ALLIANCE, Ohio--Quarterback Matt Piloto and wide receiver A.J. Claycomb stepped in for injured starters to lead Mount Union to its eighth consecutive victory, 42-0, over Ohio Athletic Conference rival Otterbein in front of 1,841 at Mount Union Stadium on Saturday.
The Purple Raiders (8-0, 7-0 OAC) rolled up 548 total yards of offense behind Piloto (Rotonda West, Fla./Lemon Bay), a junior, who stepped in when starting quarterback Neal Seaman (Louisville/Louisville) was injured on the first series of the game. Piloto finished 16 of 22 passing for 223 yards and three touchdowns, including two to Claycomb (Medina/Medina), a senior.
Claycomb finished with five receptions for 88 yards, as the Purple Raiders leading receiver, junior Jasper Collins (Geneva, N.Y./Geneva) did not dress with an injury.
Junior running back Jeremy Murray (Martins Ferry/Martins Ferry) added 122 yards on 23 rushes and he scored a pair of touchdowns. Murray surpassed 1,000 yards rushing for the season -- he now has 1,093 yards and 14 TDs.
As a team Mount Union gained 548 total yards. Meanwhile, the nation's No. 1 rated defense held Otterbein (2-6, 1-6) to 155 total yards. The Cardinals entered the game ranked first in the OAC in passing offense (279.9 yards per game) and fourth in total offense (488.9 ypg).
Otterbein quarterback Austin Schlosser led the OAC in total offense and passing efficiency, but was held to 15 of 29 passing for 140 yards and he was intercepted three times.
The Purple Raiders were held scoreless in the first quarter for the second consecutive week, then pulled away with a 28-point outburst in the second period.
Mount Union drove 93 yards in five plays following an Otterbein punt, taking a 7-0 lead on a career-long 59-yard run by junior Blair Skilliter (Curtice/Genoa) and the extra point by senior kicker Tyler Almeida (Elyria/Elyria) with 11:54 remaining in the half.
The Purple Raiders took control with by scoring three touchdowns in the final five minutes of the half.
After the Mount Union Purple Raiders forced a three-and-out, they drove 62 yards in 12 plays with Murray finishing it off with a 4-yard run with 4:49 to go. Almeida's extra point made it 14-0.
Favazzo's interception four plays after that set up the Purple Raiders for a five-play, 26-yard drive, with Murray scoring from the 1 with 34 seconds to play. Almeida's extra point made it 21-0.
Then, freshman Ted Rosalva (Boynton Beach, Fla./American Heritage) recovered an Otterbein fumble on the ensuing kickoff, and three plays later Piloto hit juniorShannon Stewart (Bloomdale/Elmwood) from the 23 with 13 seconds remaining. Almeida again added the extra point.
Piloto hooked up with Claycomb for two TD passes in the third quarter, covering 39 and 12 yards.
Mount Union can clinch its 20th consecutive OAC championship and a bid to the NCAA playoffs with a win next week (Nov. 5) at home against Baldwin-Wallace at 1:30 p.m.