Sunday, December 21, 2014

Bowling Green: 2014 Camellia Bowl Champions

The inaugural Raycom Media Camellia Bowl was a knock down, drag out battle that left each team, and literally South Alabama head coach Joey Jones, beaten and battered.
And when South Alabama (6-7) capped off a dramatic, late-game drive with a Terrance Timmons three-yard touchdown run with 1:20 left in the game to take a 28-27 lead, it looked like Bowling Green (8-6), after swallowing body blows for the whole second half, was finally down for the count.
But James Knapke, an early-season replacement for preseason starter Matt Johnson, picked Bowling Green up off the canvas, and 16 seconds later, delivered the final knockout blow to the Jaguars, hitting Roger Lewis for a 78-yard touchdown pass that clinched the Falcons’ 33-28 victory Saturday night at Cramton Bowl in Montgomery.
With his performance, Knapke was named the Camellia Bowl Bart Starr MVP.
“We wanted to be aggressive with that play call,” Knapke said. “Roger (Lewis) was one on one and my job is to just get him the ball. He made the play after that.”
Knapke and the Falcons got off to a blazing start in the teams’ third-straight bowl appearance.
After holding the South Alabama offense to a three-and-out on their first drive of the game, Knapke lead Bowling Green on a seven-play, 65 yard drive, capped by a 44-yard bomb on fourth-and-two to Lewis for the first touchdown of the game.
“We just tried to take advantage of what the defense was doing,” Knapke said. “Roger did a great job of getting open.”
The Falcons struck again one drive later, this time on a 93-yard march. After a 53-yard pass to Gherig Dieter put Bowling Green in the South Alabama red zone, Travis Greene punched the ball in from one yard out to put the Falcons up 14-0.
With just over seven minutes remaining in the first quarter, it seemed as though Knapke and the Bowling Green offense could do no wrong.
But South Alabama finally responded when Kendall Houston took a handoff 44 yards into the end zone, cutting the lead to 14-7. It was Houston’s longest touchdown run of his career.
Bowling Green added two field goals to push the lead to 20-7 before halftime.
At 9:13 of the third quarter, South Alabama quarterback Brandon Bridge ignited the Jaguars’ second-half comeback, scrambling into the end zone from 15 yards out to narrow the Falcons’ lead to 20-14.
“It says that they’re (South Alabama) resilient as hell,” Jones said. “They never backed down and that’s the heart of this team.”
After Travis Greene responded for Bowling Green with a 17-yard touchdown run late in the third, South Alabama kept pace with a DeMarrion Buford-Hughes 18-yard touchdown reception, cutting the lead again to 27-21 before the final two dramatic scores.

Knapke finished Saturday with 368 yards and two touchdowns on 25-of-39 passing.
“What a story,” Bowling Green head coach Dino Babers said. “How he started his very first game, finished up the WKU game… Still win the (MAC) East, still get to the MAC Championship game and then we have a bowl game like this. Who would have ever thunk his name would have been underneath Bart Starr for the MVP of this bowl game in its inaugural year. That’s an OMG right there.”
The Falcons had two receivers tally more than 100 yards receiving. Roger finished with 137 yards receiving and two touchdowns and Dieter finished with 108 yards.
This is the Falcons’ first bowl victory since defeating Memphis in the GMAC Bowl in 2004, coincidentally at Ladd-Peebles Stadium, South Alabama’s home field.
In the loss, South Alabama still made history. The Jaguars became the fastest team in Sun Belt history to become bowl eligible. The Jaguars have been a full member of the FBS for just two years.
It’s a feat the South Alabama seniors hope will set the standard for teams and recruiting classes to come.
“The legacy that we left is just a legacy that is just going to keep on growing,“ Bridge said. “Like Maleki (Harris) said, we left that stepping stone with that first bowl game.”
Bridge completed 20-of-37 passes for a touchdown, but threw two interceptions, including a costly one on the Jaguars’ last drive of the game.
Danny Woodson led South Alabama with 122 yards receiving on six receptions.

Air Force: 2014 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Champions

A turnaround play capped a turnaround season.
Air Force linebacker Spencer Proctor stripped Western Michigan quarterback Zach Terrell on a scramble early in the fourth quarter in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl on Saturday. Linebacker Dexter Walker grabbed the loose ball and scampered 60 yards down the sideline for a touchdown -- just as it looked like Air Force was losing control of the game. The Falcons beat the Broncos 38-24.
The victory put a championship topper on a 10-3 season for the Falcons, who were 2-10 last year.
“That touchdown really just turned the game in our favor and that’s all she wrote,” Air Force senior linebacker Jordan Pierce said.
Walker's touchdown came moments after a Western Michigan punt return for a touchdown was negated by a block in the back. The touchdown would have tied the score, pending the point-after.
“It was a block in the back,” Western Michigan coach P.J. Fleck said. “It’s a great return by Daniel Braverman. He didn’t need the block. That guy makes everybody miss anyway. That’s definitely tough, but we could have overcome it.”
The Broncos took possession at their own 47-yard line down 23-17.
Three plays later, the Falcons’ defensive touchdown made it 31-17 with 9:52 to play -- and they cruised the rest of the way.
“That about four-play sequence right there were gigantic plays,” Air Force coach Troy Calhoun said. “… That was the first defensive touchdown we’ve had in, oh, baby — I studied history at the academy, but it’s been a while.”
First quarter
WMU — Andrew Haldeman 25 field goal, 12:45. Key plays: Air Force tailback Devin Rushing fumbled a pitch on the Falcons’ first play. Western Michigan recovered on the Air Force 30-yard line. The Broncos converted one third down but a holding penalty stalled the drive. Drive: 8 plays, 22 yards, 2:08. Western Michigan 3, Air Force 0
AFA — Shayne Davern 1 run (run failed), 5:24. Key plays: Wide receiver Garrett Brown gained 10 yards on a toss play and Western Michigan was flagged for a face mask that negated a sack. Drive: 9 plays, 61 yards, 3:41. Air Force 6, Western Michigan 3
Second quarter
WMU — Corey Davis 47 pass from Zach Terrell (Haldeman kick), 11:26. Key plays: Terrell rolled right and threw to wide receiver Daniel Braverman for 13 yards on third-and-5. The touchdown was on a post route and Davis got behind the entire defense. Drive: 6 plays, 75 yards, 2:49. Western Michigan 10, Air Force 6
AFA — Davern 55 run (Will Conant kick), 10:12. Key plays: Quarterback Kale Pearson kept left for 14 yards. On the next play, Davern took the dive handoff, broke a tackle and was gone. Drive: 3 plays, 72 yards, 1:14. Air Force 13, Western Michigan 10
AFA — Rushing 1 run (Conant kick), 2:32. Key plays: Rushing gained 7 yards on third-and-6 on a play similar to the touchdown. Davern added an 8-yard gain on a fake punt on fourth-and-2 and Robinette made a 38-yard catch. Drive: 15 plays, 80 yards, 5:59.Air Force 20, Western Michigan 10
Third quarter
AFA — Conant 31 field goal, 6:32. Key plays: Brown made a 14-yard catch to get the Falcons in scoring position. The drive stalled on an incomplete pass in the end zone. Drive: 9 plays, 35 yards, 3:35. Air Force 23, Western Michigan 10
Fourth quarter
WMU — Davis 35 pass from Terrell (Haldeman kick), 13:26. Key plays: Terrell scrambled for 12 yards and drew a late-hit penalty on third down to get the initial first down. He added a couple of 13-yard completions. Drive: 9 plays, 92 yards, 2:00. Air Force 23, Western Michigan 17
AFA — Dexter Walker 60 fumble return (Robinette pass from Pearson), 9:52. Air Force 31, Western Michigan 17
AFA — D.J. Johnson 9 run (Conant kick), 5:20. Key plays: Colton Huntsman broke a 26-yard run to the Western Michigan 9. Johnson broke a couple tackles going into the end zone. Drive: 7 plays, 54 yards, 3:11. Air Force 38, Western Michigan 17
WMU — Davis 51 pass from Terrell (Haldeman kick), 3:16. Key play: Davis made his third catch of the night on a deep ball. Drive: 6 plays, 84 yards, 2:04. Air Force 38, Western Michigan 24

Read more here:

Utah: 2014 Las Vegas Bowl Champions

Las Vegas • Colorado State’s vaunted passing attack dried up and wilted while Utah’s maligned offense buried the Rams in the Mojave Desert.

Before 33,067 fans at UNLV’s Sam Boyd Stadium — three-fourths wearing red — Utah made the most of its first bowl appearance in three years.

Some had wondered how these Utes would fare against a powerhouse from their old conference. Their answer: 45-10.

Junior quarterback Travis Wilson was named most valuable player, Kyle Whittingham tied John Robinson for the best bowl win percentage in NCAA history among coaches with at least seven wins, at 8-1, and fans who planned on attending the Runnin’ Utes game against UNLV later Saturday night were able to leave early for the nightcap.

It’s what Utah had been waiting for.

"That really was a product of the preparation of the last three weeks," Whittingham said. "All they had to do was come out and do what they did the last three weeks and execute."

On Utah’s very first play, Wilson handed it to Devontae Booker, who pitched it to Jason Thompson, who threw it back to Wilson, who heaved it 36 yards downfield to Kaelin Clay.

Any notion that offensive coordinator Dave Christensen would be too conservative was quickly dispelled.

Two plays later, Wilson jogged in from 8 yards out for his first of three rushing touchdowns, to complement 158 yards and another score through the air.

Colorado State interim head coach Dave Baldwin said afterward that Utah’s offensive firepower — they totaled 548 yards, 359 on the ground — surprised him.

The fight went out of his Rams when sophomore defensive tackle Filipo Mokofisi recovered a third-quarter fumble and Wilson darted over the goal line, followed by an interception from senior linebacker Jacoby Hale that led to a 10-yard rushing touchdown from junior running back Bubba Poole.

The Rams were on their back foot from the opening kick, though.

Redshirt freshman running back Troy McCormick broke free for 49 yards, on Utah’s second drive — on just his fifth carry since Week Two — and another redshirt freshman, wideout Delshawn McClellon, caught a 16-yard Wilson pass in the back left corner of the end zone.

But while the Rams couldn’t match the Utes’ class, in the earlygoing, at least, they didn’t lack for sass.

CSU quarterback Garrett Grayson tossed a lateral pass to wideout Charles Lovett, who fired it right back, and Grayson trailed a herd of Ram blockers 39 yards to the end zone.

After Booker rumbled 60 yards for a first-down score, the Rams then responded with a 59-yard connection between Grayson and Biletnikoff finalist Rashard Higgins and a 41-yard Jared Roberts field goal to make it 21-10 — the highest-scoring first quarter in Las Vegas Bowl history.

Grayson finished with 227 yards, giving him 4,006 for the season, but struggled as Utah’s down linemen applied regular pressure.

"I’m very surprised, to be honest," he said. "I never, in a million years, saw that score happening."

Utah State: 2014 New Mexico Bowl Champions

The New Mexico Bowl may have seen some crazy endings the past few years, but this year’s game went against that script. Instead, Utah State (10-4, 6-2 Mountain West Conference) recorded just the second 10-win season in program history with its third straight bowl victory with a 21-6 victory over UTEP (7-6, 5-3 Conference USA).
UTEP opened the scoring in the first quarter with a field goal on the game’s opening possession, but Utah State later scored a touchdown in the first quarter when quarterback Kent Myers broke off a 48-yard touchdown run down the left sideline for the lead. The Aggies punched in a second touchdown in the third quarter withNick Vigil pushing one in from three yards out to cap a 75-yard drive. UTEP would add a late field goal.
UTEP’s chances to get the ball back for one last chance to tie things up took a critical blow when a kickoff following the second field goal by Jay Mattox went out-of-bounds, setting Utah State up in good field position. UTEP burned a timeout before the field goal try, which meant the decision not to go for the onside kick was a little extra confusing with under three minutes to play remaining. Utah State simply let running back Joe Hill carry the team the rest of the way with some big runs to run clock, including a touchdown run with 1:33 to play for the knockout blow.
Heading into 2015 the first big question for Utah State will be how does quarterbackChuckie Keeton look? Keeton’s return to the field in 2014 did not go according to plan, as he never seemed to be playing at full speed after a knee injury ended the 2013 season for him. The knee acted up again early in 2014, but he has one more year of eligibility to play. It would be wise to have Utah State proceed with extreme caution with Keeton in order to make sure he is ready for the rigors of the 2015 season.
Enough cannot be said about the coaching job Utah State head coach Matt Wellsdid this season. The Aggies won 10 games using four different starting quarterbacks along the way. That included a bowl game victory that even saw Myers receive some brief medical attention.
UTEP will look to find a way to build on the momentum the second half of the season saw on the field. The Miners win five of their final seven games of the regular season, although they fell a couple of games shy of the division title. The start to the 2015 season could be rough with three consecutive road games against Arkansas, Texas Tech and New Mexico State. UTEP will look to replace some key position players like quarterback Jameil Showers and receivers Jarred Shaw and Ian Hamilton, but the bulk of the offense should be in place. The defensive secondary will be hit hard as well, but the front of the defense should largely in good shape.

Louisiana-Lafayette: 2014 New Orleans Bowl Champions

University of Louisiana-Lafayette coach Mark Hudspeth said Terrance Broadway's final game as a Ragin' Cajun was a fitting end for his senior quarterback. Playing for the final time at UL-Lafayette, Broadway passed for 227 yards and a touchdown to lead the Cajuns to a 16-3 victory against Nevada on Saturday in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl.
He was named the game's most outstanding player. He also earned that honor in 2012 when he led UL-Lafayette to a 43-34 victory against East Carolina.
It was, at times, a frustrating season for Broadway and the Cajuns. They started 1-3 and Broadway lost his favorite receiver, senior Jamal Robinson, to a knee and foot injury.
That meant establishing rapport with his other receivers, something that took time.
He hooked up with receiver James Butler eight times for 53 yards Saturday.
"The connection with me and James really picked up,'' Broadway said. "We've been on the same page throughout the year. James has really stepped up big for us.
"It's been team all year. All I want to do is be consistent. If I pass the ball seven times, I want to be 7-for-7. That's just how our offense rolls. Anybody on our offense could have been MVP (Saturday).''
Broadway completed his first 14 passes of the game. He directed the Cajuns to scoring drives on the first two possessions. He guided UL-Lafayette on a 77-yard, eight-play touchdown offensive to start the game, completing two passes for 29 yards, including a 17-yard touchdown strike to C.J. Bates that came on third down.
He also had a 15-yard run on the drive as the Cajuns moved efficiently, needing only one third down conversion, which came on the score with 11:26 left in the first quarter.
UL-Lafayette made it 10-0 with 2:55 left in the second quarter when senior kicker Hunter Stover hit a career-high 46-yard field goal. The Cajuns moved from their 11 to the Nevada 29 before the drive stalled. Broadway completed four passes on that drive for 27 yards and rushed for 10 yards.
"Terrance was spot on (Saturday),'' Hudspeth said. "Great way for him to go out.''
McGUIRE CONTRIBUTES: Nevada did a fair job of handling Cajuns' running back Elijah McGuire, the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year, for most of the game.
He just missed getting 100 yards rushing, finishing with 99 yards on 16 carries. He also had five receptions for 54 yards.
Wolf Pack coach Brian Polian said the plan was to limit UL-Lafayette's running game.
"We came into the game saying we had to stop the run,'' Polian said. "It's hard to look at the numbers and say we got blown up.''
FOURTH BEST CROWD: Though it wasn't the record crowd the New Orleans Bowl has enjoyed the previous three years, Ragin' Cajuns fans still had a respectable showing.
The announced crowd was 34,014, the fourth largest in the New Orleans Bowl history. The actual crowd was considerably smaller. But considering the early 10 a.m. start and fact that UL-Lafayette had been here the previous three years, it wasn't a bad showing.
ECT.: UL-Lafayette had 26 first downs, third most in New Orleans Bowl history, and held the ball for 36:54 to Nevada's 23:06, the best mark in bowl history. ... Cajuns senior kicker Hunter Stover made field goals of 46, 38 and 35 yards, tying the New Orleans Bowl record for most in a game. He missed his fourth attempt in the fourth quarter. ... The three points by Nevada was the fewest ever in New Orleans Bowl history.
Trey Iles can be reached at or 504.826.3405

Colorado State-Pueblo: 2014-15 NCAA Division II Football Champions

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Colorado State-Pueblo didn't have a football program seven years ago.
Now, there is none better in Division II.
Chris Bonner threw for 191 yards and a touchdown, Cameron McDondle ran for 113 yards and the ThunderWolves relied on some stingy defense to knock off previously unbeaten Minnesota State 13-0 on Saturday for their first national championship.
Paul Browning had five catches for 84 yards and the game's lone touchdown for Pueblo (14-1), and Greg O'Donnell bounced back from an early miss to connect on his next two field goals.
"To be able to come through and end it like this, it's beautiful," Browning said. "Thank you to Pueblo for allowing us to have a football program. To do this, it's just a mind-blowing experience."
The victory capped a remarkable rebuilding job by ThunderWolves coach John Wristen, who played quarterback for the school when it was known as Southern Colorado in the early 1980s.
The program was disbanded along with several others in cost-cutting moves in 1985, and Wristen was brought on board in 2007 to revive it. Pueblo won four games the following year and simply kept improving, going unbeaten in the regular season the three previous seasons.
Each of those years ended in playoff disappointment, though. But after losing its only game to Fort Lewis earlier this season, Pueblo made sure to finish things off this time.
"Our defense was outstanding. Our offense made the plays they needed to," Wristen said. "I was convinced if we understood the process, played as hard as you can and play for each other -- and not being perfect, but fixing your mistakes -- we had a chance to be here."
Ricky Lloyd and Nick Pieruccini shared quarterback duties for the Mavericks (14-1), though neither of them was particularly effective. Running back Connor Thomas, who had more than 1,300 yards rushing this season, was held to just 25 yards on 10 carries.
The result was the first shutout in the Division II title game since 1997.
"That was one of the best defenses we've seen," Lloyd said. "We just couldn't get on a roll. We couldn't get any drives sustained and when you can't get drives sustained, it's tough to score."
The Division II title game moved this year from its longtime home in Florence, Alabama to Sporting Park, the $200 million soccer-specific home of MLS club Sporting Kansas City -- which looked just fine dressed as a football stadium for the first time.
As expected, two of the nation's best defenses took center stage early. Neither team crossed midfield until late in the first quarter, and the game was still scoreless midway through the second.
Both teams squandered chances, though. O'Donnell missed right on a 44-yard field-goal attempt, and Minnesota State's Alden Haffar had his 27-yard attempt blocked.
O'Donnell finally broke the deadlock with a 27-yard field goal late in the half.
Minnesota State, which blew out Concord 47-13 in the semifinals, proceeded to go three-and-out for the second time in the half. Pueblo took advantage of good field position and briskly marched 69 yards, taking a 10-0 lead on Bonner's 18-yard fade pass to Browning.
"Just saw a good mathcup out there with Paul. Any time I see that, I've been doing it all year, I'm going at him," Bonner said. "Just a well-executed play."
O'Donnell added a 24-yard field goal early in the second half to extend the ThunderWolves' lead, and the same defense that shined in 10-7 semifinal win over West Georgia came through again.
For Minnesota State, it was a bitter ending to a remarkable season.
Todd Hoffner returned as coach after a two-year hiatus caused by some messy legal trouble, and the Mavericks put together a perfect regular season. They then advanced to the Division II finals for the first time, beating perennial powerhouse Pittsburg State in overtime along the way.
On Saturday, they finally ran into the first team they couldn't beat.
"We didn't come into the game satisfied. We came in to compete. We came in to win," Hoffner said. "You get 60 minutes. You get one chance to compete, and if you don't get it done, you have a result like you had today."

Southern Oregon: 2014-15 NAIA Football National Champions

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Austin Dodge led Southern Oregon to its first NAIA football championship, throwing for 429 yards and three touchdowns in a 55-31 victory over turnover-prone Marian College on Friday.
Dodge, the NAIA player of the year, was 21-of-39 for the Raiders (13-2). Melvin Mason, Dylan Young and Ryan Retzlaff caught touchdown passes, and Mason also ran for 56 yards and three scores.
"We fulfilled a dream because the players bought in," Southern Oregon coach Craig Howard said. "These guys have done everything we asked, and I promised these guys they would leave Southern Oregon with a degree and a national championship."
Hayden Northern threw for a school-record 495 yards for Marian (11-3) but had six interceptions. The Indiana school also lost two fumbles. Anthony Jones Jr. had 17 catches for 234 yards and three touchdowns.
"The turnovers were big," Marian coach Mark Henninger said. "We probably left 21 points on the board in the first half. Playing against a team like Southern Oregon, you can't turn the ball over like that and you can't miss tackles like we did."
The Raiders took a 24-7 lead in the first quarter and led 38-10 at halftime.
Marian rallied in the third quarter. Northern threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Jones and a 32-yarder to Krishawn Hogan on fourth-and-2 to make it 38-24.
"We were able to chip away a little bit there," Northern said. "It was tough coming from behind but I know my teammates were going to keep fighting."
Dodge converted two third downs with passes to Jeremy Scottow and Young to set up a 9-yard touchdown pass to Retzlaff on the first play of the fourth quarter to make it 45-24.
"Austin can make all the throws, and we have the utmost confidence in him during these situations," Howard said. "I think he has that it factor. I coached Tim Tebow in high school, and he had it. Austin has it, and you win championships with those guys."
Northern and Jones teamed again for a 75-yard touchdown strike on the first play of the Knights' next series to make it 45-31.
"I thought we were still going to come back," Jones said. "I kept telling my teammates that this game wasn't over yet."
Dodge, however, continued to make his best throws on third down and led the Raiders on a 12-play, 57-yard drive that ended with a 38-yard field goal by Aldrick Rosas that gave Southern Oregon a 48-31 lead.
"This was an amazing effort from the offense today," Dodge said. "The offensive line, the wide receivers, the coaches. It was a team effort, and everyone deserves a lot of credit for this win."
Julius Rucker had two interceptions for Southern Oregon, returning one 54 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter to make it 10-0.
"We wanted to attack and try to get the ball back to our offense as quick as we could," Rucker said. "We were able to get turnovers, and defense will win championships."
Mason turned a simple checkdown into a 64-yard touchdown to give the Raiders a 31-7 early in the second quarter.
"That was a big play, and everyone was able to feed off that play," Mason said. "It's just an amazing feeling to win this game with my team."
Ryan Retzlaff had five catches for 117 yards, and Matt Retzlaff had five receptions for 107 yards for Southern Oregon.

Wisconsin-Whitewater: 2014-15 NCAA Division III Football Champions

SALEM, Va. -- Matt Behrendt was the overshadowed quarterback again. Until they played the game.
The Wisconsin-Whitewater senior threw for 365 yards and four touchdowns, and the Warhawks continued their mastery of Mount Union in the NCAA Division III championship game with a 43-34 victory Friday night.
The Warhawks (15-0) extended their winning streak to 32 games, the longest in the nation, and beat the Purple Raiders for the sixth time in the past seven meetings -- all in the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl.
Behrendt finished 26-for-38 with two interceptions and was named the most outstanding player for the second year in a row, both times after outplaying Kevin Burke, the Purple Raiders' two-time Gagliardi Trophy- winning quarterback.
"I love it," Behrendt said about getting championships over player of the year awards. "Especially for the team to have these two national championships. You can't ever take them away. There's nothing more important than that."
Behrendt had plenty of help. Jake Kumerow caught eight passes for 130 yards and a score, Jordan Ratliffe ran for 116 yards on 24 carries, and Dennis Moore ran for 74 yards and caught two passes for 108 and a critical touchdown.
Mount Union (14-1), the winner of 11 national titles, was appearing in the game for the 10th consecutive season and arrived having changed up some things up on defense after a 52-14 loss to the Warhawks last year in the title game.
On the field, however, Whitewater trailed for only one play all night, at 31-30 in the third quarter.
On the first play after falling behind, Behrendt hit Moore with a screen pass, and Moore found his blockers, cut back across the field and took it 75 yards for a touchdown, restoring the Warhawks' lead to 37-31.
"We had a lot of good blocking downfield," Moore said. "We took advantage of it, called it at the perfect time, had a lot of good blocking and the rest is history."
It was fun to watch, Behrendt said, after dumping the ball off.
"That was the difference-maker," he said. "That play was huge."
The defense had a big hand in things, too.
Burke was 25-for-47 for 323 yards and three touchdowns, but after he arrived at his final college game with 49 touchdown passes and just five interceptions through 14 games, the Warhawks' defense picked him off four times.
"It's football," Purple Raiders safety Alex Kocheff said. "Somebody's got to step up and make a play, and they made a play and we didn't."
The victory sent coach Lance Leipold out in style. He has accepted the job at Buffalo, and finishes eight years with the Warhawks with a 109-6 record and, remarkably, as many national championships as losses in his career.
Mount Union coach Vince Kehres fell to 28-2 as a coach, both losses to the Warhawks in the Stagg Bowl.
"Every time you lose it hurts," he said.
Trailing 30-14 at halftime, Mount Union came out looking more like the team that averaged better than 60 points this season, and Burke looked more like the first two-time player of the year.
He led a 67-yard drive finished off with a 29-yard scoring pass to Roman Namdar and, when the Warhawks couldn't get anything going, a 79-yard drive capped by Logan Nemeth's 3-yard run that made it 30-28.
Behrendt hit Kumerow in the hands on the next drive, and the ball went through his hands and into those of cornerback Tre Jones, who returned it to the 17. The defense held from there, and Edward Ruhnke kicked a 29-yard field goal.
Before halftime, Mount Union made mistakes it hadn't made all year.
For the second year in a row, Brady Grayvold intercepted Burke's pass and returned it for a touchdown, making it 20-7.
That made it 20-7, and Mount Union answered quickly. Burke led the team on a nine-play, 75-yard drive that he finished off with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Taurice Scott, Burke's 51st TD pass of the season.
Just as quickly as he seemed to have righted the ship, the Purple Raiders unraveled.
With less than two minutes left in the half, Mount Union called timeout and forced a punt. The Purple Riders took over at their 10, and on the first play, Burke threw to Scott, who was stripped of the ball by Marcus McLin, who also recovered at the 17. One play later, Behrendt hit Kumerow for a sliding touchdown.
Undaunted, the Purple Raiders had Burke throw deep after the ensuing kickoff, and McLin intercepted it and returned it 26 yards to the 28. Four plays later, Lake Bacher's 23-yard field goal made it 30-14.
Behrendt led touchdown drives on the Warhawks' first two possessions. He hit Justin Howard from 12 yards and Ricky Finco from 7 to make it 13-0 with 2:55 to play in the opening quarter.