December 15, 2001

Stagg Bowl XXIX: Mount Union 30, Bridgewater (Va.) 27

More news about: Bridgewater | Mount Union

By Keith McMillan 
D3football.com

Chuck Moore and the Purple Raiders hold aloft a sixth national championship trophy.
By Pat Cummings, D3football.com

SALEM — Chuck Moore made his last day as a Purple Raider his best.

The fifth-year senior and Gagliardi Trophy winner set a Stagg Bowl record by rushing for 273 yards and three touchdowns to lead Mount Union to its sixth national championship 30-27 against Bridgewater (Va.).

"You never expect to put numbers together like that," said Moore, who won his second consecutive Stagg Bowl Most Outstanding Player award. "This is what dreams are made of."

The Raiders' unprecedented fifth national championship in six years and 82nd victory in 83 games certainly seemed delivered by the Sandman.

"I would have never expected half of what we've done," Moore said, admitting that he might start missing football as early as Sunday morning.

While Moore, who has completed course work and is set to begin work as a stockbroker in January, is going to miss football, the Purple Raiders will miss him.

"I hesitate to say I might never have an opportunity to coach another young man of his caliber," said Mount Union coach Larry Kehres, holding back tears. "Because I hope I do."

Moore's third touchdown, a 95-yard burst with 5:50 left in the third period, gave the Purple Raiders a 30-13 lead and seemingly sealed the outcome.

But Bridgewater, a team that had made a habit out of rallying from deficits in improving from 0-10 in 1998 to 12-1 this season, would not go away. Quarterback Jason Lutz found junior Brian Ratliff, who finished with a game-high seven receptions for 161 yards and two touchdowns, for a 59-yard score that cut the lead to 30-20 with 13:09 remaining.

Bridgewater had three possessions after that, but Lutz threw an interception, was sacked on a key third down and later scored on a 3-yard run.

Mount Union had taken possession ahead by 10 with 5:58 left, and an acrobatic catch on third-and-9 by Jason Candle (five catches for 120 yards) extended the Purple Raiders' drive and allowed them to kill three minutes of fourth-quarter clock. Rob Adamson lofted a pass down the middle that looked like it was intercepted by Bridgewater's Brad McCrady. Candle went up with McCrady, and as the two came down, Candle somersaulted and stood up with the ball in his hands.

"Maybe it was a lucky catch, maybe it was me making a play on the ball, maybe it was him not making a play on the ball," Candle said. "That's for you to debate. I've always prided myself on thinking I could step up in those situations."

After Lutz's touchdown narrowed the Mount Union advantage to three with 1:55 left, Bridgewater attempted but did not recover an onside kick. Moore rushed for 9, 6 and then 8 yards to seal the win, and the third title of his career.

"This is an unbelievable feeling to walk out of here as a senior and as a champion," said Moore. 

A game that some assumed might be a Purple Raider cakewalk started on high note for the Eagles. On the first play from scrimmage, Jason Lutz found Marcus Richardson on a seam route, a 67-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead.

Mount Union responded with Moore's first touchdown to cap a six-play, 49-yard drive. The Eagles missed an opportunity to go ahead 10-7 later in the opening period when a Sean Rowe 42-yard field goal attempt hit the left upright.

Mount Union's Rodney Chenos made it 10-7 with a field goal early in the second period. Chenos also missed a 33-yard attempt with just more than nine minutes left in the game.

When the teams traded blows early on, a momentum-changing 44-yard interception return by Jason Perkins gave Mount Union a 23-13 advantage 3:39 from the half.

"Even though it occurred early, it might have been a game-winning play," Kehres said.

Of course, the game's best play came from the Mount Union defensive line and secondary. They forced the Eagles, who outgained Mount Union 516-454, into four turnovers, all interceptions thrown by Lutz (14 of 34, 374 yards, 3 touchdowns). Mount Union threw one interception and lost a fumble. 

Bridgewater All-American tailback Davon Cruz finished with 71 yards on 18 carries, but was slowed by a rib injury early in the game. Cruz aggravated the injury later and was disappointed at not being full strength.

His counterpart, fellow All-American Moore had no such problems. His story went perfectly according to the script. 

"I have been lucky enough to play in three national championship games," Moore said. "I can honestly say it gets better and better every time. You never want to take winning for granted."

Sep. 23: All times Eastern
Final
at Bridgewater State 34, Fitchburg State 25
Box Score
Sep. 24: All times Eastern
Final
Christopher Newport 17, at TCNJ 0
Final
at Hobart 27, Union 23
Box Score Recap
Final
at Thomas More 20, Carnegie Mellon 16
Box Score Recap
Final
at Massachusetts Maritime 32, Worcester State 14
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Final
at Endicott 37, Nichols 0
Box Score Recap
Final
MIT 30, at Maine Maritime 13
Box Score
Final
at Buffalo State 40, Morrisville State 24
Box Score Recap
Final
at Salve Regina 48, Coast Guard 10
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Final
St. Lawrence 20, at RPI 14
Box Score Recap
Final
at Framingham State 23, Western Connecticut 17
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Final
at Montclair State 21, Rowan 14
Box Score Recap
Final
at Stevenson 54, FDU-Florham 15
Box Score Recap
Final
at Trinity (Conn.) 38, Bates 7
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Western New England 59, Curry 28
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Final
at Utica 24, Cortland 13
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
Colby 9, at Williams 7
Box Score Photos
Final
at Middlebury 40, Bowdoin 3
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Final
at Amherst 34, Hamilton 0
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Final
Kean 24, at William Paterson 13
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Final
at DePauw 66, Hiram 17
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Final
Franklin and Marshall 45, at Juniata 22
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Final
at Kenyon 31, Allegheny 7
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Final
Salisbury 35, at Southern Virginia 0
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Final
Albright 20, at Delaware Valley 17
Box Score Recap
Final
Lycoming 28, at Misericordia 24
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Final
at Plymouth State 30, Mass-Dartmouth 14
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at Husson 35, Alfred State 0
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at Springfield 28, WPI 23
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at Moravian 24, Dickinson 10
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Final
at Denison 45, Wooster 7
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at Wittenberg 24, Wabash 14
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at St. Vincent 57, Grove City 32
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at Susquehanna 55, Gettysburg 40
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Final
at King's 21, Lebanon Valley 17
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at Alfred 20, Ithaca 6
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Final
at Widener 25, Wilkes 23
Final
at McDaniel 30, Ursinus 27
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Final
at Muskingum 28, Marietta 10
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Final
at Minnesota-Morris 28, Iowa Wesleyan 27
Final
at John Carroll 42, Heidelberg 14
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Final
Ohio Northern 16, at Otterbein 10
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Final
Case Western Reserve 35, at Waynesburg 7
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Final
at Franklin 44, Bluffton 38
Box Score Recap
Final
Rose-Hulman 23, at Defiance 15
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Final
at Centre 49, Chicago 27
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Final
at Mount St. Joseph 38, Manchester 19
Box Score Recap
Final
Hanover 49, at Anderson 25
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Final
at Merchant Marine 55, Rochester 7
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Final
Johns Hopkins 30, at Muhlenberg 24
Box Score Recap
Final
Concordia-Chicago 42, at Maranatha Baptist 10
Box Score Photos
Final
Washington U. 36, at Birmingham-Southern 21
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
UW-Platteville 56, at Lakeland 0
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Final
at Northwestern (Minn.) 38, Martin Luther 20
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Final
at Eureka 28, MacMurray 13
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Final
at Westminster (Mo.) 35, Greenville 14
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Final
Dubuque 30, at Luther 17
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Final
Monmouth 52, at Lake Forest 6
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Final
St. Thomas 33, at St. John's 21
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Final
at Augsburg 49, Carleton 17
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Final
Bethel 44, at St. Olaf 7
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Final
at Hamline 42, Gustavus Adolphus 40
Box Score Recap
Final
at UW-Whitewater 35, Morningside 21
Box Score Recap
Final
at Hardin-Simmons 48, Texas Lutheran 38
Box Score Photos
Final
at UW-River Falls 42, Southwestern 22
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Final
Simpson 17, at Buena Vista 9
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Final
at St. Scholastica 49, Crown 13
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Final
Cornell 46, at Beloit 41
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Final
at Carthage 27, Augustana 24
Final
Coe 48, at Nebraska Wesleyan 17
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Final
at Wartburg 56, Finlandia 0
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Final
at Wheaton (Ill.) 10, Elmhurst 6
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Final
Hendrix 42, at Millsaps 14
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Final
Illinois Wesleyan 45, at North Park 10
Final
at Macalester 34, Grinnell 0
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Final
at Ripon 33, Knox 19
Final
Illinois College 40, at Lawrence 15
Final
UW-Oshkosh 77, at Morthland College (Ill.) 0
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Final
Central 42, at Loras 34
Box Score Recap
Final
at Geneva 35, Thiel 27
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Final
UW-Eau Claire 40, at Wisconsin Lutheran 14
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Final
St. John Fisher 42, at Brockport 38
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Final
UW-Stevens Point 44, at Adrian 19
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Final
UW-La Crosse 41, at Carroll 7
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Final
at Berry 41, Sewanee 3
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Final
Westminster (Pa.) 38, at Bethany 9
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Final
Ohio Wesleyan 29, at Oberlin 16
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Final
at Tufts 17, Wesleyan 14
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
Mount Union 49, at Baldwin Wallace 7
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Capital 35, Wilmington 21
Box Score
Final
at Southwestern Assemblies 23, Austin 17
Box Score Photos
Cancelled
Langston at McMurry
Video Live Stats
Final
at North Central (Ill.) 42, Millikin 7
Box Score Recap
Final
at Chapman 19, Trinity (Texas) 17
Box Score Recap
Sep. 29: All times Eastern
6:30 PM
Randolph-Macon at Shenandoah
Live Stats
Sep. 24: All times Eastern
Final
at Thomas More 20, Carnegie Mellon 16
Box Score Recap
Final
at Hobart 27, Union 23
Box Score Recap
Final
Christopher Newport 17, at TCNJ 0
Final
at Wittenberg 24, Wabash 14
Box Score
Final
Salisbury 35, at Southern Virginia 0
Box Score
Final
Albright 20, at Delaware Valley 17
Box Score Recap
Final
at Utica 24, Cortland 13
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Stevenson 54, FDU-Florham 15
Box Score Recap
Final
at Franklin 44, Bluffton 38
Box Score Recap
Final
Johns Hopkins 30, at Muhlenberg 24
Box Score Recap
Final
St. Thomas 33, at St. John's 21
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at UW-Whitewater 35, Morningside 21
Box Score Recap
Final
at Hardin-Simmons 48, Texas Lutheran 38
Box Score Photos
Final
at Wheaton (Ill.) 10, Elmhurst 6
Box Score Recap
Final
UW-Platteville 56, at Lakeland 0
Box Score
Final
UW-Oshkosh 77, at Morthland College (Ill.) 0
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Final
Central 42, at Loras 34
Box Score Recap
Final
St. John Fisher 42, at Brockport 38
Box Score Recap
Final
Mount Union 49, at Baldwin Wallace 7
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at North Central (Ill.) 42, Millikin 7
Box Score Recap