Football: #2 Raiders Rally to Get Back to Stagg Bowl for 20th Time

Josh Petruccelli (photo by Larry Radloff, d3football.com)
Josh Petruccelli (photo by Larry Radloff, d3football.com)

OSHKOSH, Wisconsin – No. 2 Mount Union rallied from 25 points down in the second half to get a 43-40 victory over No. 3 Wisconsin-Oshkosh in the semifinals of the NCAA Division III Football Playoffs Saturday at JJ Keller Field at Titan Stadium.

The Purple Raiders (14-0) advance to the Stagg Bowl – national title game – for the 20th time and will play the winner of a semifinal between No. 1 Mary Hardin-Baylor and No. 11 Brockport State (N.Y.) next Friday, Dec. 15 at 7 p.m. at Salem Stadium in Salem, Va.

Oshkosh (12-1) led 21-10 at halftime and scored twice in the first six minutes of the second half on a Cole Yoder 42-yard interception return and a Mitch Gerhartz 43-yard touchdown run to lead 35-10.

Mount Union rallied with three-straight touchdowns over the final 6:34 of the third quarter to close the gap to 35-30.

Early in the fourth quarter Oshkosh got a 36-yard field goal from Turner Geisthardt to push the score to 38-30. The Raiders answered again with a 10-play drive that was capped by a Josh Petruccelli (Perry / Perry) one-yard run but on the two-point conversion attempt Oshkosh returned it 98 yards for two points and it was 40-36.

Mount Union's defense came up again on the next as Louis Berry (Pittsburgh, Pa. / Shady Side Academy) intercepted Oshkosh quarterback Brett Kasper then five plays later Jawanza Evans-Morris (Coral Springs, Fla. / Taravella) had a one-yard rushing TD to give the Raiders what turned out to be the winning score with 5:41 to play.

Kasper would throw his second interception, this one to Kollyn Crenshaw (Solon / Solon) on the Titans next drive. The Raiders would drive to the Oshkosh 40 and force the Titans to use all their time outs. Oshkosh would get the ball back one more time and missed a 46-yard field goal as time expired.

Mount Union quarterback D'Angelo Fulford (Miramar, Fla. / Miramar) completed 28-of-42 passes for 330 yards while throwing for a score and running for another.

Petruccelli had a career-high 27 carries for 132 yards while he had Evans-Morris each ran for two scores while Jared Ruth (Indianapolis, Ind. / Pike) had 11 catches for 130 yards, Justin Hill (Circleville / Circleville) had 102 yards receiving and Luke Herrington (Wintersville / Steubenville) caught a touchdown.

Aside from the two interceptions, the Raider defense also got a game-high 12 stops from Danny Robinson (Massillon / Massillon Washington).

Kasper threw for 297 yards and two touchdowns, 190 of those yards were caught by Sam Mentkowki while Dylan Hecker had 92 yards rushing to lead Oshkosh.