December 17, 2005

Freshman leads Mount Union to eighth national title

More news about: Mount Union | UW-Whitewater
Nate Kmic scampers down the field on his record-tying touchdown run. 
Photo by Ryan Coleman, D3football.com

By Gordon Mann
D3sports.com

SALEM — Nate Kmic ran for 185 yards and three touchdowns as the Mount Union Purple Raiders (14-1) defeated the UW-Whitewater Warhawks (14-1) 35-28 to capture their eighth Division III football national championship.

Kmic was named the Most Outstanding Player of Stagg Bowl XXXIII and finished the postseason with 1,041 yards and 13 touchdowns in five games – quite a run for a freshman thrust into a starting role after Aaron Robinson was injured in the first round of the playoffs. 

The Warhawks showed no signs of early jitters in their first Stagg Bowl appearance. Cornerback Victor Wipperfurth ended Mount Union’s first drive by intercepting Mike Jorris and returning the ball to the Purple Raiders’ 42-yard line. Running back Justin Beaver capped Whitewater’s first drive with a 2-yard touchdown rush.

The Purple Raiders answered two drives later when Mike Jorris found wide receiver Pierre Garcon who bolted 63 yards to the end zone to tie the game with 6:32 left in the first quarter. 

Jorris hit Garcon again for a 12-yard touchdown strike with 5:03 to play in the first half to give Mount Union a 13-7 lead. That drive featured instant replay’s debut at the Division III level as the officials twice reviewed potential end zone grabs by Garcon. In both cases the ruling on the field stood including Garcon’s second touchdown.

Whitewater had an opportunity to tie the game before halftime, but free safety Nick Barren jarred the ball loose from tight end Pete Schmitt’s hands as he crashed across the goal line. The officials reviewed the play and the call stood as incomplete call. The drive ended when Chaulk’s 41-yard field goal attempt fell short.

The Warhawks had another chance to tie the game in their first drive of the second half, reaching the Purple Raiders’ 1-yard line on ten plays. But on fourth and goal, line backer Matt Rees and Barren stuffed Beaver for no gain.

Three plays later Kmic carried the ball around the left side of the line and shot down the field for a 95-yard touchdown, tying a Stagg Bowl record set by former Purple Raider Chuck Moore in 2001.

Less than seven minutes later, Kmic scored again, this time on a 2-yard carry to push Mount Union’s lead to 28-7.

Facing their largest deficit of the season, the Warhawks’ offense awoke as Justin Jacobs hit wide receiver Jim Leszczynski for a 23-yard touchdown pass. Whitewater needed a quick defensive stop with just 12:22 remaining in the game and got it when defensive lineman Eric Kosterman stopped Kmic on one third-and-1. Whitewater cut the Mount Union lead to 28-21 with 8:37 left as Jacobs hit Schmitt for his second touchdown pass of the game. 

But the Warhawks could not get another sorely needed stop on the ensuing drive. The Purple Raiders mounted a 12 play drive that consumed more than five minutes and ended in Kmic’s third rushing touchdown of the day.

Whitewater mounted a final rally, pushing down to the Mount Union 1-yard line with under a minute to play. But they needed three tries to score before Jacobs pushed across the goal line to narrow the Purple Raiders’ lead to 35-28.

With just two seconds left and the inability to advance an onside kick in college football, Whitewater needed a minor miracle to tie the game. Instead Mount Union recovered the onside kick and took a final snap to wrap up the national championship with a 35-28 victory.

comments powered by Disqus
Sep. 3: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Anna Maria at Coast Guard
7:00 PM
Franklin and Marshall at Lebanon Valley
7:00 PM
Ursinus at Millersville
7:30 PM
Manchester at Trine
Live Stats
8:00 PM
Belhaven at Millsaps
8:00 PM
Bethel at UW-Stout
Sep. 4: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Salisbury at Albright
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Gettysburg at Bridgewater (Va.)
7:00 PM
St. Lawrence at Morrisville State
7:00 PM
MIT at WPI
Live Stats Video
7:00 PM
Westfield State at Nichols
7:00 PM
Becker at Fitchburg State
Live Stats Video
7:00 PM
Stevenson at N.C. Wesleyan
7:00 PM
Mount Ida at Mass-Dartmouth
Live Stats Video
7:00 PM
Curry at Bridgewater State
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Wilkes at Muhlenberg
7:00 PM
Averett at Washington and Lee
Live Stats
8:30 PM
Luther at UW-La Crosse
Sep. 5: All times Eastern
TBA
Buffalo State at Otterbein
TBA
Buena Vista at UW-Platteville
12:00 PM
Hobart at Dickinson
12:00 PM
Norwich at RPI
12:00 PM
Heidelberg at Cortland State
12:00 PM
Maine Maritime at SUNY-Maritime
12:00 PM
St. John Fisher at Thomas More
Live Stats
12:00 PM
Alfred at Husson
Live Stats Video
12:00 PM
Framingham State at Endicott
Live Stats
12:00 PM
TCNJ at Christopher Newport
12:00 PM
Worcester State at Salve Regina
Live Stats
12:00 PM
Grove City at Juniata
12:00 PM
Westminster (Mo.) at Southwestern Assemblies
1:00 PM
Delaware Valley at Montclair State
1:00 PM
Lycoming at Susquehanna
1:00 PM
William Paterson at Alfred State
1:00 PM
Alma at Finlandia
1:00 PM
Springfield at Western New England
1:00 PM
Ferrum at Emory and Henry
1:00 PM
Earlham at Olivet
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Centre at Hanover
1:00 PM
Wabash at Hampden-Sydney
Video Audio Audio
1:00 PM
Washington and Jefferson at Wooster
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Rowan at Widener
1:00 PM
Ithaca at Union
1:00 PM
Brockport State at Oberlin
1:00 PM
John Carroll at St. Vincent
1:00 PM
Johns Hopkins at Randolph-Macon
1:00 PM
Castleton State at Plymouth State
1:00 PM
Methodist at Apprentice
1:00 PM
Waynesburg at Muskingum
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Case Western Reserve at Chicago
Live Stats Video
1:00 PM
Carnegie Mellon at Washington U.
Live Stats Video
1:30 PM
Wittenberg at Capital
1:30 PM
Illinois Wesleyan at Franklin
Live Stats
1:30 PM
Berry at Maryville (Tenn.)
Live Stats
1:30 PM
Monmouth at Hope
Live Stats Audio
1:30 PM
Bethany at Mount Union
Live Stats
1:30 PM
Bluffton at Wilmington
2:00 PM
Kenyon at Sewanee
2:00 PM
Beloit at Concordia-Chicago
2:00 PM
Rockford at Lawrence
2:00 PM
Wisconsin Lutheran at Lake Forest
2:00 PM
Carthage at St. Norbert
2:00 PM
Wheaton (Ill.) at Coe
2:00 PM
Jamestown at Concordia-Moorhead
2:00 PM
Macalester at Carleton
2:00 PM
Minnesota-Morris at Hamline
2:00 PM
Northwestern (Minn.) at St. Olaf
2:00 PM
Dubuque at St. John's
2:00 PM
Illinois College at Aurora
2:00 PM
North Park at Concordia (Wis.)
Live Stats
2:00 PM
UW-River Falls at Simpson
2:00 PM
Hendrix at Austin
2:00 PM
Southwestern at Hardin-Simmons
2:00 PM
Knox at Eureka
2:00 PM
Maranatha Baptist at Martin Luther
2:00 PM
St. Scholastica at Ripon
2:00 PM
Louisiana College at Huntingdon
2:00 PM
Loras at Elmhurst
3:00 PM
Pacific at College of Idaho
4:00 PM
George Fox at La Verne
4:00 PM
Puget Sound at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
Live Stats
4:30 PM
Misericordia at Utica
Live Stats Video Audio
5:00 PM
Western Connecticut at Hartwick
5:00 PM
Defiance at Adrian
6:00 PM
Moravian at King's
6:00 PM
Birmingham-Southern at LaGrange
6:00 PM
UW-Stevens Point at Albion
6:00 PM
Redemption Christian College at Southern Virginia
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Guilford at Greensboro
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Allegheny at Thiel
7:00 PM
Gallaudet at Shenandoah
Live Stats Live Stats Video Audio
7:00 PM
Kalamazoo at Rose-Hulman
Live Stats Video
7:00 PM
Westminster (Pa.) at Hiram
7:00 PM
Marietta at Denison
7:00 PM
Anderson at Taylor (Ind.)
7:00 PM
Mary Hardin-Baylor at Ohio Wesleyan
7:00 PM
Frostburg State at Geneva
7:00 PM
UW-Oshkosh at Robert Morris University (Ill.)
7:00 PM
Greenville at Millikin
7:00 PM
Trinity (Texas) at Howard Payne
7:00 PM
Texas Lutheran at Sul Ross State
7:00 PM
Mount St. Joseph at Augustana
7:10 PM
St. Thomas at UW-Eau Claire
7:30 PM
Catholic at McDaniel
7:30 PM
Benedictine at Central
8:00 PM
McMurry at East Texas Baptist
8:00 PM
Lakeland at Carroll
8:00 PM
Augsburg at Wartburg
8:00 PM
Gustavus Adolphus at Crown
8:00 PM
Iowa Wesleyan at Cornell
Maintenance in progress.