December 17, 2005

Freshman leads Mount Union to eighth national title

More news about: Mount Union | UW-Whitewater
Nate Kmic scampers down the field on his record-tying touchdown run. 
Photo by Ryan Coleman, D3football.com

By Gordon Mann
D3sports.com

SALEM — Nate Kmic ran for 185 yards and three touchdowns as the Mount Union Purple Raiders (14-1) defeated the UW-Whitewater Warhawks (14-1) 35-28 to capture their eighth Division III football national championship.

Kmic was named the Most Outstanding Player of Stagg Bowl XXXIII and finished the postseason with 1,041 yards and 13 touchdowns in five games – quite a run for a freshman thrust into a starting role after Aaron Robinson was injured in the first round of the playoffs. 

The Warhawks showed no signs of early jitters in their first Stagg Bowl appearance. Cornerback Victor Wipperfurth ended Mount Union’s first drive by intercepting Mike Jorris and returning the ball to the Purple Raiders’ 42-yard line. Running back Justin Beaver capped Whitewater’s first drive with a 2-yard touchdown rush.

The Purple Raiders answered two drives later when Mike Jorris found wide receiver Pierre Garcon who bolted 63 yards to the end zone to tie the game with 6:32 left in the first quarter. 

Jorris hit Garcon again for a 12-yard touchdown strike with 5:03 to play in the first half to give Mount Union a 13-7 lead. That drive featured instant replay’s debut at the Division III level as the officials twice reviewed potential end zone grabs by Garcon. In both cases the ruling on the field stood including Garcon’s second touchdown.

Whitewater had an opportunity to tie the game before halftime, but free safety Nick Barren jarred the ball loose from tight end Pete Schmitt’s hands as he crashed across the goal line. The officials reviewed the play and the call stood as incomplete call. The drive ended when Chaulk’s 41-yard field goal attempt fell short.

The Warhawks had another chance to tie the game in their first drive of the second half, reaching the Purple Raiders’ 1-yard line on ten plays. But on fourth and goal, line backer Matt Rees and Barren stuffed Beaver for no gain.

Three plays later Kmic carried the ball around the left side of the line and shot down the field for a 95-yard touchdown, tying a Stagg Bowl record set by former Purple Raider Chuck Moore in 2001.

Less than seven minutes later, Kmic scored again, this time on a 2-yard carry to push Mount Union’s lead to 28-7.

Facing their largest deficit of the season, the Warhawks’ offense awoke as Justin Jacobs hit wide receiver Jim Leszczynski for a 23-yard touchdown pass. Whitewater needed a quick defensive stop with just 12:22 remaining in the game and got it when defensive lineman Eric Kosterman stopped Kmic on one third-and-1. Whitewater cut the Mount Union lead to 28-21 with 8:37 left as Jacobs hit Schmitt for his second touchdown pass of the game. 

But the Warhawks could not get another sorely needed stop on the ensuing drive. The Purple Raiders mounted a 12 play drive that consumed more than five minutes and ended in Kmic’s third rushing touchdown of the day.

Whitewater mounted a final rally, pushing down to the Mount Union 1-yard line with under a minute to play. But they needed three tries to score before Jacobs pushed across the goal line to narrow the Purple Raiders’ lead to 35-28.

With just two seconds left and the inability to advance an onside kick in college football, Whitewater needed a minor miracle to tie the game. Instead Mount Union recovered the onside kick and took a final snap to wrap up the national championship with a 35-28 victory.

Sep. 23: All times Eastern
Final
at Bridgewater State 34, Fitchburg State 25
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Sep. 24: All times Eastern
Final
Christopher Newport 17, at TCNJ 0
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at Hobart 27, Union 23
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at Thomas More 20, Carnegie Mellon 16
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at Massachusetts Maritime 32, Worcester State 14
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at Endicott 37, Nichols 0
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MIT 30, at Maine Maritime 13
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at Buffalo State 40, Morrisville State 24
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at Salve Regina 48, Coast Guard 10
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St. Lawrence 20, at RPI 14
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at Framingham State 23, Western Connecticut 17
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at Montclair State 21, Rowan 14
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at Stevenson 54, FDU-Florham 15
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at Trinity (Conn.) 38, Bates 7
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at Western New England 59, Curry 28
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at Utica 24, Cortland 13
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Colby 9, at Williams 7
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at Middlebury 40, Bowdoin 3
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at Amherst 34, Hamilton 0
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Kean 24, at William Paterson 13
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at DePauw 66, Hiram 17
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Franklin and Marshall 45, at Juniata 22
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at Kenyon 31, Allegheny 7
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Salisbury 35, at Southern Virginia 0
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Albright 20, at Delaware Valley 17
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Lycoming 28, at Misericordia 24
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at Plymouth State 30, Mass-Dartmouth 14
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at Husson 35, Alfred State 0
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at Springfield 28, WPI 23
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at Moravian 24, Dickinson 10
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at Denison 45, Wooster 7
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at Wittenberg 24, Wabash 14
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at St. Vincent 57, Grove City 32
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at Susquehanna 55, Gettysburg 40
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at King's 21, Lebanon Valley 17
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at Alfred 20, Ithaca 6
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at Widener 25, Wilkes 23
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at McDaniel 30, Ursinus 27
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at Muskingum 28, Marietta 10
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at Minnesota-Morris 28, Iowa Wesleyan 27
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at John Carroll 42, Heidelberg 14
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Ohio Northern 16, at Otterbein 10
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Case Western Reserve 35, at Waynesburg 7
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at Franklin 44, Bluffton 38
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Rose-Hulman 23, at Defiance 15
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at Centre 49, Chicago 27
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at Mount St. Joseph 38, Manchester 19
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Hanover 49, at Anderson 25
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at Merchant Marine 55, Rochester 7
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Johns Hopkins 30, at Muhlenberg 24
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Concordia-Chicago 42, at Maranatha Baptist 10
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Washington U. 36, at Birmingham-Southern 21
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UW-Platteville 56, at Lakeland 0
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at Northwestern (Minn.) 38, Martin Luther 20
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at Eureka 28, MacMurray 13
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at Westminster (Mo.) 35, Greenville 14
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Dubuque 30, at Luther 17
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Monmouth 52, at Lake Forest 6
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St. Thomas 33, at St. John's 21
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at Augsburg 49, Carleton 17
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Bethel 44, at St. Olaf 7
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at Hamline 42, Gustavus Adolphus 40
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at UW-Whitewater 35, Morningside 21
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at Hardin-Simmons 48, Texas Lutheran 38
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at UW-River Falls 42, Southwestern 22
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Simpson 17, at Buena Vista 9
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at St. Scholastica 49, Crown 13
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Cornell 46, at Beloit 41
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at Carthage 27, Augustana 24
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Coe 48, at Nebraska Wesleyan 17
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at Wartburg 56, Finlandia 0
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at Wheaton (Ill.) 10, Elmhurst 6
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Hendrix 42, at Millsaps 14
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Illinois Wesleyan 45, at North Park 10
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at Macalester 34, Grinnell 0
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at Ripon 33, Knox 19
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Illinois College 40, at Lawrence 15
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UW-Oshkosh 77, at Morthland College (Ill.) 0
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Central 42, at Loras 34
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at Geneva 35, Thiel 27
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UW-Eau Claire 40, at Wisconsin Lutheran 14
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St. John Fisher 42, at Brockport 38
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UW-Stevens Point 44, at Adrian 19
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UW-La Crosse 41, at Carroll 7
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at Berry 41, Sewanee 3
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Westminster (Pa.) 38, at Bethany 9
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Ohio Wesleyan 29, at Oberlin 16
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at Tufts 17, Wesleyan 14
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Mount Union 49, at Baldwin Wallace 7
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at Capital 35, Wilmington 21
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at Southwestern Assemblies 23, Austin 17
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Cancelled
Langston at McMurry
Video Live Stats
Final
at North Central (Ill.) 42, Millikin 7
Box Score Recap
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at Chapman 19, Trinity (Texas) 17
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Sep. 24: All times Eastern
Final
at Thomas More 20, Carnegie Mellon 16
Box Score Recap
Final
at Hobart 27, Union 23
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Final
Christopher Newport 17, at TCNJ 0
Final
at Wittenberg 24, Wabash 14
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Final
Salisbury 35, at Southern Virginia 0
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Final
Albright 20, at Delaware Valley 17
Box Score Recap
Final
at Utica 24, Cortland 13
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Stevenson 54, FDU-Florham 15
Box Score Recap
Final
at Franklin 44, Bluffton 38
Box Score Recap
Final
Johns Hopkins 30, at Muhlenberg 24
Box Score Recap
Final
St. Thomas 33, at St. John's 21
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at UW-Whitewater 35, Morningside 21
Box Score Recap
Final
at Hardin-Simmons 48, Texas Lutheran 38
Box Score Photos
Final
at Wheaton (Ill.) 10, Elmhurst 6
Final
UW-Platteville 56, at Lakeland 0
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Final
UW-Oshkosh 77, at Morthland College (Ill.) 0
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Final
Central 42, at Loras 34
Box Score Recap
Final
St. John Fisher 42, at Brockport 38
Box Score Recap
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Mount Union 49, at Baldwin Wallace 7
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Final
at North Central (Ill.) 42, Millikin 7
Box Score Recap