Kmic carries Mount Union into D-III title game

Updated: December 10, 2005, 8:23 PM ET
Associated Press

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.

Joe Rankin completed 14 of 33 passes for 177 yards with two interceptions for Rowan (11-2). Phil Silva had four catches for 91 yards.

"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.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press