December 8, 2011

Flip of a coin

More news about: Mount Union | Wesley
Charles Dieuseul, photos by JT Higgins
Charles Dieuseul has anchored the Mount Union defensive line for the past two-plus seasons.
Photo by JT Higgins for d3photography.com

By Jason Bailey
for D3sports.com

If quarterbacks had time to brainstorm adjectives while fleeing Charles Dieuseul, they might describe him as relentless, as ferocious, as dangerous. Almost anything but indecisive.

But how many other football players picked Mount Union by flipping a coin?

“I’m that kind of person that I leave my life up to chance,” said Dieuseul, who was also considering Jacksonville University, a Division I FCS program in Florida. “I couldn’t make a decision.”

Recruiting visits to both campuses didn’t make things clearer. Mount Union had amazing facilities, legendary coach Larry Kehres and a winning tradition while Jacksonville had relative homefield advantage. While Dieuseul was weighing his options, close teammate Stephen Fox also faced a tough decision after being accepted to play football at Harvard and Brown.

Dieuseul eventually pulled out a quarter at high school baseball practice in Winter Haven, Fla. It was a tried-and-true method, but there was much more at stake than burgers or tacos for dinner.

Fox called heads before Dieuseul flicked the coin into the air. Heads. Brown.

Dieuseul stuck with heads, and Fox returned the favor. Heads. Mount Union.

“I’m happy I chose Mount because it is an excellent place,” Dieuseul said. “I fit in with everybody, I have a personal relationship with all our coaches. It’s the right fit for me. I truly believe that coin flip set me up for the rest of my life.”

Although he hasn’t called any pregame coin tosses for the Purple Raiders, Dieuseul has made plenty of contributions to a team seeking its seventh consecutive Stagg Bowl appearance. The junior defensive end/linebacker has 70 tackles, a team-high nine sacks and three forced fumbles for a defense that leads Division III in points allowed (7.38) and yards allowed (180.23).

And since arriving at Mount Union, Dieuseul knows exactly what he wants.

“He’s hungry to get his first national championship,” said Fox, a backup nose guard at Brown. “He’s always strived to be No. 1, no matter what he did. So going to Mount Union — where they are competing for national championships every year — I think that’s really perfect for his personality.”

Dieuseul quarterbacked a veer offense and played middle linebacker at Lake Region High School before transitioning to defensive end as a freshman at Mount Union. Now splitting time at both defensive positions — Fox uses Dallas Cowboys superstar DeMarcus Ware as comparison — Dieuseul always keeps his eyes in the backfield. He rushes the passer from a two-point stance when playing defensive end in the base 4-2-5 scheme, spying the quarterback as a linebacker when the Purple Raiders shift to their 3-3 stack defense.

Dieuseul’s explosive play last week might be the defining moment of Mount Union’s postseason.

Wabash trailed 20-0 in the fourth quarter, but was knocking on the door one week after rallying from a 21-point deficit. Dieuseul responded by exploding into running back Tyler Holmes, forcing a 2-yard loss on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line. The stagnant Mount Union offense — down to its third-string quarterback, freshman Kevin Burke — couldn’t take advantage, however, and committed an intentional safety on fourth down to gain field position.

“We can deal with two points, but we hate giving up touchdowns,” Dieuseul said.

That stingy mindset is even more important for a Mount Union team that also led the country in scoring defense in 2010 (8.93) and 2008 (8.73), finishing second in 2009 (9.67). Injuries to junior quarterbacks Neal Seaman and Matt Piloto in the quarterfinal victory resulted in the fewest points Mount Union has scored in a playoff game since the 2006 quarterfinals. The Purple Raiders still are averaging 39.7 points per game, but played two one-possession contests in the regular season (escaping Ohio Northern 14-6 and Baldwin-Wallace 25-20) for the first time since 1998.

Scout’s take

Baldwin-Wallace pushed Mount Union to the limit in an Ohio Athletic Conference matchup this season, losing 25-20 on a touchdown pass with 135 seconds remaining. Although the Purple Raiders allowed the most points they have since last season’s Stagg Bowl, Yellow Jackets coach John Snell said it’s tough to crack the code of the nation’s top-ranked defense.

“I wish I really knew the answer. We haven’t been able to score enough points to win. … They’ve been extremely challenging to attack. They are so good on defense. The word I have typically used to describe them is stifling. Very rarely do you move the ball on a consistent basis against them. … I don’t think there’s any glaring weakness to attack. They’re good up front, their linebackers are good, their secondary is very athletic and runs extremely well. There’s really not too many weak spots. … We felt that we’ve got to continue to do what we’ve done offensively. Try to run the ball and spread it around to different people. Do different things that might catch them. A play here and there that might get us four, five or six yards that they might not have seen.

“You can’t beat them being one-dimensional. I’ve really not seen anybody beat them solely running the ball or solely throwing the ball. You’ve got to be able to mix it up and have to be able to have success in both phases. … They’ve gone this year between the 4-2 and the 3-3 stack. We see both of those defenses in our conference. It’s not dramatically different, they just have exceptional people playing at every one of those positions.”

“You never want to assume the other side of the ball is going to score a lot of points,” said defensive coordinator Vince Kehres, Larry’s son. “You always anticipate every play could be significant, and the game could come down the wire. You want to play great on your side of the ball.”

The Purple Raiders have no shortage of dynamic defensive players alongside Dieuseul. Junior strong safety Nick Driskill, who was named the D3football.com North Region Defensive Player of the Year, has a team-high 92 tackles along with four interceptions and 6.5 sacks. Senior free safety Alex Ferrara is the vocal leader, making on-field adjustments for an experienced defense that returned nine starters and ranks second in the country with 25 interceptions.

“We have a lot of guys on the team who seem to be where the ball is and make plays when the opportunity arises,” Driskill said. “We have a quick, athletic team.”

Forcing turnovers and preventing big plays will be important against a familiar playoff foe. Mount Union (13-0, 9-0 OAC) hosts Wesley (12-1) in a national semifinal Saturday, two years after the Purple Raiders advanced to the Stagg Bowl by defeating the Wolverines 24-7.

Kehres said watching game film of the previous meeting is useful because Wesley senior quarterback Shane McSweeny (2,669 passing yards and 31 touchdowns, 712 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns) remains the leader of a potent offensive attack. Mount Union’s scout-team offense is lining its receivers offsides in practice this week to simulate the Wolverines’ speed.

“The key for us is not allow Wesley to have a lot of explosive plays,” Kehres said. “We don’t want to change our philosophy. We want to stop the run and I’m confident with the guys in our secondary that they can hang with the receivers.”

Driskill said he isn’t concerned because of Mount Union has experience facing great receivers in practice. But the Purple Raiders have lost significant star power on offense — Cecil Shorts was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in April after graduating with 63 career receiving touchdowns — and look more vulnerable than any season in recent memory.

Playing in close games isn’t necessarily a negative. The defensive players agree it prepares them for competitive fourth quarters after 10-point losses to UW-Whitewater in recent Stagg Bowls — Mount Union allowed 21 unanswered points in 2010 and 10 fourth-quarter points in 2009.

“Coming to Mount Union, you don’t expect to lose,” said Ferrara, who was one of 10 Gagliardi Trophy finalists. “It really shows us that we’re not those (previous) teams. We really have to earn everything that we do. A lot of people take it for granted. Losing just adds more fuel to the fire.”

Sep. 30: All times Eastern
Final
Randolph-Macon 24, at Shenandoah 19
Box Score Photos
Final
at Washington and Lee 49, Emory and Henry 23
Box Score
Oct. 1: All times Eastern
4th - 10:49
30 Massachusetts Maritime
0 Fitchburg State
Video Preview Preview Live Stats
4th - 10:19
35 Becker
12 Gallaudet
Video Live Stats
4:14 4th
28 Merchant Marine
31 Hobart
Video Live Stats Audio
HALF
20 RPI
6 Rochester
Video Live Stats Audio
4th - 05:50
21 Endicott
9 MIT
Video Video Preview Live Stats
4th - 10:30
17 Juniata
52 Johns Hopkins
Video Preview Preview Live Stats Audio
1:00 PM
Montclair State at William Paterson
Live Stats Audio
2nd - 02:54
6 Hamilton
14 Wesleyan
Video Preview Preview Live Stats
3rd - 14:51
0 Bates
6 Tufts
Video Preview Live Stats
2nd - 15:00
17 Wabash
7 Hiram
Video Live Stats
Start of 3rd
21 Middlebury
0 Colby
Video Live Stats
Halftime
17 Amherst
3 Bowdoin
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1:00 PM
Frostburg State at Kean
Video Live Stats
End of 2nd
14 Kenyon
27 DePauw
Video Preview Live Stats Audio
1:00 PM
Ferrum at Greensboro
Video Preview Live Stats
1:00 PM
Maryville (Tenn.) at Methodist
Video Live Stats
HALF
19 FDU-Florham
14 Wilkes
Video Live Stats
End of 2nd
7 Anna Maria
17 Castleton
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End of 2nd
11 Moravian
23 Ursinus
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1:00 PM
Stevenson at Misericordia
Video Preview Live Stats Audio
Halftime
7 Springfield
21 St. Lawrence
Video Live Stats Audio
2nd - 15:00
7 Thomas More
6 Westminster (Pa.)
Video Live Stats Audio
End of 2nd
35 Alma
17 Kalamazoo
Video Preview Live Stats Audio
Halftime
10 Franklin and Marshall
10 Dickinson
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End of 2nd
42 Wesley
9 Southern Virginia
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Start of 3rd
21 Adrian
7 Albion
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End of 2nd
20 Husson
5 SUNY-Maritime
Video Live Stats
Start of 3rd
24 Apprentice
0 Alfred State
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Start of 3rd
6 TCNJ
24 Salisbury
Video Live Stats Audio
HALF
17 Buffalo State
14 St. John Fisher
Video Live Stats Audio
End 2nd
33 Salve Regina
7 Curry
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Half
6 McDaniel
24 Gettysburg
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1:00 PM
Delaware Valley at Lebanon Valley
Video Live Stats
Halftime
0 Ohio Wesleyan
14 Denison
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13:00 | 3rd
7 Utica
3 Ithaca
Live Stats
End of 2nd
28 Alfred
7 Morrisville State
Video Live Stats
End 2nd
29 Western New England
7 Nichols
Video Live Stats
1:00 PM
King's at Albright
Video Live Stats
End of 2nd
0 Catholic
56 Guilford
Video Live Stats
Start of 3rd
21 Muhlenberg
20 Susquehanna
Video Live Stats Audio
End of 2nd
14 Huntingdon
28 N.C. Wesleyan
Video Video Live Stats
1:00 PM
Minnesota-Morris at MacMurray
End of 2nd
17 Birmingham-Southern
21 Chicago
Video Live Stats
1:00 PM
Westminster (Mo.) at Crown
Video Live Stats
1:30 PM
Oberlin at Allegheny
Video Live Stats Audio
Start of 1st
0 Mount Ida
0 Norwich
Video Live Stats
2nd - 06:25
17 Trinity (Conn.)
6 Williams
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11:37, 2nd
21 Baldwin Wallace
20 Marietta
Video Preview Live Stats Audio
End of 2nd
3 Muskingum
6 Heidelberg
Video Preview Live Stats Audio Audio
2nd - 01:08
14 Union
0 WPI
Video Live Stats
2nd - 06:32
8 Maine Maritime
15 Coast Guard
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2nd - 08:38
23 John Carroll
0 Wilmington
Video Live Stats Audio
2nd Quarter - 7:04
21 Mount Union
7 Ohio Northern
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2nd - 08:24
20 Franklin
7 Manchester
Preview Live Stats
1:30 PM
Mount St. Joseph at Hanover
Video Live Stats
1:30 PM
Widener at Lycoming
Video Live Stats Audio
2nd - 11:18
26 Defiance
14 Earlham
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1st - 12:17
0 Concordia-Chicago
0 Trine
Video Live Stats Audio
4:20, 1st
6 Capital
7 Otterbein
Video Live Stats Audio
2:00 PM
Plymouth State at Westfield State
Video Live Stats
1st - 04:18
0 Wittenberg
0 Wooster
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1st - 04:49
0 Anderson
7 Rose-Hulman
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1st - 04:32
7 Hampden-Sydney
14 Bridgewater
Video Live Stats Audio
2:00 PM
Waynesburg at Grove City
Video Live Stats Audio
2:00 PM
Cortland at Hartwick
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
Centre at Hendrix
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1st - 02:06
20 Eureka
6 Greenville
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
Northwestern (Minn.) at Iowa Wesleyan
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
Concordia (Wis.) at Lakeland
Video Live Stats
1st - 04:25
3 Rockford
13 Benedictine
Video Live Stats
1st - 02:04
6 Aurora
0 Wisconsin Lutheran
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2:00 PM
Nebraska Wesleyan at Luther
Video Live Stats
1st - 06:37
6 Rhodes
7 Sewanee
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4:02 - 1st
0 Lake Forest
14 St. Norbert
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
Concordia-Moorhead at Gustavus Adolphus
Video Preview Live Stats Audio
1st - 02:11
7 Hamline
7 Carleton
Video Live Stats Audio
2:00 PM
St. John's at Bethel
Video Live Stats Audio
1st - 06:50
0 UW-Whitewater
0 UW-Platteville
Video Live Stats Audio Audio
Start of 2nd
0 Buena Vista
7 Loras
Video Live Stats
1st - 03:21
14 Sul Ross State
7 Hardin-Simmons
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
UW-Stevens Point at UW-Eau Claire
Video Preview Live Stats Audio
2:00 PM
Beloit at Lawrence
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Cornell at Monmouth
Video Live Stats Audio
2:00 PM
Wartburg at Coe
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
Dubuque at Central
Video Live Stats Audio
2:00 PM
Wheaton (Ill.) at Illinois Wesleyan
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
McMurry at Mary Hardin-Baylor
Video Live Stats Audio
2:00 PM
Elmhurst at Augustana
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
Macalester at Ripon
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
Grinnell at Illinois College
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
Howard Payne at Louisiana College
Audio
2:00 PM
UW-River Falls at UW-La Crosse
Video Live Stats Audio
2:00 PM
East Texas Baptist at Belhaven
Video Live Stats
1st - 06:24
0 Augsburg
6 St. Thomas
Video Live Stats
3:00 PM
Washington and Jefferson at Thiel
Video Live Stats
3:00 PM
Maranatha Baptist at Morthland
Video
3:00 PM
St. Scholastica at Martin Luther
Video Live Stats
3:00 PM
Carthage at Carroll
Video Live Stats
3:00 PM
UW-Stout at UW-Oshkosh
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4:00 PM
Willamette at Puget Sound
Video Video Preview Live Stats Audio
4:00 PM
Whittier at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
Video Live Stats
4:00 PM
Pacific at Pacific Lutheran
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4:30 PM
Lewis and Clark at Linfield
Video Live Stats Audio
5:00 PM
Framingham State at Mass-Dartmouth
Video Live Stats
5:00 PM
Averett at LaGrange
Live Stats
5:00 PM
Whitworth at George Fox
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6:00 PM
Olivet at Hope
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6:00 PM
Bethany at Carnegie Mellon
Video Preview Preview Preview Live Stats Audio
6:00 PM
St. Vincent at Case Western Reserve
Video Live Stats Audio
6:00 PM
Christopher Newport at Rowan
Video Live Stats Audio Audio
6:00 PM
Bridgewater State at Western Connecticut
Video Live Stats
7:00 PM
Berry at Washington U.
Video Video Preview Preview Live Stats Live Stats Audio Audio
7:00 PM
North Park at Millikin
Video Live Stats
10:00 PM
Pomona-Pitzer at Chapman
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10:00 PM
La Verne at Cal Lutheran
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10:00 PM
Occidental at Redlands
Video Live Stats Audio
Oct. 1: All times Eastern
4:14 4th
28 Merchant Marine
31 Hobart
Video Live Stats Audio
4th - 10:30
17 Juniata
52 Johns Hopkins
Video Preview Preview Live Stats Audio
3rd - 14:54
6 TCNJ
24 Salisbury
Video Live Stats Audio
2nd - 15:00
7 Thomas More
6 Westminster (Pa.)
Video Live Stats Audio
2nd - 15:00
17 Wabash
7 Hiram
Video Live Stats
HALF
17 Buffalo State
14 St. John Fisher
Video Live Stats Audio
1:00 PM
Stevenson at Misericordia
Video Preview Live Stats Audio
Halftime
7 Springfield
21 St. Lawrence
Video Live Stats Audio
End of 2nd
14 Huntingdon
28 N.C. Wesleyan
Video Video Live Stats
2nd Quarter - 6:08
21 Mount Union
7 Ohio Northern
Video Preview Preview Live Stats Audio Audio
2nd - 08:24
20 Franklin
7 Manchester
Preview Live Stats
1st - 04:18
0 Wittenberg
0 Wooster
Video Preview Live Stats Audio
2:00 PM
Wheaton (Ill.) at Illinois Wesleyan
Video Live Stats
1st - 06:50
0 UW-Whitewater
0 UW-Platteville
Video Live Stats Audio Audio
2:00 PM
St. John's at Bethel
Video Live Stats Audio
2:00 PM
McMurry at Mary Hardin-Baylor
Video Live Stats Audio
1st - 03:21
14 Sul Ross State
7 Hardin-Simmons
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
East Texas Baptist at Belhaven
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
Dubuque at Central
Video Live Stats Audio
1st - 06:24
0 Augsburg
6 St. Thomas
Video Live Stats
3:00 PM
UW-Stout at UW-Oshkosh
Video Preview Live Stats Audio Audio
4:30 PM
Lewis and Clark at Linfield
Video Live Stats Audio
6:00 PM
Christopher Newport at Rowan
Video Live Stats Audio Audio