANCE, Ohio –Mount Union held Wisconsin-Whitewater to 48 total yards in the second half as the Purple Raiders pounded the Warhawks 36-6 in an NCAA Division III national semifinal Saturday at Mount Union Stadium.

Top ranked Mount Union moves to 14-0 on the season, wins its 95th straight home game and advances to the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl – national championship game – play next Friday, Dec. 18 at 7 p.m. at Salem Stadium in Salem, Va.

No. 5 ranked and two-time defending national champion Wisconsin-Whitewater ends its season at 12-2.

It will be Mount Union 11th straight trip to the national title game -- 19th since 1993 and the Raiders are looking for their record 12th national title.

Logan Nemeth (McBain, Mich./McBain) churned out 214 yards on a career-best 32 carries with two touchdowns as the Raiders had 306 yards rushing and out-gained the Warhawks 441-253.

Mount Union quarterback Taurice Scott (Alliance/Alliance) threw for two scores and ran for another while Tim Kennedy (Hudson/Hudson) had five catches for 61 yards and a TD.

After the Warhawks converted four of their first five third down attempts, Mount Union, NCAA Division III's top rated defense, held Whitewater to zero for its next nine on third down, got three interceptions and did not allow them into the red zone for the game.

Alex Kocheff (Chagrin Falls/Kenston) and Hank Spencer (Greencastle, Ind./North Putnam) each had 10 tackles while Durum Alarms (Atlanta, Ga./Dacula) had 2.0 sacks to lead the unit.

Whitewater drove into Mount Union territory on each of its first two possessions but the Raider defense held and forced a pair of field goals as Lake Bachar hit from 46 and 40 yards to put the Warhawks up 6-0.

It was the first time Mount Union trailed all season and the Raiders responded by scoring two touchdowns in the final two minutes of the quarter to take a 15-6 lead.

Scott moved the team 75 yards in five plays and hit Roman Namdar (Southlake, Texas/Carroll) on a 31 yard touchdown pass to get Mount Union on the board. On the very next play from scrimmage, senior defensive end Mike Furda (Wintersville/Indian Creek) dropped back into coverage and intercepted Nelson giving the Raiders the ball back on the Whitewater 24 yard line. Scott scored a one-yard rushing touchdown five plays later.

Both teams exchanged punts and missed field goal attempts in the second quarter as Mount Union held the 15-6 lead at the break.

After both teams punted on their opening second half possessions, Mount Union went 80 yards on 11 plays as Nemeth had 36 of those yards on the ground including the final four on a touchdown run to extend the lead to 22-6.

On the next drive, the Warhawks lost four yards on three plays before sending the ball back to the Raiders, who chewed up 66 more yards including a big 19-yard run by Nemeth before Scott fired an 18-yard pass into the end zone that a diving Kennedy got to make it 29-6.

Nemeth put an exclamation point on his day with a six-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter while the defense got interceptions from Will Hiteshue (Medina/Medina) and Brian Groves (Stow/Stow) to finish the game.