ALLIANCE, Ohio -- Nate Kmic had 48 carries for 160 yards and
Mount Union advanced to the NCAA Division III national championship
game with a 19-7 win over Rowan on Saturday.
The Purple Raiders (13-1) held the Profs to minus-1 yard
rushing, advancing to the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl for the eighth
time in the last 10 years. In the title game, Mount Union will face
Wisconsin-Whitewater -- which defeated Wesley 58-6 on Saturday.
"I thought we had the ability ... but I tried to temper that by
saying most of our offense was first-year starters," Purple
Raiders coach Larry Kehres said. "I thought all year long that our
defense, the linebackers, have been the core of our success."
Mike Jorris threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Kmic in the second
quarter to give Mount Union a 7-0 lead. Kmic then scored on a
7-yard run with 5:20 left in the first half to make it 14-0. The
freshman's run finished off a 10-play, 76-yard drive.
"Obviously our inability to run the football was key today,"
Rowan coach Jay Accorsi said. "Any time you can't run the football
you're going to struggle."
Rankin scored on a 1-yard TD run to cut the lead to 14-7 in the
third period, but the Profs couldn't get any closer. Mike Zimmerman
kicked a 25-yard field goal and the Purple Raiders recorded a
safety in the fourth period to provide the final margin.
"We played great rushing defense today," Kehres said. "Even
though our rushing yards were hard to get, we got some."
Jorris finished 17-of-29 for 178 yards with an interception for
Mount Union, which is seeking its eighth national championship and
first since 2002.