The two most dominant programs in all of college football met once again for the NCAA Division III football championship and for the fifth time Wisconsin Whitewater defeated Mount Union to claim the title. With the 52-14 victory, the Warhawks finished 15-0 on the season.
Warhawks head coach Lance Leipold made it back to the title game this year after missing the playoffs in 2012 for the first time in his tenure. QB Matt Behrendt led the charge completing 20-of-28 passes for 249 yards and four touchdowns. He connected with 6-foot-5-inch wide receiver Jake Kumerow on a 17-yard TD pass for the ‘Hawks first score less than four minutes into the game. Kumerow would catch seven passes for 103 yards and be on the receiving of another TD pass in the fourth quarter.
Mount Union, under first-year head coach Vince Kehres answered Wisconsin-Whitewater’s first score thanks to a turnover. An errant snap from center was recovered at the Warhawks five-yard line. On the very first play after the turnover, Gagliardi Trophy winner Kevin Burke scored on a five-yard run.
Burke, the Purple Raiders’ QB, won the equivalent of the Division III Heisman on Thursday night, but was basically a non-factor even though he completed 22-of-31 passes for 316 yards. Mount Union’s other touchdown came on a Bradley Mitchell 11-yard run with 29 seconds left in the first half.
The Warhawks, who led Division III in scoring defense giving up just 9 points per game, held Mount Union to 32 yards rushing. Jordan Ratliffe, on the other hand, ran for 146 yards on 28 carries for the Warhawks. He scored twice, on runs of 18 and 3 yards.
Wisconsin-Whitewater and Mount Union have met for the Division III championship in eight of the past nine seasons. The Purple Raiders won the title last season, defeating St. Thomas (MN). Mount Union has played in the last nine consecutive title games.
Wisconsin-Whitewater has won five of the past seven national championships. Since becoming head coach in 2007, Leipold has a record of 94-6 and those five national titles.