2012 playoffs: Mount Union wins 11th title

Mount Union ended a three-year drought in Salem, defeating St. Thomas 28-10 for the national title.
Photo by Dan Poel, d3photography.com
The Purple Raiders seniors got themselves a title after losing to UW-Whitewater in the Stagg Bowl the previous three years and sent St. Thomas home from its first trip to Salem hoping for more.

Sophomore quarterback Kevin Burke completed 21 of 28 passes for 222 yards and a touchdown and was named the game's Most Outstanding Player.

Full coverage of the entire 2012 playoffs below:

2012 Division III football playoffs

December 15, 2012 In Salem, the drama is back Mount Union, following its first championship since 2008 but 11th overall, may be starting another purple reign that lasts several seasons. But they are not without a handful of legitimate challengers.

December 15, 2012 St. Thomas unfazed in first trip to Salem Starting seven freshmen and sophomores on offense; losing their leading rusher; making the program’s first Stagg Bowl appearance. Nothing fazed St. Thomas.

December 14, 2012 Mount Union seniors get their championship The St. Thomas defense could only hold the Purple Raiders down so long, as Mount Union scored twice in the final 16:04 in order to seal the deal with a 28-10 victory.

December 14, 2012 2012 Division III football bracket The final results on the way to the 40th Division III football championship.

December 13, 2012 For Stagg Bowl XL: ATN Podcast and Triple Take It's an extra large Stagg Bowl so we have an extra large pregame predictions package -- four extra picks and a new ATN Podcast from the field in Salem. Enjoy!

December 13, 2012 Purple Raiders loosen up for title run After three straight years of coming up short in the final game, Mount Union and coach Larry Kehres are having more fun in 2012. A Road to Salem feature.

December 12, 2012 UST aims to be known as OL U "A lot of people thought I was crazy,” said Glenn Caruso, a former center at Ithaca. “I told anyone who was willing to listen that we were going to build this program around the offensive line." A Road to Salem feature.

December 11, 2012 Offensive line paves Mount's road to Salem With so many Mount Union stars, it can be easy to forget five of its most important starters: The offensive line. Brian Lester has more in a Road to Salem feature.

December 11, 2012 Behind the Tommies' rise Five years ago, St. Thomas had bottomed out. But then the school hired a coach from Macalester and woke the sleeping giant that was Tommie football. Glenn Caruso talks about his team and the dream.

December 11, 2012 2012 Gagliardi Trophy ceremony The official 2012 Gagliardi Trophy announcement will take place Wednesday night, Dec. 12, with the broadcast slated to begin at 7:45 p.m. ET.

December 10, 2012 Around the Nation podcast Did Kevin Burke thrive in his trial by fire? Could St. Thomas one day be a Purple Power? Was that Jasper Collins' best game? Who's the Gagliardi Trophy favorites? That and more in our podcast.

December 9, 2012 The postgame show Here's your Division III football postgame show: D3reports, highlights and postgame interviews from the national semifinals.

December 8, 2012 Mount Union books return trip to Salem The Purple Raiders had to rally, scoring 34 points in the fourth quarter and taking the lead with five seconds left in a 48-35 win against Mary Hardin-Baylor.

December 8, 2012 Tommies' fast start lands them in Stagg Bowl St. Thomas scored three times in the first quarter, and while they had reason to look back, UW-Oshkosh never caught up.

December 7, 2012 2012 D3 Senior Classic box score How did your favorite player do at the D3 Senior Classic in Salem? We have the stats.

December 7, 2012 Our weekend predictions No. 1 Mount Union vs. No. 2 Mary Hardin-Baylor. No. 4 St. Thomas vs. No. 5 UW-Oshkosh. Who will win, by how much, and why? That's our Triple Take mission this week. And Keith pulls no punches in his take.

December 6, 2012 Semifinal QBs a fearsome foursome Two are seniors, two are sophomores. None has ever started a national semifinal, and all bring a different set of skills to Saturday's game. More in a Road to Salem feature by Adam Turer.

December 6, 2012 The secret of the Tommies' success "Third down is our fourth down," St. Thomas defensive lineman Ayo Idowu said. "It means we want an automatic punt." More about the veteran Tommies D in a Road to Salem feature.

December 6, 2012 UW-Oshkosh lives in the now Falling behind by at least 10 points in three playoff wins hasn't fazed the Titans, who are candid about using a loss to UW-La Crosse last year as motivation for a semifinal run that's still surprising them.

December 6, 2012 Which QB will have the best game Saturday? Four players will be starting a national semifinal at quarterback for the first time. Who will have the best game? Vote!

December 5, 2012 There's a big D in Driskill Mount Union's seniors don't want to be the first class in 20 years to leave without a title, and the defense, led by Nick Driskill, is looking to make sure that doesn't happen. A Road to Salem feature.

December 1, 2012 Oshkosh breaks up a pack of purple UW-Oshkosh continues its first-ever playoff run, moving to the semis with a comeback win in OT at Linfield. Mount Union, UMHB and St. Thomas all advance as well.

November 30, 2012 Triple Take: We predict the scores There's just four games left, so not only do Ryan, Keith and Pat give their take on the score, plus a breakdown of why. That's in this week's Triple Take. Share your score predictions as well!

November 30, 2012 On Linfield's journey, it's all secondary Linfield's defensive backfield is a big reason why the Wildcats are appreciating another week of playing together. A Road to Salem feature by Keith McMillan.

November 29, 2012 A hole on the roster When Wesley travels to UMHB, they'll leave an empty roster spot for linebacker Kirk Brooks, who's spending Friday seeing doctors about his recent lymphoma diagnosis. More in a Road to Salem feature.

November 28, 2012 Hobart, St. Thomas use similar formula They've got differences, sure. But when it comes to Saturday's clash in Minnesota, both Hobart and St. Thomas will try to win by running the ball and playing stout defense.

November 28, 2012 Inside the 'D' at UWO A summer ago, Ryan Stefaniak and UW-Oshkosh were on the outside looking in. But Stefaniak got a late position change in 2011 and his team had a change of fortune in 2011 and 2012. More in a Road to Salem feature.

November 28, 2012 South's beasts meet again After six meetings in seven postseasons and a regular-season meeting to boot, it seems there's nothing Mary Hardin-Baylor and Wesley can do to surprise the other. A Road to Salem feature.

November 27, 2012 He's in it for the long run The ballcarrier ran into a pile at the line of scrimmage, but bounced it to the outside ... and it got more interesting from there. It's the Play of the Week, sponsored by the City of Salem.

November 27, 2012 The postgame show With D3 reports and highlight packages, here's your Division III football postgame show: D3reports, highlights and postgame interviews from across the bracket.

November 27, 2012 Junior's spectacular senior season Mount Union's Jasper (Junior) Collins has always had the talent, but at least some of his development is a credit to a man who will be on the opposing sideline: his uncle, Widener coach Isaac Collins.

November 26, 2012 Around the Nation podcast Pat and Keith break down the second round of the playoffs and give their strengths and weaknesses for each of the eight remaining teams. Plus, John Gagliardi remembered.

November 24, 2012 Second round: Tommies, UWO rally, the rest roll Mount Union, Wesley, Hobart and Widener all won going away, with the battles waiting later in Saturday's second-round games. Updated bracket, scoreboard inside.

November 22, 2012 Triple Take: We predict the scores Ryan, Keith and Pat give their take on how each of Saturday's games will turn out, down to the score. It's this week's Triple Take.

November 21, 2012 CCIW duo win in the air, on the ground North Central won by traveling through the air, while Elmhurst won on the ground, but both advanced to the second round.

November 20, 2012 Doing the little things right Football is a game of inches, not yards. Franklin knows it can't make mistakes when playing Mary Hardin-Baylor, because it has learned that from playing Mount Union and UW-Whitewater. A Road to Salem feature.

November 20, 2012 Widener and Salisbury keep defensive coordinators up at night In perhaps the only Saturday playoff game without a clear favorite, whichever defense, Widener or Salisbury, can figure out how to slow the potent offense on the other side is likely to move on.

November 20, 2012 For Wittenberg, it's win or else Overcoming a 22-point deficit in the playoffs, against an OAC opponent on the road no less, is no easy task, but Wittenberg has been in refuse-to-lose mode since losing to Wabash. Plus more playoff features.

November 19, 2012 Around the Nation podcast Around the Nation goes around the bracket, as Keith and Pat discuss every game, including the surprises everyone except the AFCA saw coming and the one that caught us by surprise, too.

November 18, 2012 Last Wara brother lifts Oshkosh Nate Wara is the fourth Wara brother to play for UW-Oshkosh and the second to play quarterback. But he's the first to get the Titans into the playoffs. A Road to Salem feature.

November 17, 2012 Wittenberg posts huge first-round rally Wittenberg put Heidelberg away after being down 18. Mount Union had little trouble and five road teams won first-round games on Saturday. The full wrapup and updated bracket.

November 16, 2012 Triple Take: We predict the scores When playoff time rolls around, it isn't enough to just pick which are the big games. Because, you know, they're all pretty big. So our Triple Take crew goes further and predicts scores of each game.

November 15, 2012 Playoff picks, surprises, disappointments It's our annual ATN predictions column, where we say who will surprise and disappoint on the road to Salem. Will anyone score on Mount Union? Does anyone pick against UMHB? Read on.

November 14, 2012 Try your hand at the bracket challenge! Our friends at d3photography.com are hosting another bracket challenge for Division III football fans. Pick your bracket between now and Saturday at noon ET!

November 14, 2012 2012 playoffs: Linfield bracket From Linfield to St. Scholastica, how the eight teams in the top-left bracket shake out.

November 14, 2012 2012 playoffs: Mount Union bracket From Mount Union to Christopher Newport, how the eight teams in the bottom-right bracket shake out.

November 14, 2012 2012 playoffs: St. Thomas bracket From St. Thomas to St. Norbert, how the eight teams in the bottom-left bracket shake out.

November 14, 2012 2012 playoffs: Mary Hardin-Baylor bracket From Mary Hardin-Baylor to Mount Ida, how the eight teams in the top-right bracket shake out.

November 12, 2012 Around the Nation podcast Keith and Pat discuss the 2012 Division III football playoff bracket, following Pat's interview with committee chair Brad Bankston. Who are the great stories? Who might pull off an upset? That and more.

November 11, 2012 Playoff bracket released! Who will be Mount Union's biggest challenge on the way to Salem? What is the toughest bracket? Who got in despite our projection? Take a look.

November 11, 2012 Committee chair answers questions We know you have plenty of questions about how teams were chosen for the Division III playoffs and why. Committee chair Brad Bankston gives D3football.com as many answers as he can.

November 11, 2012 Final playoff projection All the games are in and all of the numbers have been updated, but the hard work is interpreting them all and choosing what's right for the 2012 playoffs.

November 10, 2012 Bracketology: Who we think is in, and why All of the scores are in and the numbers have been crunched. And as a crazy season ended in a crazy way, the NCAA committee has an interesting decision to make for Sunday's selection show.

November 9, 2012 Projected playoff bracket Last week's results shuffled the regional rankings and they shuffle this projection as well. Where might your team be headed?

November 7, 2012 A look at the at-large bids On our podcast Monday morning, we talked about the 16 or 17 candidates for the seven at-large bids. Keith McMillan breaks them down for you as we await this week's regional rankings.

November 5, 2012 Around the Nation podcast We're coming down to the final week, with a bunch of teams in contention. Here's how we think they might line up, with an explanation of how the selection process works.

November 5, 2012 Heading for Selection Sunday Here's what you need to know to get through the next seven days as a Division III football fan, including date and time of the NCAA's selection show.

November 2, 2012 Projected playoff bracket The season doesn't end today. But that's the way you have to do a playoff projection, so that's what we've got. Take a look at who we think would be in and where they might play.

October 31, 2012 First NCAA regional rankings The first NCAA regional rankings have been released, and some two-loss teams are in a surprisingly strong position. Check out the full list.

October 25, 2012 Division III football championships handbook This handbook is no longer publicly available on the NCAA website. However, we've posted it here for your use. It does contain errors and we have contacted the NCAA about the inconsistency: There are seven Pool C bids this year.

[More 2012 playoff features]