/seasons/2002/contrib/2014112553k4l2

Mount Union takes down JCU again, returns to Salem

Gagliardi Trophy finalist Dan Pugh ran for a career-high 254 yards and five touchdowns as Mount Union put itself in the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl for the sixth time in the past seven years by defeating John Carroll 57-19 Saturday in front of a Mount Union Stadium record crowd of 8,387.

The Purple Raiders (13-0) extended the nation's longest winning streak to 41. They'll go for their third straight national championship and seventh in 10 years against Trinity (Texas) next Saturday. Mount Union has never lost a Stagg Bowl.

Tom Arth was 21-for-35 passing for 246 yards to lead John Carroll (12-2), but the Blue Streaks were outgained 516 yards to 278. 

Pugh now has 2,050 yards rushing for the season. He scored on runs of 4, 10, 14, 8 and 1 yard for Mount Union, which has won 95 of its last 96 overall games. The Purple Raiders' last loss was 24-17 to Rowan in overtime in the 1999 semifinals, which ended an NCAA-record 54-game winning streak. 

"I think some times it becomes very difficult to live up to expectations," said Mount Union head coach Larry Kehres. "There is a great deal of pressure on every team we have."

Rob Adamson completed 12 of 17 passes for 225 yards and three TDs as Mount Union struck quickly to begin each half, then used long drives to extend its lead. 

Pugh's first TD run came on the Purple Raiders' second play, following a 37-yard pass from Adamson to Derrick Leach. His five touchdowns tied the NCAA Division III record for a playoff game, set five previous times, most recently by Wittenberg's Casey Donaldson in 2000.

"We've improved overall in each of our three playoff games to date," said Kehres. "Fortunately, we were able to get off to a good start and ride that momentum throughout the contest." 

On John Carroll's next possession, Matt Caponi intercepted Arth's pass at the Blue Streaks 25. That set up a 21-yard scoring pass from Adamson to Nick Sirianni. 

Pugh's 10-yard run made it 21-0 with 30 seconds left in the first quarter. He carried five times for 48 yards on the 80-yard drive, then ran 10 times on a 14-play drive that consumed 7:24. Adamson's 4-yard pass to Josh Liddell made it 28-0. 

The Blue Streaks finally scored when Arth hit Antoine Dunklin for a 47-yard TD pass 90 seconds before halftime. Arth later found Brian Shellito for a 15-yard TD pass and Ryan DeGeorge ran for a 5-yard score as John Carroll tried to catch up. 

DeGeorge, who had 157 all-purpose yards in the teams' first meeting, a 35-16 Mount Union win Oct. 19, said "we wanted to run the ball but the defense played great. Everywhere we wanted to go with the ball they were there."

"Some teams are terrific offensively while others are very strong defensively," said John Carroll head coach Regis Scafe. "The difference with Mount Union is that they are outstanding in all three phases of the game. They just keep coming at you." 

Mount Union went 63 yards in three plays to open the second half. Adamson passed to Randell Knapp, who broke several tackles to complete a 44-yard play. Pugh scored from 14 yards out on the next play. Pugh scored for the fifth time on a 1-yard run with 8:04 to play. The Raiders then scored on a two-point conversion following a botched PAT attempt when Zac Bruney found Chris Carter in the end zone. 

Mount Union has beaten John Carroll 13 times in a row since the teams tied 20-20 in 1991. 

DeGeorge finished with 35 yards rushing on 17 carries to go along with 38 receiving yards on four receptions. Dunklin had three receptions for 86 yards. Defensively, inside linebacker Chris Cubero had a game-best 15 tackles (four solo) while defensive backs Scott Greenberg and Liam Stull each had 10 hits (two solo apiece). 

Knapp led all receivers in receptions (5) and receiving yards (129). Josh Church led the Purple Raiders on defense with eight tackles (one solo), while Matt Campbell had a sack, two quarterback hurries, and a pass deflection.

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D3football.com Top 25, preseason

The D3football.com Top 25, entering the 2019 season. This is the 17th season of the D3football.com Top 25.

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1 Mary Hardin-Baylor (24) 15-0 624
2 Mount Union (1) 14-1 599
3 St. John's 12-1 566
4 UW-Whitewater 12-1 555
5 North Central (Ill.) 10-2 482
6 Johns Hopkins 12-2 457
7 St. Thomas 8-2 414
8 Muhlenberg 11-2 405
9 Hardin-Simmons 9-2 397
10 Bethel 11-2 396  
11 Whitworth 10-1 336  
12 Linfield 7-2 291  
13 Brockport 11-1 230  
14 Delaware Valley 9-2 223  
15 Illinois Wesleyan 8-2 197  
16 Berry 10-2 190  
17 John Carroll 9-2 168  
18 Wittenberg 9-1 162  
19 RPI 10-2 152  
20 Centre 10-2 137  
21 Washington and Jefferson 9-2 132  
22 Wheaton (Ill.) 8-2 109  
23 Wabash 9-1 105  
24 Randolph-Macon 9-3 91  
25 St. Norbert 10-2 83

Others receiving votes: Trine 73; UW-La Crosse 71; Wartburg 61; Wesley 59; Washington U. 58; Montclair State 49; Alfred 48; Ithaca 42; UW-Oshkosh 40; Central 29; Case Western Reserve 25; Baldwin Wallace 20; Salisbury 15; Trinity (Texas) 10; Hope 10; Redlands 6; Marietta 3; Trinity (Conn.) 3, MIT 2.

The D3football.com Top 25 is voted on by a panel of 25 coaches, Sports Information Directors and media members from across the country, and is published weekly. Points are awarded on a 25-24-23-22-etc. basis.