Football: #2 Mount Union Looks to #BlackOut Bears Saturday

Braeden Friss (Photo by Dan Poel, OhioSI.com)
Braeden Friss (Photo by Dan Poel, OhioSI.com)

#2 Mount Union Purple Raiders vs Ohio Northern Polar Bears

#BlackOut: Mount Union will wear Black M Helmets for first time with Black jerseys and Black pants
 
The Matchup: No. 2 ranked Mount Union hosts Ohio Athletic Conference opponent Ohio Northern for homecoming, Sat., Sept. 30 at 1:30 p.m. at Mount Union Stadium.

Mount Union (3-0, 2-0 OAC) had a pair of rushers go over 100 yards and churned out a season-high 325 rushing yards in a 55-7 over Baldwin Wallace last week. Freshman running back Josh Petruccelli (Perry/Perry) made his first career start and had 127 yards on 13 carries while junior Jawanza Evans-Morris (Coral Springs, Fla. / Taravella) had 102 yards rushing with a pair of TD's to lead the offense. Sophomore quarterback D'Angelo Fulford (Miramar, Fla. / Miramar) was 10-of-12 passing for 188 yards with three TD's -- two of those to senior Braeden Friss (Avon/Avon). On defense, the Raiders held BW to just 185 total yards with 5.0 sacks and 13.0 tackles for loss. Senior linebacker Charlie Dear (Massillon / Massiloon Jackson) had nine stops and 1.5 tackles for loss to lead the unit.

Ohio Northern (2-1, 1-1 OAC) and Otterbein were tied 7-7 after the first quarter last week before the Polar Bears scored 28 unanswered to win 35-7 and hand Otterbein its first loss of the season. Quarterback Will Freed completed 28 of 33 passes for 311 yards and four touchdowns. Chad Rex caught three of those TDs and had 140 yards receiving while Christiaan Williams rushed 32 times for 162 yards with a score. The defense held Otterbein to just 142 total yards as Zach Schmerge had a team-high six tackles.
 
The Series: This is the 60th meeting between the teams with Mount Union holding a 45-13-1 lead in the series that dates back to a 52-0 Mount Union win on Thanksgiving Day 1907. The Raiders have won 11-straight meetings after Ohio Northern's 21-14 win in 2005 in Alliance. A year ago, Mount Union ran out to a 21-0 first quarter lead on its way to a 38-21 win in Ada.

Coaching Connections: Northern head coach Dean Paul is a 1990 Mount Union grad who hails from nearby Garrettsville, Ohio. Mount Union grad Kyle Miller, who is in his first year as the Raiders' offensive line coach spent the last two years on the Ohio Northern staff. Mount Union recievers coach and assistant track coach Josh Colbert is a 2014 Northern grad who was a team captain on the football team and the 2014 NCAA long jump champion.

Scouting the Polar Bears: Ohio Northern returns eight starters from a year ago on offense and the veteran group is led by a pair of all-conference performers in junior quarterback Will Freed and sophomore running back Christiaan Williams. Freed is completing 71-percent of his passes this season at nearly 300 yards per game with 10 touchdowns to just two interceptions while Williams averages an OAC-best 139.0 yards rushing per game and he caught 15 passes this season. Junior receiver Chad Rex leads the OAC with seven receiving TDs and averages 128 yards per game. On defense, sophomore linebacker Mark Niles leads team in tackles and also has a sack, an interception, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Sophomore safety Greg Dennis has a team-best two interceptions as well.

Up Next: Mount Union hits the road next week playing at Heidelberg, Sat. Oct. 7 at 1 p.m. in Tiffin. The Raiders return home Oct. 14 to host Capital.
It's Coach to Cure MD Week: The Mount Union coaching staff will be wearing Coach to Cure MD patches this week to raise awareness and funding for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy research. Fans are encouraged to donate online at www.CoachtoCureMD.org or donate $5 by texting CURE to 90999.

Dynamic Duo: The running back combo of freshman Josh Petruccelli and junior Jawanza Evans-Morris both went over 100 yards rushing with 127 and 102 respectively against Baldwin Wallace last week. The pair have helped give the Raiders the OAC's best rushing attack so far this season at 259.0 yards per game. The last time two Mount Union running backs had over 100 yards in the same game was Oct. 10, 2015 against Ohio Northern when Logan Nemeth had 142 and B.J. Mitchell had 114 on the ground.
 
Passing Fancy: Mount Union leads the nation in passing yards allowed (91.7), team pass efficiency defense (61.2) and team pass efficiency (236.5). Sophomore quarterback D'Angelo Fulford is the nation's top rated passer (257.0) and also leads in yards per pass attempt (13.25) while second in completion percentage (74.5%).  Fulford has thrown for 676 yards with 11 touchdowns on the season.

Return to Sender: Senior Jared Ruth had a punt return that ran back for a score called back due to a penalty last week, but he leads the OAC and is third in the nation in punt return yardage at 24.6 per return. His two punt return touchdowns in week one versus NC Wesleyan gives him the nation's lead in the catagory.

Money Down: For those that call third down the money down, consider the Raiders rich. Mount Union leads the nation in third down defense as opponents through the first three games have converted only 15-percent on third down. The offense also has been making "money" as they are 55.9-percent on third down, which tops the OAC and fifth-best in the nation.

Seeing White: Mount Union junior safety Austin White (Wadsworth/Wadsworth) leads the defense with 19 tackles on the season. He also has a tackle for loss, a forced fumble and a fumble return.

On the air: All Mount Union football games will be 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 Ohio Northern game and Oct. 14 against Capital will also be broadcast on television on SportsTime Ohio and WIVM-TV 39 in Canton.