November 27, 2012

Junior's spectacular senior season

More news about: Mount Union | Widener
Jasper Collins found the end zone five times on Saturday. He's continuing the legacy of star Mount Union wide receivers which recently includes NFL standouts Pierre Garcon and Cecil Shorts.
Photo by Dan Poel for d3photography.com
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By Brian Lester
D3sports.com

Jasper Collins Jr. has become one of the more dangerous wide receivers in NCAA Division III football.

He nearly broke the D-III playoff record for touchdown catches in a game in Mount Union’s 55-13 victory over Johns Hopkins on Saturday, tying the mark with five as the undefeated Purple Raiders continued their march toward a national championship.

Collins finished the day with 12 catches for 288, pushing his season total to 67 catches for 1,272 yards and 18 scores.

“I think his totals you are seeing in games are a reflection of playoff time, and he’s playing a little bit more,” Mount Union coach Larry Kehres said. “But (Junior) has been able to play like this forever.”

Collins has always had the talent to play football, and part of his development, interestingly enough, is a credit to the coach who will be on the visiting sideline Saturday when the Purple Raiders host Widener in the quarterfinal round.

Isaac Collins is in his third season with the Pride, which is unbeaten as well and in the postseason for the first time since 2007. Jasper is his nephew and spent two summers with his uncle when he was an assistant coach at The Citadel.

“I spent my eighth and ninth grade summers with him and the knowledge I gained from him is amazing,” Junior Collins said. “We would sit down and have a lot of talks about football. He really helped me develop as a player and he is a great football coach. I’m happy with what he’s been able to do (at Widener).”

The Collins family will be out in full force Saturday at Mount Union Stadium, and the talk of this matchup was actually brought up before the postseason began.

“My uncle sent me a text a few weeks ago and told me to go out and play well and his team would do the same and that we would see each other in three weeks,” Collins said. “It’s a neat thing for our family and I’m looking forward to the experience.”

Collins hails from Geneva High School in New York, the same town as fellow Division III playoff quarterfinalist Hobart, and has been making an impact ever since he arrived on campus in 2009.

By his sophomore season, he was an honorable mention All-Ohio Athletic Conference selection, making 66 catches for 908 yards. A year later, he earned first-team all-conference honors, highlighting his season with four 100-yard receiving games. Collins finished with 67 catches for 844 yards.

A solid offseason helped set the stage for the success he has enjoyed this year.

“I worked a lot on my route running over the summer. Three or four times a week, I would run routes in four seven-on-seven drills and it’s made a difference,” Collins said. “My routes are more crisp and our quarterback (Kevin Burke) is such a great playmaker. We are on the same page.”

The Purple Raiders can beat teams in a lot of ways. The running game is cranking out 261.8 yards per game and the passing attack has created headaches for opponents on more than one occasion.

Burke has completed 180 of his 260 passes for an eye-popping 2,902 yards. He has thrown 32 touchdown passes and has been picked off only five times.

Of course, Burke has a lot of options when throwing the ball.

Chris Denton has made 53 catches for 804 yards and five touchdowns while also returning five punts for scores. Julius Moore has caught 29 passes for 449 yards and five touchdowns and Shannon Stewart has grabbed 25 passes for 352 yards and four touchdowns.

“Defenses can’t key in on just one player,” Collins said. “We have a lot of playmakers and I know that my opportunities to make plays will come. The advantage for us is that we go up against the best defense in the country in practice every day. They make things tough and do a great job of preparing us for games.”

Kehres said the key to the success of the receivers is simple.

“Our receivers are experienced and dedicated to working hard on running good routes and working with their teammates,” Kehres said.

As for the big game by Collins on Saturday, he really wasn’t aware of just how much success he was having against Johns Hopkins.

“I didn’t realize it until the game almost over. Coaches were coming up to me and telling me I had a heck of a game,” Collins said. “I give a lot of credit to my teammates. They helped put me in a position to succeed.”

While the Widener defense will be focused on stopping Collins and his fellow wide receivers, the Pride has a deep threat of its own. Anthony Davis racked up 201 receiving yards in the playoff win over Salisbury last week and scored on a reverse.

On the season, he has 58 catches for 1,130 yards and 16 touchdowns, making him an integral part of an offense that is cranking out 483.73 yards per game. The Pride’s defense is allowing 297.18 yards per outing.

“They are a very good football team that has been very solid in every aspect of the game,” Kehres said. “Anytime you play a team that has won their conference and had the success they have had, we know we are getting a good football team.”

But like the other seniors, Collins doesn’t want the season to end on Saturday. They came to Mount Union to win a national championship and have no intentions of graduating without one after falling short in the last three national finals.

“Every player comes to Mount Union to win a title, and that was a big part of our motivation in the offseason,” Collins said. “As seniors, we know this playoff run is it for us. This is our last chance. We are going to go out there and give it our all.”

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