#2 Mount Union Purple Raiders (12-0, 9-0 OAC) vs.
#9 Wabash Little Giants (12-0, 6-0 NCAC)
Sat., Dec. 3 - 12 pm - Mount Union Stadium (Alliance, Ohio)
Joe Tait (play-by-play), Harry Paidas (color):
WIVM Ch. 52 (Tape Delay - Sat. Dec. 3 at 11 pm, Sun. Dec. 4 at 1 pm)
SportsTime Ohio (Tape Delay - Sat. Dec. 3 at 11 pm; Mon. Dec. 5 at Noon)
LIVE STATS: http://livestats.prestosports.com/mountunion
Complete Mount Union Game Notes in PDF Format: CLICK HERE
No. 2 ranked Mount Union hosts No. 9 ranked Wabash in the national quarterfinals of the NCAA Division III Football Playoffs Saturday at noon at Mount Union Stadium in Alliance.
Mount Union (12-0) completed its sixth straight undefeated regular season to win its 23rd overall and 20th straight Ohio Athletic Conference and an automatic bid into the 32-team tournament. The Raiders then won their opening round game 47-7 over Benedictine (Ill.) and scored a 30-10 second round victory over Centre (Ky.). The Raiders are making their 23rd NCAA Tournament appearance with a 71-12 record. Mount Union has advanced to the Stagg Bowl 15 times with a record 10 National Championships.
Wabash (12-0), located in Crawfordsville, Ind., scored a 38-20 first round win over Illinois College then rallied from a 28-7 deficit to defeat No. 6 ranked North Central (Ill.) 29-28 in the second round. The Little Giants won the North Coast Athletic Conference championship and automatic bid to the tournament. Wabash is making its seventh NCAA Tournament appearance with a 9-6 record. The Little Giants lost to Widener (Pa.) in the 1977 Stagg Bowl.
Wabash is led by fourth-year head coach Erik Raeburn, who played and coached at Mount Union and is the nephew of Purple Raider head coach Larry Kehres.
MOUNT UNION FOOTBALL ON TV, RADIO AND ONLINE
All Mount Union football games are broadcast on the radio on WDPN 1310 AM and WRMU 91.1 FM and simulcast online along with a LIVE STATS game tracker. You can also here the WRMU 91.1 FM feed on any phone by calling (330) 445-7900.
This game will be shown on television via tape delay on regional sports cable channel SportsTime Ohio and WIVM TV52 (Stark County), WIVN TV29 (New Philadelphia), Time Warner Cable (ch. 989-Stark County, ch. 99-Tuscarawas County), Massillion Cable (ch. 21) and Clear Picture Cable (ch. 21-Wayne County). Image Video produces the broadcasts with Joe Tait, who just finished a 39-year run as the radio voice of the Cleveland Cavaliers, does the play-by-play and Harry Paidas handles the color commentary.
This will be the second-ever meeting between the two teams, which previously met in the quarterfinals of the 2002 NCAA Playoffs which Mount Union scored a 45-16 win in Alliance.
Larry Kehres (Mount Union '71) is 315-23-3 (.927) in his 26th season as head coach and is one of the most successful coaches in college football history as he is one of only 11 coaches in college football history to win at least 300 games. His teams have won 22 OAC Championships, including the last 20 in a row, along with 10 of the last 18 NCAA Division III National Championships. He is a past president of the American Football Coaches Association and this past summer was the offensive coordinator for Team USA as they won the gold medal in the IFAF World Championships.
Erik Raeburn (Mount Union '91) is 39-6 (.867) in his 4th season as head coach at Wabash. Raeburn has led the Little Giants to two NCAC titles and three NCAA Tournament appearances while earning 2011 NCAC Coach of the Year honors. He has a career head coaching record of 97-32 as he was the head coach at Coe (Iowa) College for 8 years leading the Kohawks to three conference titles and two NCAA Playoff appearances. For six years he was an assistant coach at Mount Union and part of national championship teams in 1996, 1997 and 1998.
UP NEXT ...
The winner of this game plays the winner of a matchup between Mary Hardin-Baylor and Wesley (Del.) next Saturday. The NCAA will announce a site on Sunday.
SCOUTING THE LITTLE GIANTS
Wabash trailed only twice during the regular season and never more than a single score until falling behind 28-7 in the second half last week to North Central. The Little Giants then scored 22 fourth quarter points and took their first lead on a two-point conversion, 29-28, with just under a minute to play.
There is nothing little about the Little Giants (No. 5 vs. the run and No. 13 total defense) and their play on defense as linebackers in senior CJ Gum and freshman AJ Akinribade lead the way. Gum is an All-American who leads the team in tackles and was the NCAC Defensive Player of the Year while Akinribade is third on team in stops with a team-best 6.0 sacks and was NCAC Newcomer of the year.
On offense, junior Chase Belton started the first 11 games this season before suffering an injury and in came senior Tyler Burke who tossed for 311 yards and 4 TD's to lead the comeback against North Central. Who will play under center this week is still a question.
What is not a question is who will be catching the passes in the 1-2 punch of Jonathan Horn (59 rec. 841yds 8 TD's) and Wes Chamblee (53 rec. 805yds 10 TD). Chamblee is also third in the nation in punt returns. Vann Hunt is leading rusher with 760yds and 4 TDs.
BY THE NUMBERS
Mount Union's win-loss record since 2000
The Raiders hold the NCAA's two longest consecutive college football win streaks -- 55 from 2000-2003 and 54 from 1996-99.
Mount Union's record in the NCAA Playoffs
game regular season win streak for Mount Union dating back to a 21-14 loss to Ohio Northern in Alliance on Oct. 22, 2005.
game home winning streak for Mount Union dating back to a 21-14 loss to Ohio Northern in Alliance on Oct. 22, 2005.
consecutive regular season road victories for Mount Union dating back to a 21-18 loss at Baldwin-Wallace on Sept. 28, 1991.
Since 1996, the Raiders record when winning the turnover battle.
The Raiders record since 1990 when winning the turnover battle. That lone loss was a 20-17 loss to Wisconsin-LaCrosse in a 1995 national semifinal game. In that game, the Raiders had a +1 turnover margin.
Mount Union has hosted 50-straight playoff games (not including Stagg Bowl that is played at a neutral site) dating back to a national semifinal vs. Wis.-LaCrosse in 1996 at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, which the Raiders won 39-21.
For the seventh year the NCAA Division III Football Championship consists of a 32-team field. For perspective, in Mount Union's first appearance in the playoffs in 1985, the field was 16 teams. This year's field breaks down like this: Automatic bids will be given to 25 conference champions, one spot is reserved for teams that are independents or in conferences not granted automatic bids and the final six spots are national at-large bids.
Each team is allowed to dress 52 players for a game. Six additional players can go through warm-ups but must be in street clothes and a jersey during the game.
THE RAIDERS in 2011
Mount Union returns 16 starters and 48 letterwinners in 2011.
300 WIN CLUB
With a 49-0 win over St. Lawrence in the first round of the 2010 NCAA Playoffs, Larry Kehres became the 11th coach in college football history to win at least 300 games. Here is a list of the others.
THREE OF A KIND IN BACKFIELD
Mount Union has received contributions from three junior running backs this season. Jeremy Murray (Martins Ferry/Martins Ferry) managed just 13 yards on five carries against Centre before being knocked out of the game. He has eight 100-yard rushing performances this season and 15 in his career. In 26 career games, Murray has 3,015 yards on 554 attempts with 39 TD's. He is in fifth on the school's all-time rushing list and is 280 yards behind fourth place spot of Russ Kring (3,295 yds. 1983-84, 86-87). Filling in for Murray last week was Blair Skilliter (Curtice/Genoa) who had career-highs with 18 carries for 78 yards with a touchdown also fellow junior Jake Simon chipped in 44 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries.
DIEUSEUL FUELS THE DEFENSE
Junior defensive end Charles Dieuseul (pronounced Diesel) (Winter Haven, Fla./Lake Region) matched his career-high with 12 tackles last week against Centre. The OAC's Defensive Lineman of the Year also had 3.0 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and forced a fumble on the day. He has a team-best eight sacks and three forced fumbles on the season.
DID YOU KNOW?
Larry Kehres is in his 26th season as head coach but 37th season working at Mount Union as he spent 10 seasons (1975-84) as an assistant coach to Ken Wable then in 1985 worked only as director of athletics before becoming head football coach and director of athletics in 1986. You might not know, he was also the first swimming coach at Mount Union. If you include his four years as a quarterback with the Raiders (1967-70), the 1971 Mount Union grad has spent 41 years as a student-athlete, assistant coach, head coach, teacher and administrator in Alliance.
Eight of 12 Mount Union opponents have been held to 200 yards or less of total offense. The Raiders are No. 1 in the nation in total defense allowing 179.1 yards per game. They have only allowed 17 first half points all year and just three in the second quarter.
Aside from being related, Larry Kehres and Erik Raeburn attended the same high school -- Southeast High School located just 14 miles north of Mount Union's campus in Alliance and southeast of Ravenna, Ohio.
FERRARA FINALIST FOR GAGLIARDI TROPHY
Senior safety Alex Ferrara (Independence/Walsh Jesuit) was named one of 10 finalists for the Gagliardi Trophy given to the top all-around football player in NCAA Division III.
Ferrara has been a consistent performer for four years on one of nation's top ranked defenses. He is a three-time All-OAC selection, including first team nods in 2010 and 2011, as well as a 2010 All-North Region selection. He has two of his career 12 interceptions this season and scored a touchdown off a fumble recovery against Marietta. He also has blocked a kick and forced a fumble this season.
Off the field, Ferrara, who has a 3.77 grade point average as a business major, is an Academic All-OAC, two-time Academic All-District and an Academic All-American in 2010. He has aided in service projects such as Hugs for Haiti earthquake fundraiser, visited local schools with the Raider Buddy program and assisted with the Trick-or-Treat with the Raiders. In 2009, he traveled to El Salvador to help a needy village on a mission trip.
A record five other Purple Raiders have won the Gagliardi Trophy. Quarterback Jim Ballard won the inaugural award in 1993, fellow quarterback Bill Borchert in 1997, running backs Chuck Moore and Dan Pugh won the award in 2001 and 2002, while quarterback Greg Micheli won the award in 2008.
For the third year, fans will be given one collective vote by casting votes on the web site www.d3football.com. The student-athlete with the highest vote total is named recipient. The field will be narrowed down to four regional finalists who will be invited to an award dinner where the the winner will be announced at banquet on Wednesday, Dec. 14 as part of festivities leading up to the NCAA Division III National Championship game, the Stagg Bowl, in Salem, VA.
PURPLE RAIDERS IN THE PROs
Wide receiver Pierre Garcon was a sixth round draft pick in 2008 and is in his fourth season as a member of the Indianapolis Colts and may make a friendly wager with the team's offensive line coach and Wabash alum Pete Metzelaars '82.
Cecil Shorts III was a fourth round pick this past spring and is in his rookie season with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Two Raiders in the NFL coaching ranks are Dom Capers, the defensive coordinator of Green Bay Packers and Nick Sirianni as the offensive quality control coach of the Kansas City Chiefs.
NEW TURF, NEW HOME UNIFORMS
Mount Union replaced its 10-year old AstroPlay surface with a new FieldTurf playing surface this past summer. Fans will notice that the football and soccer lines are permanent with two tones of alternating green and black end zones. The black also carries over to new Nike home purple jerseys that the Raiders will wear this season. Mount Union's newest teams -- men's and women's lacrosse will start varsity play in the spring of 2013 and their lines will be painted onto the field. New turf was put in the South end zone which moved the students and band to the North end leading to Mount Union warming up on North side and entering the stadium from the Northwest corner of stadium.