December 10, 2011

Mount Union returns to Stagg

More news about: Mount Union | Wesley
Isaiah Scott picked off three passes and Jasper Collins caught three touchdowns in Mount Union's win against Wesley.

Every year, the challenge is there for the University of Mount Union football program. Get back to the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl and play for the Division III national championship.

The 2011 version of the Purple Raiders tackled that challenge head on, and as a result will head back to Salem, Va., for Stagg Bowl XXXIX. They will face UW-Whitewater, which shut out St. Thomas 20-0 in the day's other national semifinal.

Mount Union (14-0), ranked No. 2 by the D3football.com and American Football Coaches Association polls, defeated No. 7 Wesley (Del.), 28-21, on Saturday, in a national semifinal at Mount Union Stadium.

Junior quarterback Matt Piloto threw for 271 yards and four touchdowns, tying a career high, and the Purple Raiders turned two third-quarter takeaways into touchdowns, advancing to their seventh consecutive Stagg Bowl and 15th in school history.

The Stagg Bowl will be played on Friday, December 16, with a 7 p.m. kickoff on ESPN2.

Three of Piloto's scoring passes went to junior wide receiver Jasper Collins, covering 26, 31 and 18 yards. Collins caught nine passes overall for 139 yards.

Senior wide receiver A.J. Claycomb caught the other TD pass from Piloto.

"We were pretty pleased with our performance [on offense]," said Piloto. "We got off to one of our better starts which we emphasized all week."

Wesley (12-2) also moved the ball effectively, finishing with 496 total yards, but the Wolverines were done in by six turnovers. Mount Union junior defensive back Isaiah Scott had three interceptions, senior defensive back Alex Ferrara had a pick, and Wesley fumbles were recovered by junior defensive back Alex Nicholls and sophomore defensive lineman Matt Fechko.

"I think we had to adjust to their speed," said Mount Union junior defensive back Nick Driskill, who led the Purple Raiders with 13 tackles, including one for loss. "Their quarterback is a really good player."

Wesley senior quarterback Shane McSweeny was 19 of 33 for 350 yards and two touchdowns, and he rushed for an additional 62 yards. Running back Askia Jahad added 77 yards on the ground, but his fumble on the first play of the second half gave Mount Union the ball at the Wolverines' 39. Seven plays later Piloto found Claycomb in the corner of the end zone, and a two-point conversion gave Mount Union a 21-14 lead with 12:04 left in the third quarter.

"We definitely left some plays on the field," said Wesley coach Mike Drass. "We wish we could have had some of them back. Defensively, even after the turnovers, we have to step up, but we couldn't keep them out of the end zone."

D3reports from this game

The Purple Raiders struck first, taking the opening kickoff and driving 79 yards in seven plays, with Piloto hitting Collins over the middle from 26 yards out. Collins broke a tackle at the 2 before getting into the end zone. The extra point was missed, leaving Mount Union ahead 6-0.

Wesley answered on its first drive, moving 65 yards in 11 plays, with quarterback McSweeny diving in from the 1. Dan Tryon's extra point gave the Wolverines a 7-6 lead with 5:22 remaining in the opening quarter.

The drive was momentarily stopped when McSweeny was intercepted by Scott, but Scott fumbled the ball on the return and Wesley recovered.

Mount Union regained the lead with a six-play, 71-yard drive, with Piloto hitting Collins in the right corner of the end zone from 31 yards out. Tyler Almeida's extra point made it 13-7 for the Purple Raiders with 2:38 left in the quarter.

After an exchange of punts, Wesley struck quickly to regain the lead. McSweeny found Matt Barile behind the secondary and hit him in stride for a 70-yard touchdown, and Tryon's extra point made it 14-13 in favor of Wesley with 8:45 left in the first half.

Each team had scoring chances but were turned away. Wesley twice had the ball inside the Mount Union 15, but McSweeny was intercepted — again — by Scott in the end zone, and Tryon's 32-yard field goal missed wide left.

The Purple Raiders got the ball in the final minute and three Murray runs for 49 yards, and a personal foul penalty on Wesley, allowed Mount Union to attempt a 32-yard field goal, which was blocked by the Wolverines' Tyler Hardy.

McSweeny lost a fumble on Wesley's second possession of the third quarter, and Mount Union responded with a five-play, 42-yard drive, Piloto hitting Collins from 18 yards out. Almeida's extra point made it 28-14 with 7:19 remaining in the third quarter.

Wesley closed the score to 28-21 on an 81-yard pass and run from McSweeny to Matt Barile, and Tryon's extra point, with 13:30 remaining in the game.

But the Purple Raiders stopped Wesley on two fourth down plays on their next possessions, and Scott ended the Wolverines' final drive with his third interception of the game.

"We played a good second half of defense today," said Mount Union coach Larry Kehres. "In the first half we were very average.

"Offensively, we got off to a good start, but we're still trying to put together an entire game."

Sep. 1: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Coast Guard at Anna Maria
7:00 PM
Defiance at Baldwin Wallace
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Washington and Lee at Johns Hopkins
7:30 PM
Trine at Manchester
Live Stats
8:00 PM
Millsaps at Belhaven
Sep. 2: All times Eastern
6:00 PM
Mass-Dartmouth at Mount Ida
6:00 PM
Delaware Valley at Wesley
7:00 PM
Muhlenberg at Wilkes
7:00 PM
N.C. Wesleyan at Stevenson
7:00 PM
Western New England at Springfield
Video Live Stats
7:00 PM
Fitchburg State at Becker
Video Live Stats
7:00 PM
Albright at Salisbury
7:00 PM
WPI at MIT
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Salve Regina at Worcester State
7:00 PM
Bridgewater State at Curry
7:00 PM
Morrisville State at St. Lawrence
10:00 PM
Adrian at Pacific
Sep. 3: All times Eastern
12:00 PM
Endicott at Framingham State
Live Stats
12:00 PM
Washington U. at Carnegie Mellon
Live Stats
12:00 PM
Chicago at Case Western Reserve
12:00 PM
Husson at Alfred
12:00 PM
SUNY-Maritime at Maine Maritime
Video
12:00 PM
Cortland at Heidelberg
12:00 PM
Otterbein at Buffalo State
12:00 PM
Ursinus at Bethany
12:00 PM
Sewanee at Kenyon
1:00 PM
King's at Moravian
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Kean at Christopher Newport
1:00 PM
McDaniel at Catholic
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Lebanon Valley at Franklin and Marshall
1:00 PM
Plymouth State at Castleton
Live Stats
1:00 PM
RPI at Norwich
1:00 PM
Randolph-Macon at Dickinson
1:00 PM
Oberlin at Kalamazoo
1:00 PM
Emory and Henry at Ferrum
1:00 PM
Wooster at Washington and Jefferson
1:00 PM
Alfred State at William Paterson
1:00 PM
St. Vincent at Alma
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Concordia (Wis.) at Finlandia
1:00 PM
Olivet at St. John Fisher
1:00 PM
Rowan at Widener
1:00 PM
Hobart at Brockport
1:00 PM
Union at Ithaca
1:00 PM
Susquehanna at Lycoming
1:00 PM
Utica at Misericordia
1:00 PM
The Apprentice School at Methodist
1:00 PM
TCNJ at UW-Whitewater
1:30 PM
Wilmington at Bluffton
1:30 PM
Monmouth at Hope
1:30 PM
Bridgewater at Gettysburg
1:30 PM
Muskingum at Waynesburg
1:30 PM
Juniata at Grove City
2:00 PM
Wisconsin Lutheran at Trinity Int'l
2:00 PM
Lakeland at Carroll
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
UW-Stevens Point at St. Norbert
2:00 PM
Austin at Hendrix
2:00 PM
Maranatha Baptist at Martin Luther
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Millikin at Greenville
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Eureka at Knox
Live Stats
2:00 PM
MacMurray at Rockford
2:00 PM
Gustavus Adolphus at Westminster (Mo.)
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
UW-La Crosse at Luther
2:00 PM
Beloit at Lake Forest
2:00 PM
Concordia-Moorhead at Jamestown
2:00 PM
Crown at Hamline
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Carleton at Macalester
2:00 PM
Bethel at Dubuque
2:00 PM
St. Scholastica at St. John's
Live Stats
2:00 PM
St. Olaf at Grinnell
2:00 PM
Buena Vista at Mayville St.
2:00 PM
Simpson at UW-Stout
2:00 PM
Aurora at Carthage
2:00 PM
UW-River Falls at Coe
2:00 PM
Ripon at Concordia-Chicago
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
Elmhurst at Loras
2:00 PM
Huntingdon at Louisiana College
2:00 PM
North Central (Ill.) at Robert Morris-Chicago
2:00 PM
Benedictine at Wheaton (Ill.)
2:00 PM
John Carroll at UW-Oshkosh
2:30 PM
Southern Virginia at Earlham
Live Stats
2:30 PM
Lawrence at Presentation
4:00 PM
UW-Platteville at George Fox
4:00 PM
La Verne at Puget Sound
Video Live Stats
4:00 PM
Central at Whitworth
5:00 PM
Hartwick at Western Connecticut
Live Stats
6:00 PM
Wabash at Albion
6:00 PM
Maryville (Tenn.) at Berry
6:00 PM
Augustana at Mount St. Joseph
6:00 PM
Thomas More at Franklin
Live Stats
6:00 PM
Hampden-Sydney at Averett
7:00 PM
Denison at Marietta
7:00 PM
Hiram at Westminster (Pa.)
7:00 PM
Thiel at Allegheny
7:00 PM
Capital at Wittenberg
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Shenandoah at Gallaudet
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Illinois College at Rose-Hulman
Video Live Stats
7:00 PM
Geneva at Frostburg State
7:00 PM
Nichols at Westfield State
7:00 PM
Greensboro at Guilford
Live Stats
7:00 PM
LaGrange at Birmingham-Southern
7:00 PM
Hardin-Simmons at Southwestern
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Anderson at North Park
7:00 PM
Ohio Wesleyan at Mary Hardin-Baylor
7:00 PM
East Texas Baptist at Texas Lutheran
7:10 PM
St. Thomas at UW-Eau Claire
Video Live Stats
7:30 PM
Hanover at Centre
8:00 PM
Willamette at Rhodes
8:00 PM
Cornell at Iowa Wesleyan
Live Stats
8:00 PM
Augsburg at Northwestern (Minn.)
Live Stats
8:00 PM
Southwestern Assemblies at Howard Payne
8:00 PM
Sul Ross State at UT-Permian Basin
8:30 PM
Redlands at Trinity (Texas)
Dec. 18: All times Eastern
Final
Mount Union 49, at St. Thomas 35
@ Salem, Va.
Box Score Recap Recap Photos