Div III Semifinals: Mount Union 28, Wesley 21
ALLIANCE, Ohio (AP)
Matt Piloto and Isaiah Scott got Mount Union back into the title game.
Piloto threw four touchdown passes, Scott had three interceptions - and Mount Union is heading to the Division III championship game for the 15th time.
The No. 2 Purple Raiders (14-0) held off Wesley 28-21 Saturday to advance to the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl for the seventh consecutive year, facing either defending champion Wisconsin-Whitewater or St. Thomas (Minn.).
''Since losing last year, we've set our goal to get back to the Stagg Bowl,'' Piloto said. ''Not just to get there, but to win.''
Wesley (12-2) nearly got there for the first time, but couldn't hold a lead. The Wolverines lost two fumbles and were intercepted four times.
''You can't win with six turnovers,'' said Wesley quarterback Shane McSweeny, who passed for 350 yards and kept giving the seventh-ranked Wolverines opportunities.
''He is really a great player,'' said Mount Union coach Larry Kehres, who earned his 317th win.
Kehres is more concerned with winning his 11th national title, first since beating Wisconsin-Whitewater in 2008.
He wasn't happy with trailing at halftime 14-13, after McSweeny and other Wesley players got additional yardage as the Purple Raiders missed tackles.
''We had to adjust to the speed of their players,'' Kehres said. ''They were making us miss.''
The Wolverines had two chances to extend their lead, but Scott had an interception in the end zone and Wesley then missed a field-goal attempt just before halftime. Mount Union had a field-goal attempt blocked on the final play of the half.
Wesley fumbled on its first two possessions of the third quarter. Mount Union turned both into scores and a 28-14 lead.
Piloto passed 4 yards to A.J. Claycomb and added a 2-point conversion pass to Jesper Collins. Less than five minutes later, Piloto found Collins for an 18-yard score.
Collins also scored on passes of 26 and 31 yards in the first half.
Meanwhile, Scott picked off three passes and hit a receiver to force another by Alex Ferrara.
''I only count two of them,'' Kehres said. ''That first one, he ran around so much I couldn't figure out where he was going.''
''We felt good, but had to maintain focus,'' Wesley coach Mike Drass said. ''We kept playing hard, but didn't limit our mistakes. We made a couple good plays in the second half on defense, but didn't keep them out of the end zone.''
Mount Union's Jeremy Murray gained 120 yards, the first runner to surpass 100 yards against the Wolverines this year.
Matt Barile caught seven passes for 238 yards, including touchdowns of 70 and 81 yards for Wesley, which also lost to Mount Union in the 2009 semifinals. The Wolverines, in the playoffs for the seventh time, had run off 11 consecutive wins since losing to Kean 31-28 on Sept. 10.
McSweeny completed 19 of 33 passes for 350 yards. Piloto went 23 of 35 for 271 yards and was picked off twice.
Mount Union improved to 167-6 overall since 2000. Since 1990, the Purple Raiders are 163-1 when winning the turnover margin.