December 15, 2001

Stagg Bowl XXIX: Mount Union 30, Bridgewater (Va.) 27

More news about: Bridgewater | Mount Union

By Keith McMillan 
D3football.com

Chuck Moore and the Purple Raiders hold aloft a sixth national championship trophy.
By Pat Cummings, D3football.com

SALEM — Chuck Moore made his last day as a Purple Raider his best.

The fifth-year senior and Gagliardi Trophy winner set a Stagg Bowl record by rushing for 273 yards and three touchdowns to lead Mount Union to its sixth national championship 30-27 against Bridgewater (Va.).

"You never expect to put numbers together like that," said Moore, who won his second consecutive Stagg Bowl Most Outstanding Player award. "This is what dreams are made of."

The Raiders' unprecedented fifth national championship in six years and 82nd victory in 83 games certainly seemed delivered by the Sandman.

"I would have never expected half of what we've done," Moore said, admitting that he might start missing football as early as Sunday morning.

While Moore, who has completed course work and is set to begin work as a stockbroker in January, is going to miss football, the Purple Raiders will miss him.

"I hesitate to say I might never have an opportunity to coach another young man of his caliber," said Mount Union coach Larry Kehres, holding back tears. "Because I hope I do."

Moore's third touchdown, a 95-yard burst with 5:50 left in the third period, gave the Purple Raiders a 30-13 lead and seemingly sealed the outcome.

But Bridgewater, a team that had made a habit out of rallying from deficits in improving from 0-10 in 1998 to 12-1 this season, would not go away. Quarterback Jason Lutz found junior Brian Ratliff, who finished with a game-high seven receptions for 161 yards and two touchdowns, for a 59-yard score that cut the lead to 30-20 with 13:09 remaining.

Bridgewater had three possessions after that, but Lutz threw an interception, was sacked on a key third down and later scored on a 3-yard run.

Mount Union had taken possession ahead by 10 with 5:58 left, and an acrobatic catch on third-and-9 by Jason Candle (five catches for 120 yards) extended the Purple Raiders' drive and allowed them to kill three minutes of fourth-quarter clock. Rob Adamson lofted a pass down the middle that looked like it was intercepted by Bridgewater's Brad McCrady. Candle went up with McCrady, and as the two came down, Candle somersaulted and stood up with the ball in his hands.

"Maybe it was a lucky catch, maybe it was me making a play on the ball, maybe it was him not making a play on the ball," Candle said. "That's for you to debate. I've always prided myself on thinking I could step up in those situations."

After Lutz's touchdown narrowed the Mount Union advantage to three with 1:55 left, Bridgewater attempted but did not recover an onside kick. Moore rushed for 9, 6 and then 8 yards to seal the win, and the third title of his career.

"This is an unbelievable feeling to walk out of here as a senior and as a champion," said Moore. 

A game that some assumed might be a Purple Raider cakewalk started on high note for the Eagles. On the first play from scrimmage, Jason Lutz found Marcus Richardson on a seam route, a 67-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead.

Mount Union responded with Moore's first touchdown to cap a six-play, 49-yard drive. The Eagles missed an opportunity to go ahead 10-7 later in the opening period when a Sean Rowe 42-yard field goal attempt hit the left upright.

Mount Union's Rodney Chenos made it 10-7 with a field goal early in the second period. Chenos also missed a 33-yard attempt with just more than nine minutes left in the game.

When the teams traded blows early on, a momentum-changing 44-yard interception return by Jason Perkins gave Mount Union a 23-13 advantage 3:39 from the half.

"Even though it occurred early, it might have been a game-winning play," Kehres said.

Of course, the game's best play came from the Mount Union defensive line and secondary. They forced the Eagles, who outgained Mount Union 516-454, into four turnovers, all interceptions thrown by Lutz (14 of 34, 374 yards, 3 touchdowns). Mount Union threw one interception and lost a fumble. 

Bridgewater All-American tailback Davon Cruz finished with 71 yards on 18 carries, but was slowed by a rib injury early in the game. Cruz aggravated the injury later and was disappointed at not being full strength.

His counterpart, fellow All-American Moore had no such problems. His story went perfectly according to the script. 

"I have been lucky enough to play in three national championship games," Moore said. "I can honestly say it gets better and better every time. You never want to take winning for granted."

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
TBA
Muhlenberg at Wilkes
6:00 PM
Mass-Dartmouth at Mount Ida
6:00 PM
Delaware Valley at Wesley
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
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
TBA
Endicott at Framingham State
TBA
Wisconsin Lutheran at Trinity Int'l
TBA
UW-Platteville at George Fox
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
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
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
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
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
La Verne at Puget Sound
Live Stats
4:00 PM
Central at Whitworth
5:00 PM
Hartwick at Western Connecticut
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
6:00 PM
Redlands at Trinity (Texas)
7:00 PM
Marietta at Denison
7:00 PM
Hiram at Westminster (Pa.)
7:00 PM
Thiel at Allegheny
7:00 PM
Capital at Wittenberg
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
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
Dec. 18: All times Eastern
Final
Mount Union 49, at St. Thomas 35
@ Salem, Va.
Box Score Recap Recap Photos