Story and photo courtesy of Mount Union Athletics
BEREA, Ohio – T.J. Lattimore (Maple Heights/Maple Heights) ran for a career-high 131 yards and the Mount Union defense held No. 15 ranked Baldwin Wallace to 159 total yards as the top ranked Purple Raiders scored a 38-7 Ohio Athletic Conference victory in Berea.
The win secured the Purple Raiders' 21st consecutive (24th overall) Ohio Athletic Conference championship and a berth in the NCAA Division III playoffs for the 24th time. Mount Union (9-0, 8-0 OAC) is ranked No. 1 by the AFCA and d3football.com and No. 1 in the NCAA North Region.
After a scoreless first quarter that saw Mount Union gain just 20 yards on eight plays, the Raiders exploded for 499 yards over the last three quarters.
Quarterback Kevin Burke (Westlake/Lakewood St. Edward) completed 17-of-22 passes for 202 yards with touchdowns to Jasper Collins (Geneva, N.Y./Geneva) and Julius Moore (Lakeland, Fla./Kathleen Senior). Collins had a game-high 81 yards on seven catches while Moore had four catches for 80 yards.
Lattimore led a ground attack that chewed up 311 yards on the ground. Jake Simon (Parma Heights/Holy Name) had 79 yards on seven carries with a score while Blair Skilliter (Curtice/Genoa) had two touchdowns.
This was all more than enough for a defense that after surrendering 87 yards in the first quarter allowed just 72 yards the rest of the game.
The unit held BW to minus-one yard rushing with five sacks as freshman linebacker Hank Spencer (Greencastle, Ind./North Putnam) had a career-best 11 tackles while fellow linebacker Charles Dieuseul (Winter Haven, Fla./Lake Region) had an interception and Nick Driskill (Wabash, Ind./Southwood) a fumble recovery.
Baldwin Wallace kept the football for 11:47 of a scoreless first quarter and took a 7-0 lead on a deflected pass that Kevin Johnson ended up with for a 24-yard touchdown pass from Ryan O'Rourke.
Mount Union then got things going offensively as Skilliter capped a 75-yard drive with a 14-yard touchdown run on his first offensive touch of the game. Skilliter found the end zone again on the Raiders next possession with a four-yard run and Mount Union took a 14-7 lead with 6:15 left in the second quarter.
On the ensuing BW possession, Dieuseul intercepted a pass at midfield and on the very next play Burke hit Moore on a 52-yard bomb to put the Raiders up 21-7 at the half.
Mount Union outgained Baldwin Wallace, 241-57 in the second quarter.
The third quarter featured more of the same as Tyler Almeida (Elyria/Elyria) hit a 27-yard field goal and Simon ran in a two-yard score to extend the lead to 31-7 while the defense held BW to just 12 total yards in and 1:11 time of possession in the quarter.
Collins hauled in a six-yard scoring pass from Burke early in the fourth quarter to finish the scoring.
Mount Union wraps up the regular season next week at John Carroll with a 6pm kickoff from University Heights.