The teams will play for the record sixth consecutive season in the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl, with the winner leaving Salem, Va., Saturday as the Division III national champion.
Familiarity with the high stakes, it seems, breeds comfort.
Wisconsin-Whitewater (14-0) won last year, 38-28. The Warhawks also won the title in 2007, and have won 29 games in a row _ and 56 of 59 _ under fourth-year coach Lance Leipold.
Still, they were not even the top seed in their region of the tournament this year, and had to win at North Central two weeks ago, and then at Wesley last week, to get here.
“I think we have a little chip on our shoulder playing,” wide receiver Aaron Rusch said. “Whether we’re on the road or at home, we’ll be giving it our all and I know we’ll be well prepared. … We’re here now and we’ll do what we can to get a win on Saturday.”
The Purple Raiders (14-0) have also won 10 national championships under Kehres.
The similarities don’t end there, either.
Mount Union leads the nation in total defense, allowing just 197 yards per game, and scoring defense, allowing 7.4 points per game. Whitewater isn’t far behind, ranking seventh in total defense (241 yards per game) and fourth in scoring defense (11.1 points per game).
Both teams also earned their way to Salem behind backup quarterbacks.
The Warhawks lost their starter, Matt Blanchard, in their regular-season finale, and have used sophomore Lee Brekke throughout the playoffs. Blanchard, with 20 touchdowns and just one interception, could have played last week, but Leipold isn’t sure he’ll make the change.View Entire Story
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