The Division 3 championship features two very familiar teams, set to face off in the “Stagg Bowl” this Friday on national television. The audience will be mostly comprised of bargoers watching TVs that are pre-set to ESPNU, and of course, weird people like me who enjoy watching Division 3 football.
Believe it or not, these two teams have faced each other in 9 of the past 10 championship games. That’s insane. It has also bred actual hatred between the opposing fanbases. Let’s take a look at both teams and what they’ve gone through to make it to get here.
Mount Union (14-0)
Mount Union’s most impressive stat is their average margin of victory. They’ve won games by an average of 51 points per game. They rank #1 in scoring offense (60.3 points) and #2 in scoring defense (9.3 points). They also ranked #1 in total offense (595.2 YPG) and #3 in total defense (239.6 YPG allowed). They’re not a passing team, or a running team, running some air raid or triple option scheme, but rather a well-balanced attack, that’s just good at all aspects of the game. Kevin Burke at QB is the most notable standout, breaking the 4000 passing yards mark, averaging 10.1 yards per pass attempt, and the highest pass efficiency in Division 3 (187.7). He also has 65% completions, 49 TDs, 5 INTs.
Mount Union is also better than a lot of teams you might know. Some hypothetical lines if these teams played on a neutral field:
Mount Union -1 vs New Hampshire (#1 Division 1 FCS Playoff Seed )
Mount Union -1 vs Kansas
Mount Union -7 vs Bowling Green (Played in MAC Championship)
Mount Union -20 vs SMU (worst FBS school)
Mount Union -62 vs Davidson (worst FCS school)
UW Whitewater (14-0)
Whitewater has won their games by an average of under 30 points. Jeez, get with the program, guys. Matt Behrendt at QB is definitely the standout with 3300 passing yards and ranking #6 in pass efficiency. Whitewater has not had as prolfiic of an individual runner, so they have relied more on the passing game.
|Team||YPG||Opp YPG||YPG Margin|
|St. John Fisher||455.5||268.6||186.9|
Division 3 football is so lopsided it’s stupid. It’s mostly these teams’ fault, but still. A glance at the Top 20 shows us that these 2 teams are a world apart from the rest of the competition. The #1 team would be a 68 point favorite against the #10 team on a neutral field.
Tier 1: Mount Union, UW-Whitewater – In a leagure of their own, UW is an 18+ favorite against anyone else, and Mount Union is a 40+ point favorite over anyone else. That’s nuts.
Tier 2: Linfield, Wesley, John Carroll, Wartburg, Mary Hardin-Baylor – These are the teams that occasionally give the top 2 teams fits. John Carroll almost beat Mount Union, playing a close game against them twice. John Carroll also has a total of 22 blocked punts and kicks (!!!!) this season. So on average, if you go to one of their games, you can expect to to see them block at least one of each.
|St. Johns MN||37|
|St John Fisher||35|