Football: Defense Leads Purple Raiders to 12-0 Shutout and Its 13th DIII National Title

2017 Stagg Bowl Most Outstanding Player Nick Brish (Photo By: Steven Kachilla)
2017 Stagg Bowl Most Outstanding Player Nick Brish (Photo By: Steven Kachilla)

SALEM, Virginia – Mount Union rode a herculean defensive effort coupled with just enough offense to capture its 13th NCAA Division III national title, a 12 to 0 victory over defending champion Mary Hardin-Baylor in the 45th Amos Alonso Stagg Bowl.

It marked the first time Mary Hardin-Baylor was shutout since its first year of football in 1998.  It was the first Stagg Bowl shutout since 1982 and the lowest scoring Stagg Bowl ever.
The two teams went toe to toe for three quarters with a Mount Union field goal being the lone score during that time frame.  The Purple Raiders took control in the fourth quarter when D'Angelo Fulford (Miramar, FL) hit Justin Hill (Circleville, OH) with a 42 yard touchdown pass with 11:17 remaining.  Alex Louthan's extra point gave the Raiders a 10-0 lead.

Less than a minute later, Nick Brish (Milford, MI) pinned QB Carl Robinson in the end zone to take a 12-0 lead. Brish was named the most outstanding player. From there, the defense continued its outstanding effort and the Crusaders never threatened. Mount recorded its highest sack total of the season with eight.

The two defenses dominated the first half as Mount Union limited the Crusaders to 54 rushing and 38 passing yards.  The Cru defense held Mount Union to 27 rushing and 81 passing yards.  Each quarterback threw one interception, both within five seconds of each other in the second quarter.

Mount Union took the first lead of the game when Gabe Brown (Plant City, FL) picked off a Robinson pass at the Crusader 47-yard line with 5:46 remaining in the second quarter. Eleven plays later, Louthan (Loganville, GA) converted a 31-yard field goal to give the Raiders a 3-0 lead that they took into the locker room at halftime. It marked the first time Mary Hardin Baylor trailed all season.

The Raiders yielded 144 total yards, 38 on the ground on 42 attempts.  Brish led the team with 10 tackles .  Fulford threw for 137 yards on 12-21 with one touchdown and two interceptions.