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Wisconsin-Whitewater tops old rival

2014 Division III Football

Wisconsin-Whitewater players hoist the national championship trophy. ANDRES ALONSO / NCAA PHOTOS

University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and University of Mount Union played for the Division III NCAA Football Championship for the ninth time in 10 years. While neither side wants to bring it up out of respect for its opponent, the two most dominant football programs in the division also play for the championship of each other.

This year’s matchup had extra spice because it marked the last time Wisconsin-Whitewater coach Lance Leipold took part. Leipold, who took the head coaching job of Division I Football Bowl Subdivision member Buffalo before the Division III playoffs concluded, received a going-away gift from his team as the Warhawks downed Mount Union, 43-34.

Wisconsin-Whitewater has now won six of the nine times they’ve met the Purple Raiders in the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl, including winning the last five in a row over Mount Union. Leipold ended his reign at his alma mater with a 109-6 record (.948) in eight years. In his typical style, he deflected the attention from himself and put it on the football program as a whole.

“All the championships are pretty special, and I know this one will be a very special one,” Leipold told ESPN after the championship game. “This is for the players and I couldn’t be happier for them to go out this way.”

Mount Union entered the Stagg Bowl 14-0 and had never trailed in a game all season. Wisconsin-Whitewater, 15-0 and on a 32-game winning streak, wanted its opponent to experience a deficit early and elected to take the ball after winning the coin toss. Instead, the Warhawks jumped to a 13-0 lead in the first quarter and eventually won the game, which featured big momentum swings.

“Mount Union is very explosive,” Leipold said. “As long as we stayed aggressive and had a chance to make plays, we would match them punch for punch.”

The REsults

2014 Division III Football

CHAMPIONSHIP
Wisconsin-Whitewater 43, Mount Union 34

SEMIFINALS
Wisconsin-Whitewater 20, Linfield 14
Mount Union 70, Wesley 21

ELITE 89 HONOREE
Hank Spencer, Mount Union

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