2015 postseason: Mount Union gets back on top

Photo by Larry Radloff, d3photography.com

The 2015 season saw another battle of purple teams and another Stagg Bowl rematch, but this was not one of the long string of UW-Whitewater/Mount Union championship games. Instead, it was one of the shorter string of Mount Union-St. Thomas Stagg Bowls, and the Purple Raiders came away with a 49-35 win to win their 12th Division III football national title. 

St. Thomas took an early 14-0 lead, but with the wind a factor, Mount Union made it a non-issue, scoring 21 in the third quarter and holding on as St. Thomas got a couple of key bounces to get back into the game.

Check out the full coverage of Stagg Bowl XLIII, postseason coverage and much more with the links below, then follow further down for headlines from even more playoff coverage.

2015 Division III football playoffs

December 19, 2015 2015 Division III football playoff bracket The final 2015 Division III football playoff bracket, with Mount Union the Last Purple Standing as winners of Stagg Bowl XLIII.

December 19, 2015 Purple Raiders reign again Mount Union rallied from an early deficit, ramped up the offense in the third quarter, and held off St. Thomas for a 49-35 victory in Stagg Bowl XLIII. It is the Purple Raiders' 12th championship and first since 2012.

December 19, 2015 Kehres extends family legacy Only two active Division III head coaches have helmed a team to a Stagg Bowl championship -- the second of them traveled an emotional, momentum-changing game to that distinction Friday evening.

December 16, 2015 Tommies not afraid to fail St. Thomas has been imposing their will on opponents all season long. A new focus that began in the offseason has given them more confidence. They won't be caught off guard by adversity in their second trip to Salem.

December 15, 2015 Redemption in the trenches leads Mount back to Salem The Purple Raiders were tired of hearing about how they were pushed around at the line of scrimmage in the past two Stagg Bowls. They got an early shot at redemption against UW-Whitewater and made a statement, dominating up front in a 36-6 win. Adam Turer has more in a Road to Salem feature.

December 14, 2015 Podcast: We're down to two It’s just Mount Union and St. Thomas still standing with a shot at Walnut and Bronze in Division III football for 2015, and they each got there in dominating fashion. Pat and Keith talk about each semifinal, plus ATN columnist Ryan Tipps checks in to talk about Mount Union in this week's podcast.

December 13, 2015 Whitewater enters offseason one game short of Salem This year, UW-Whitewater's road to Salem went through Alliance and came to a stop, with the Warhawks falling to Mount Union for the first time since 2008. Ryan Tipps has more on the end of the 2015 Warhawks season.

December 12, 2015 Semifinal 1: Mount Union cruises to Salem The Purple Raiders held UW-Whitewater to two field goals early, and locked it down even more tightly the final three quarters in rolling to their 11th consecutive Stagg Bowl with a 36-6 win.

December 12, 2015 Semifinal 2: Tommies book return to Stagg Bowl Jordan Roberts had a career-best game and St. Thomas cruised past Linfield 38-17 to set up its second trip to the title game in four seasons.

December 11, 2015 Our picks for the semifinals At this point in the season you can't go wrong and you can't go right. One could picture any of the four teams advancing to Stagg Bowl XLIII and winning it all. So our crew is taking its best shot at calling these games. Who will win and why in this week's Triple Take.

December 11, 2015 Even more stories from the semifinals There is a ton of great coverage previewing Saturday's Division III football semifinals. Here's a list of the best links and a reminder as to how you can watch the games.

December 9, 2015 The Tommies are back, deeper and healthier than ever After two disappointing seasons, St. Thomas is back in the semifinals. Led by 26 seniors, this team learned from its 2012 trip to Salem and just how hard it is to get back there. They are now one win away from a return, thanks in large part to their selflessness.

December 8, 2015 Knecht rises to the occasion for Wildcats Being a senior backup quarterback is no easy job. It can be a thankless position, until your team needs you to step up to keep its season and championship dreams alive. Brian Lester has more on Linfield's Tom Knecht in a Road to Salem feature.

December 7, 2015 Podcast: Inside each quarterfinal game Pat and Keith pull in guests to talk about each quarterfinal game, someone to take you through the ins and outs of each game and the teams moving on to the semifinals. That, plus game balls and more in the Around the Nation podcast.

December 7, 2015 Namdar, Nemeth stepping up for Purple Raiders Mount Union's lines have been dominant on both sides of the ball and Taurice Scott has proven himself at quarterback. But it's the strong performances from skill position players that have stood out for the Purple Raiders this postseason. Joe Sager has more in a Road to Salem feature.

December 7, 2015 Another Warhawk in the offensive arsenal Marcus Hudson has developed a repertoire with quarterback Chris Nelson. The junior duo complement UWW's rushing attack and have been making big plays when the Warhawks need them the most. Their confidence is high heading into the biggest game of the season. Josh Smith has more in a Road to Salem feature.

December 5, 2015 Purple powers set up semifinal rematches Mount Union and UW-Whitewater won their quarterfinals in different fashions, setting up the first postseason meeting between the two teams not on Salem's neutral field. Meantime, Linfield won at the gun and St. Thomas cruised.

December 2, 2015 Wabash proves it truly does always fight You know how the saying goes. The Little Giants lived up to their mantra in a big way in Round Two and hit the road to fight on for another week. Adam Turer was there and has more in a Road to Salem feature.

December 1, 2015 Day to day, playing for another week The Wildcats might be without their starting quarterback on Saturday. Whether Sam Riddle or Tom Knecht takes the snaps on offense, Alex Hoff and company are determined to keep this season going for Linfield. Brian Lester has more in a Road to Salem feature.

November 30, 2015 A crusade of vengeance The Crusaders already avenged one defeat this postseason. Now, they are in position to end Linfield's season after the Wildcats ended Mary Hardin-Baylor's 2014 campaign. A regular season loss woke up the Cru and gave them new life. Joe Sager has more in a Road to Salem feature.

November 29, 2015 Playoff lessons learned UW-Oshkosh made an impressive run to the semifinals in its first playoff appearance in 2012. This time around, Pat Cerroni and staff know what to expect from the big stage. The Titans also know what to expect from a familiar opponent. Josh Smith has more in a Road to Salem feature.

November 28, 2015 Wabash wins an epic; Wesley holds on; Tommies roll Johnnies again Ethan Buresh ended an amazing game in dramatic fashion, with a 75-yard return for a TD. Wesley held on against Johns Hopkins, while St. Thomas made it a clean sweep of St. John's. More in the second round playoff roundup.

November 24, 2015 One last chance Wesley's Joe Callahan and JHU's Keith Corliss have made the most of their D-III experience. Now, they face one another in the hopes of extending their playing days for one more week. Callahan bested the Blue Jays in 2013 and is playing inspired this season, while Corliss remains driven by that defeat.

November 23, 2015 ATN Podcast: Let's move past that first round, please Phew, that was ugly. We have a coach talking about winning ugly, and another talking about the worst conditions he's seen in 37 years of coaching. Oh, and we'll talk about the one good game. And postseason awards. And more.

November 23, 2015 Huntingdon makes history The Hawks became the only program to earn its first ever playoff victory in 2015. The reward is a trip to Texas, but nobody will ever be able to take away the history made by this year's team. More in a Road to Salem feature.

November 23, 2015 Saints enjoy the chip on their shoulder You won't expect Thomas More to beat Wabash by 25, and that's understandable. But the Saints have already defeated four ranked-at-the-time opponents this year by that average margin. They look forward to proving us wrong again. More on the Road to Salem.

November 23, 2015 Ratliffe a workhorse for Warhawks UW-Whitewater's offense is built for November and December. Playing in the season's first snowfall, Jordan Ratliffe rushed for 159 first half yards, continuing to embody the Warhawks' ethos of pounding the rock. Josh Smith has more in a Road to Salem feature.

November 22, 2015 Fueled by defeats, Cortland found way to win The Red Dragons stewed over two losses, but earned the Empire 8's hard-fought automatic bid. Then, they represented the conference by defeating former member Salisbury in the opening round. Thanksgiving in Oregon is now on the menu. Brian Lester has more in a Road to Salem feature.

November 22, 2015 Wabash's rushing game keeps its season alive Mason Zurek has rushed for 590 yards the past two games, which also happened to be the Little Giants' biggest games of the season. He gives credit to the offensive linemen who are paving the way for his record-breaking season. Joe Sager has more in a Road to Salem feature.

November 21, 2015 UMHB wins rematch, Cortland to make trip west Mary Hardin-Baylor shut down the Hardin-Simmons passing game, Huntingdon got its first playoff win, Linfield won its rematch and Cortland won to win the trip to Oregon in the Linfield bracket.

November 21, 2015 Mount Union bracket: Everyone rolls in first round Wesley pulled away in the second half and everyone else pulled away in the first half as the home teams all advanced in the Mount Union bracket.

November 21, 2015 Zurek rolls in the snow; UST, SJU, Thomas More move on Mason Zurek had 210 rushing yards in the second half alone as Wabash advanced to the second round past Albion, while St. Thomas and St. John's set up a holiday weekend rematch in the St. Thomas bracket.

November 21, 2015 ONU gets round's first road W; WIAC, Wheaton advance Ohio Northern rallied from a 16-0 halftime deficit for the only close game in the UW-Oshkosh bracket, while the other top seeds all advanced.

November 19, 2015 Johnson's journey ends in playoffs The last time Dubuque faced St. John's, Rio Johnson hadn't played a game of organized football since 2012. Once he knocked the rust off, Dubuque got rolling, all the way to the playoffs.

November 19, 2015 Playoff team capsules: The Mount Union bracket Check out our previews of the top right bracket, from Mount Union to Norwich. How they got here, what their strengths and weaknesses are, the stats and how far they could go.

November 19, 2015 Playoff team capsules: The UW-Oshkosh bracket Check out our previews of the bottom right bracket, from UW-Oshkosh to St. Scholastica. How they got here, what their strengths and weaknesses are, the stats and how far they could go. It's a D3football.com playoff tradition!

November 18, 2015 Playoff team capsules: The Linfield bracket Check out our previews of the bottom left bracket, from Linfield to Hendrix. Who are these teams, the isolated ones scattered across the country plus the lacrosse powers? We run down their strengths, weaknesses, highlights and more.

November 18, 2015 Playoff team capsules: The St. Thomas bracket Check out our previews of the top left bracket, from St. Thomas to La Verne. How they got here, what their strengths and weaknesses are, the stats and how far they could go. It's a D3football.com playoff tradition!

November 17, 2015 Mount Union still bringing it on defense The Purple Raiders are known for putting up points, but their dominant defense might be the team's most impressive unit. Led by a tight-knit group of seniors, Mount Union's defense is ready for another long postseason run. More in Around the Great Lakes.

November 17, 2015 Doing their homework on the fly Even for programs with deep playoff histories, each new tournament brings new excitement and challenges. Coaches found out who their next opponent would be and got to work on Sunday night, in the hopes of that they can do the same thing next week. More in Around the Midwest.

November 17, 2015 HSU's long road back to the postseason over Korey Zavala has waited his entire career to play in the postseason and the senior defensive lineman at Hardin-Simmons can’t say enough about what it means to finally have the opportunity to be in the playoffs.

November 14, 2015 Who's clinched automatic bids? There are 25 automatic bids to the Division III playoffs. Here's who's clinched them so far:

November 11, 2015 Printable blank football bracket Download, print and follow along as the bracket is announced on Sunday afternoon.

November 11, 2015 Our projected playoff bracket If you think three teams from the West Region rankings should be given No. 1 seeds, well, it's not impossible. But it's difficult. Here's who we think would be in the field, at least before we talk about Week 11 upsets.

November 11, 2015 Second NCAA regional ranking for 2015 The NCAA released its second regional rankings for 2015 -- this is the last version the public gets to see, although the NCAA creates a secret ranking for use on Selection Sunday.

November 4, 2015 First NCAA regional ranking for 2015 The NCAA released its first regional rankings of the season -- this is the first version of the rankings the NCAA committee will eventually use to determine the (secret) seedings and at-large bids.

More 2015 Division III football playoff coverage