SALEM, Va. — Quarterback Matt O’Connell said Mount Union’s ability to capitalize on opportunities during Friday’s 40th annual Stagg Bowl guided it to a 28-10 victory over St. Thomas.
The Tommies (14-1) came into Friday riding a 14-game winning streak and were making their first appearance in the NCAA championship game. But on this night, the Purple Raiders’ (15-0) offense proved to be too strong, allowing them to capture their 11th title since 1993.
“We’re pretty crushed,” coach Glenn Caruso said. “We all wanted this very, very badly and we worked tirelessly and selflessly to do so, and we failed tonight.”
On a crisp December evening, with 6,027 in attendance and fireworks overhead, a contagious energy percolated throughout Salem Stadium.
Mount Union, known for its quick strike offense, used that energy on its first possession of the game. Quarterback and the Stagg Bowl’s Most Outstanding Player Kevin Burke orchestrated a seven-play drive covering 82 yards ending with a 1-yard dart into the end zone by running back Jake Simon.
Jesse Krull can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.