Last weekend, the UW-Whitewater Warhawks proved their mettle by beating fifth-ranked Mary Hardin-Baylor in the Division III national semifinals. On Saturday, the team plays the top-ranked Mount Union Purple Raiders in the title game. It starts at 10 a.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN2.
Whitewater enters the game as the defending champion, having upended Mount Union, 31-21, in the 2007 Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl. But the Purple Raiders have won nine of the 11 Division III title games they've appeared in since 1993, including wins against Whitewater in 2005 and 2006.
Mount Union's chief weapon is tailback Nate Kmic, who rolled up 310 yards last week to become college football's most prolific rusher of all time, with 7,986 career yards and 129 touchdowns. By comparison, Ron Dayne, who holds the Division I-A career rushing record, compiled 7,125 yards and 71 touchdowns while at Wisconsin.
Whitewater is led by quarterback Jeff Donovan, a 6'5" junior from Wauwautosa who also hit .308 with 12 home runs for Whitewater's baseball team last spring. He's joined in the backfield by sophomore tailback Antwan Anderson, a Madison Memorial grad who rushed for 106 yards and a touchdown last week.
The Stagg Bowl doesn't deserve the apathy shown by the college football media, who prefer to spend December assailing the excesses of the Bowl Championship Series. Shouldn't they spend a little time celebrating teams like Whitewater and Mount Union, which have managed to build excellent programs without the largesse seen in the big-school division?