/playoffs/2001/game-story

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."

Aug. 30: All times Eastern
6:00 PM
Alma at Baldwin Wallace
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7:00 PM
Frostburg State at Stevenson
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7:00 PM
University of New England at Coast Guard
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7:00 PM
Randolph-Macon at Johns Hopkins
7:00 PM
Hamline at Buena Vista
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7:00 PM
LaGrange at Birmingham-Southern
7:00 PM
Trinity (Texas) at McMurry
7:30 PM
Manchester at Trine
7:37 PM
Rowan at Widener
8:00 PM
Millsaps at Belhaven
8:00 PM
UW-Platteville at East Texas Baptist
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Aug. 31: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Utica at St. Lawrence
7:00 PM
Delaware Valley at Wesley
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7:00 PM
WPI at Anna Maria
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7:00 PM
Western New England at Springfield
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7:00 PM
Nichols at Westfield State
7:00 PM
Millikin at Hope
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7:00 PM
TCNJ at FDU-Florham
7:00 PM
Becker at MIT
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7:00 PM
Albright at Salisbury
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7:00 PM
Dean at Curry
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8:00 PM
St. Olaf at Crown
Sep. 1: All times Eastern
TBA
Southern Virginia at Christopher Newport
12:00 PM
Endicott at Framingham State
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12:00 PM
Morrisville State at Norwich
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12:00 PM
Buffalo State at Bridgewater State
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12:00 PM
Ursinus at Bethany
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12:00 PM
Salve Regina at Worcester State
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12:00 PM
Sewanee at Kenyon
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12:00 PM
SUNY-Maritime at Maine Maritime
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12:00 PM
Thomas More at N.C. Wesleyan
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1:00 PM
Merchant Marine at Misericordia
1:00 PM
Husson at Union
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1:00 PM
Apprentice at Greensboro
1:00 PM
RPI at Allegheny
1:00 PM
Wabash at Hiram
1:00 PM
Cortland at Fitchburg State
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1:00 PM
King's at Moravian
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1:00 PM
Westminster (Pa.) at Wittenberg
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1:00 PM
Washington and Lee at Dickinson
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Hobart at Brockport
1:00 PM
McDaniel at Catholic
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1:00 PM
Huntingdon at Guilford
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1:00 PM
Gallaudet at Alvernia
1:00 PM
Mass-Dartmouth at Alfred State
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1:00 PM
Shenandoah at Methodist
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1:00 PM
Thiel at Alfred
1:00 PM
Emory and Henry at Ferrum
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1:00 PM
Susquehanna at Lycoming
1:00 PM
Washington and Jefferson at St. John Fisher
1:00 PM
Oberlin at Kalamazoo
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1:00 PM
Hartwick at Wilkes
1:00 PM
St. Vincent at Ithaca
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1:00 PM
Concordia (Wis.) at Finlandia
1:00 PM
Lebanon Valley at Franklin and Marshall
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1:00 PM
Plymouth State at Castleton
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1:00 PM
UW-Oshkosh at Carthage
1:00 PM
Grinnell at Lawrence
1:30 PM
Muskingum at Waynesburg
1:30 PM
Juniata at Grove City
1:30 PM
Wooster at Bluffton
1:30 PM
Bridgewater at Gettysburg
1:30 PM
Albion at Defiance
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2:00 PM
Wilmington at Earlham
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2:00 PM
Augustana at Coe
2:00 PM
John Carroll at UW-Stevens Point
2:00 PM
Eureka at Knox
2:00 PM
Wisconsin Lutheran at Lake Forest
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2:00 PM
Ripon at Augsburg
2:00 PM
Aurora at St. Norbert
2:00 PM
Nebraska Wesleyan at Concordia-Moorhead
2:00 PM
Gustavus Adolphus at Martin Luther
2:00 PM
MacMurray at Rockford
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2:00 PM
UW-La Crosse at Luther
2:00 PM
Monmouth at Wheaton (Ill.)
2:00 PM
Minnesota-Morris at UW-River Falls
2:00 PM
Lakeland at Carroll
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2:00 PM
UW-Stout at St. John's
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UW-Eau Claire at Loras
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2:00 PM
Bethel at Simpson
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Beloit at Concordia-Chicago
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Southwestern Assemblies at Austin
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2:10 PM
Trinity Int'l at St. Thomas
3:00 PM
Puget Sound at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
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4:00 PM
La Verne at Whitworth
6:00 PM
Adrian at Ohio Northern
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6:00 PM
Maryville (Tenn.) at Berry
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Capital at Mount St. Joseph
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Central at Northwestern (Minn.)
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Willamette at Simon Fraser
7:00 PM
Brevard at Davidson
7:00 PM
Geneva at Marietta
7:00 PM
Rochester at Case Western Reserve
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7:00 PM
Hanover at Centre
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Rose-Hulman at Mount Union
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Ohio Wesleyan at Otterbein
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Olivet at Heidelberg
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7:00 PM
UW-Whitewater at Dubuque
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Chicago at Washington U.
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Anderson at North Park
8:00 PM
Illinois College at Rhodes
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Lyon at Hendrix
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Greenville at Wartburg
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Cornell at Iowa Wesleyan
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Denison at Southwestern
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Carleton at Macalester
10:00 PM
Pacific at Chapman
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George Fox at Redlands
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10:00 PM
Sul Ross State at Arizona Christian
10:00 PM
Lewis-Clark Valley at Pomona-Pitzer
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Dec. 9: All times Eastern
Final
Mount Union 43, at UW-Oshkosh 40
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Final
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 24, Brockport 0
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Dec. 15: All times Eastern
Final
Mount Union 12, at Mary Hardin-Baylor 0
@ Salem, Va.
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