Story and photo courtesy of Mount Union Athletics
UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, Ohio – No. 1 ranked Mount Union wrapped up a perfect 10-0 regular season with a 59-17 Ohio Athletic Conference win at John Carroll Saturday night.
The win gave the Purple Raiders the outright OAC title (21st in a row and 24th overall) and marked the 22nd perfect regular season in school history.
Mount Union makes its 24th NCAA Playoff appearance next week as the first round matchups will be announced at 6 pm Sunday with an online selection show on NCAA.com
Sophomore quarterback Kevin Burke (Westlake/Lakewood St. Edward) had a career-night as accounted for seven touchdowns (five passing, two rushing). He threw for 379 yards and was the team's leading rusher with 72 yards. He accounted for 362 total yards of offense and commanded an attack that generated a season-high 623 yards.
Senior wide receiver Jasper Collins (Geneva, N.Y./Geneva) also had a career-game as he caught 11 passes for 197 yards with two touchdowns. Fellow senior Chris Denton (Plantation, Fla./South Plantation) also went over 100 yards as he had seven catches for 137 yards and three touchdowns.
The defense held John Carroll to just 24 rushing yards and 254 total yards. Freshman linebacker Hank Spencer (Greencastle, Ind./North Putnam) had seven tackles and a fumble recovery while senior Alex Nicholls (Galion/Galion) and junior Isaiah Chambers (Cleveland/Bedford Chanel) each had interceptions.
John Carroll held a 10-7 lead after the first quarter as Brad Marchese kicked a 25-yard field goal and quarterback Mark Myers tossed a five-yard pass to Ben Madden. The Mount Union score came on a 21-yard pass from Burke to Collins.
The Raiders tacked on two-straight scores on a Blair Skilliter (Curtice/Genoa) 25-yard run and a Denton caught a 12-yard pass from Burke to make it 21-10.
The Blue Streaks got back on the board with a 30-yard pass from Myers to Randy Greenwood to close to 21-17 with 7:18 left in the second quarter.
Burke then capped a 75-yard drive with a 12-yard touchdown run and on the Raiders next possession with a minute to go before halftime took the wind out of the John Carroll sails with an 80-yard touchdown bomb to Collins that made it 35-17 at the break.
Mount Union ended virtually any hope of a John Carroll comeback as Burke hit Denton again on a six-yard scoring pass on the first possession of the second half to make it 42-17.
The Raiders then tacked on two more touchdowns on a 20-yard run from Burke and a 33-yard pass from Burke to Denton.
Tyler Almeida (Elyria/Elyria) finished the scoring with a 25-yard field goal.