Story and photo courtesy of Mount Union Athletics
2012 University of Mount Union Football
NCAA PLAYOFFS - Stagg Bowl XL
#1 Mount Union Purple Raiders (14-0) vs
#2 St. Thomas Tommies (14-0)
Fri., Dec. 14 - 7 pm - Salem Stadium (Salem, Va.)
TV: ESPNU Anish Shroff play-by-play, Dan Hawkins color, Allison Williams sideline - WATCH LIVE
RADIO: WDPN 1310 AM:LISTEN LIVE | WRMU91.1 FM: LISTEN LIVE
No. 1 ranked University of Mount Union plays No. 3 ranked University of St. Thomas (Minn.) in the NCAA Division III National Championship Game -- the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl -- Friday, Dec. 14 at 7 pm at Salem Stadium in Salem, Va.
The game will be broadcast LIVE on ESPNU and ESPN3 (check with your cable/satellite provider for information).
St. Thomas is 14-0 overall and in the tournament after winning the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title and its automatic bid. The Tommies are making their fifth overall and fourth straight NCAA Playoff appearance with their first-ever trip to the Stagg Bowl. St. Thomas has an 11-4 record in the playoffs including a 48-17 win over St. Norbert (Wis.) in the first round, a 24-17 win over Elmhurst (Ill.) in the second round, a 47-7 quarterfinal win against Hobart (N.Y.) in the quarterfinals and a 28-14 win against UW-Oshkosh in the semifinals.
The Purple Raiders are 14-0 overall and one of 24 conference champions to claim an automatic bid as Mount Union won its 21st straight and 24th overall Ohio Athletic Conference championship with a 9-0 record.
Mount Union has a 77-13 record in NCAA Playoff games including a 72-14 win over Christopher Newport (Va.) in the first round, a 55-13 win over Johns Hopkins (Md.) in the second round, a 72-17 win against Widener in the quarterfinals and a 48-35 win over Mary Hardin-Baylor (Texas) in the semifinals.
The Raiders are in the Stagg Bowl for the 16th time in 20 years and have won a record 10 National Championships.
This is the first-ever meeting between the two schools. Mount Union has a 5-1 record against members of the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference with a 3-1 record versus St. John's and a 2-0 mark against Bethel.
Larry Kehres (Mount Union '71) is 331-24-3 (.928) in his 27th season as head coach and is one of the most successful coaches in college football history. He is one of only 10 coaches in college football history to win at least 300 games and with the recent retirement of John Gagliardi at St. John's is the winningest active football coach in the nation. His teams have won 23 OAC Championships, including the last 21 in a row, along with 10 of the last 18 NCAA Division III National Championships. He is a past president of the American Football Coaches Association and for a record 17th time the AFCA has named him Regional Coach of the Year.
Glenn Caruso (Ithaca, N.Y. '96) is 57-7 (.890) in his fifth season as the head coach at St. Thomas. After a 7-3 first season, the Tommies have won at least 11 games and been in the playoffs each of the last four seasons. He played center at Ithaca then had assistant coaching stints at Ithaca, North Dakota State, UW-Eau Claire, South Dakota. His first head coaching job was a two-year run at Macalester with his combined coaching record of 63-19.
SCOUTING THE TOMMIES
Only two NCAA Division III teams have won more games than St. Thomas since the start of the 2009 season -- Mount Union at 56 and UW-Whitewater at 52 then the Tommies with 50. The Tommies are rated 16th in the nation in defense (278.29) and 23rd in the nation in offense (464.86).
Youth is the theme of the offense as like Mount Union a sophomore quarterback leads the Tommies in Matt O'Connell. O'Connell has tossed for 2,655 yards (199-of-340) with 22 TD's and 15 interceptions. He is also the team's second leading rusher with 795 yards on the ground with five TD's. His top target is another sophomore as Dan Ferrazzo has 54 catches for 788 yards with 4 TD's. Senior tight end Logan Marks has a team-best seven TD catches. Even more youth is in the backfield as freshman Brenton Braddock has rushed for 1,125 yards on 207 carries with 16 touchdowns.
The Tommies stout defense has 44.0 sacks, 19 interceptions with 16 forced fumbles. Junior linebacker Tremayne Williams has a team-best 56 tackles (10 for loss) with 4.0 sacks and 3.0 forced fumbles to lead the unit. Senior defensive lineman Ayo Idowu has 47.5 stops -- 16.0 for loss with 5.0 sacks while senior Chinni Oji and sophomore Sean Hamlin each have a team-high four interceptions.
BY THE NUMBERS
Mount Union's win-loss record since 2000
The Raiders hold the NCAA's two longest consecutive college football win streaks -- 55 from 2000-2003 and 54 from 1996-99
Mount Union, St. Thomas and Winston-Salem St. are all tied with college football's longest active win streak at 14 games. Winston-Salem St. plays in the NCAA Division II title game this week.
With a 45-7 win in the season opener at Franklin, Mount Union became the 21st overall and only 2nd NCAA Division III program with 700 victories as a program.
Since 1996, the Raiders record when winning the turnover battle.
The Raiders record since 1990 when winning the turnover battle. The lone loss was a 20-17 loss to Wisconsin-LaCrosse in a 1995 national semifinal game when the Raiders had a +1 turnover margin.
points scored by Mount Union this season which is most through 13 games since 2007 when the Raiders had 757 at this point on their way to an NCAA record 778 points scored.
The Raiders 10 National Championships (1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2008) are a record for college football teams in a playoff format. Notre Dame has the most college football titles (11) for teams playing in a non-playoff format.
Consecutive minutes Mount Union's defense kept opponents scoreless during a stretch of the season that included an NCAA Division III record streak of six straight shutouts.
Larry Kehres is one of 10 coaches in college football history to win at least 300 games. Here are the others.
•489 John Gagliardi (Carroll, Mont., St. John's, Minn.)
•408 Eddie Robinson (Grambling State)
•377 Bobby Bowden (Samford, West Virginia, Florida State)
•331 Larry Kehres * (Mount Union)
•323 Paul "Bear" Bryant (Alabama, Maryland, Kentucky, Texas A&M)
•319 Pop Warner (Georgia, Carlisle, Pitt, Stanford, Temple)
•314 Roy Kidd (Eastern Kentucky)
•314 Amos Alonzo Stagg (Springfield, Chicago, Pacific)
•305 Frosty Westering (Parsons, Lea, Pacific Lutheran)
•300 Tubby Raymond (Delaware)
Mount Union will play its 90th NCAA playoff game on Saturday and have had countless outstanding performances but the last three weeks the Raiders have re-written a few lines in the books ...
Playoff - Single Game Individual Records
Most TD's: 5 - Jasper Collins vs. Johns Hopkins
Most TD Receptions: 5 - Jasper Collins vs. Johns Hopkins ** also a school-record
Playoff - Single Game Team Records
Most First Downs: 40 vs. Widener ** also a school-record and NCAA Division III recordMost
Points Scored: 72 vs. Christopher Newport and Widener, 2012
Fewest Rushing Yards Allowed: -29 vs. Widener ** also NCAA Division III playoff record
TD Passes Caught: 9 by Jasper Collins, 2012 ** also NCAA Division III playoff record
Net Yards Receiving: 675 by Jasper Collins, 2012 ** also NCAA Division III playoff record
Team Points Scored: 249 in 2012 ** also NCAA Division III playoff record
Mount Union Single Season Individual Records
Punt Returns For TD's: 5 - Chris Denton, 2012 (had #5 in playoff game vs. Christopher Newport)
Punt Return Yards: 584 - Chris Denton, 2012
DRISKILL HAS CAREER DAY
Senior safety Nick Driskill (Wabash, Ind./Southwood) blocked two punts in the second quarter -- one he returned for a touchdown that sparked a 30-point second quarter against Widener last week.
This past Tuesday Driskill was in New York City as one of 15 football players in all levels of college football to receive a Scholar Athlete Award and an $18,000 post-grad scholarship from the National Football Foundation. The group of Scholar Athlete winners included USC quarterback Matt Barkley and Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o. The two-time OAC Outstanding Defensive Back, All-American, Academic All-American. He is also the CAPITAL ONE Academic All-American of Year for Division III football selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America. He is the second-ever Mount Union player to receive the award joining Greg Micheli in 2008.
SPENCER FOR HIRE
Freshman linebacker Hank Spencer (Greencastle, Ind./North Putnam) blocked a punt that teammate and junior defensive lineman Nyejel Thomas (Pittsburgh, Pa./Central Catholic) recovered in the end zone for a touchdown against Mary Hardin-Baylor. Spencer is third on the team in tackles this season with 53 and is a fast starter off the field as well as he was an early enrollee at Mount Union as he graduated from high school last December, attended Mount Union in the spring and went through spring practice while getting a 4.0 grade point average.
NEW LOCKERS/PRESS BOX PROJECT
Fans will notice some dust behind the opens stand east of the stadium as a pair of locker rooms are under construction to house Mount Union's men's and women's soccer and new men's and women's lacrosse programs. A new facade will be added to the back of the open stands and the plan is to expand and renovate the main press box will be a second phase done later. As a result of the expansion, Stadium Drive will no longer exist.
All-American senior linebacker Charles Dieuseul (Winter Haven, Fla./Lake Region) match his career-high with 12 tackles last week against Mary Hardin-Baylor. Over three playoff games, Dieuseul has a team-best 34 tackles, 6.5 for loss and 2.0 sacks for a defense that enters this week ranked No. 1 in the nation in total defese (179.64). The Raiders are also No. 1 in scoring defense (8.86 pts/game) and rushing defense (46.07 yds/gm). Dieuseul is also Mount Union's career leader in tackles for loss with 54.5.
COLLINS KEEPS CATCHING
Mount Union wide receiver Jasper Collins had his fifth straight 100-yard and second 200-yard recieving game for the second time in three weeks with 11 catches for 200 yards against Mary Hardin-Baylor. He had two more touchdon catches which was his fifth straight multi-TD game and extended his NCAA tournament record with 11 touchdown catches. The old record of eight was done by Reiko Gollate in 1997.
PURPLE RAIDERS IN THE PROs
Wide receiver Pierre Garcon, a sixth round draft pick of the Indianapolis Colts in 2008, signed an off-season free agent deal with Washington and had five catches for 87 yards and a touchdown that tied the game which the Redskins later won 31-28 in overtime over Baltimore. Cecil Shorts III, a fourth round pick in by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2011, was injured this past week. Kyle Miller made his NFL debut as a TE for the Indianapolis Colts, three weeks ago, was waived then signed by the Miami Dolphins. Two Raiders in the NFL coaching ranks are Dom Capers, defensive coordinator of Green Bay Packers and Nick Sirianni wide receivers coach of the Kansas City Chiefs.
Sophomore quarterback Kevin Burke (Westlake/Lakewood St. Edward) enters this week as the nation's No. 1 rated passer with a rating of 191.63. Burke tossed three touchdown passes last week to give him 37 on the season which is the most for a Raider QB since Kurt Rocco tossed 42 in 2009. Burke has thrown for 3,550 yards and is second on the team in rushing with 748 yards. His 4,298 yards of total offense this season accounts for 55-percent of all the yards the Raiders have this season.Mount Union wide receiver Jasper Collins had his fifth straight 100-yard and second 200-yard recieving game for the second time in three weeks with 11 catches for 200 yards against Mary Hardin-Baylor. He had two more touchdon catches which was his fifth straight multi-TD game and extended his NCAA tournament record with 11 touchdown catches. The old record of eight was done by Reiko Gollate in 1997.