UWW wins in winter classic

UW-Whitewater climbed the mountain and came down with Walnut and Bronze for the second time in three seasons.
Photo by Ryan Tipps, D3sports.com

It took a full season and 60 minutes of Stagg Bowl action but we finally have an answer to the question whether Mount Union or UW-Whitewater is the best in Division III football in 2009. Levell Coppage's 31-yard touchdown broke a 28-28 tie and gave UW-Whitewater the national championship by an eventual final of 38-28.

With the win, the Warhawks re-affirmed that there is a double dynasty atop Division III football, Keith McMillan writes.

UW-Whitewater scored on all four of its first half possessions and converted all nine of its third down conversions to build a 28-14 lead at the break. Warhawks quarterback Jeff Donovan threw for over 200 yards and two touchdowns in the first half alone.
Mount Union came out of the locker room and stopped UW-Whitewater on its first possession, swinging momentum in its favor. Purple Raiders quarterback Kurt Rocco threw for one touchdown and ran for another to erase the 14-point halftime deficit and pull the score even at 28. Mount Union fumbled the ball twice in the fourth quarter but its defense held until the 1:17 mark when Coppage took the ball around the left side of the line, to the end zone and into Stagg Bowl history. Mount Union had one more chance but Wesley Hicks sacked Rocco on fourth down and Warhawks kicker Jeff Schebler nailed a 44-yard field goal to ice the victory.

Despite the frigid weather and defensive credentials, it was an offensive showcase for much of the game. Stagg Bowl MVP Coppage finished with 111 yards and three touchdowns and his quarterback Donovan threw for 322 yards and two touchdowns. For Mount Union, Rocco threw for 383 yards and three touchdowns while Cecil Shorts had 10 catches for 185 yards and two touchdowns.

Along with announcing the All-Americans, the big awards were handed out in the postgame show. UW-Whitewater coach Lance Leipold won his second Coach of the Year honor. Cecil Shorts took home the Offensive Player of the Year and Wittenberg defensive end Eddie Vallery grabbed the Defensive Player of the Year.

Keith McMillan also filed the first part of his Around the Nation Year in Review, looking back at the great games of 2009.

Check out the Daily Dose for more from Salem, including Friday's video blog interview with Salem's Carey Harveycutter about the snow removal plans and an interview with Gagliardi Trophy winner Blaine Westemeyer.
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