Greensburg Catholic grad Mahoney, Mount Union fall short of national title
College Football Videos
During his three full football seasons at the University of Mount Union, Jeannette native Pat Mahoney, the team's starting right guard, has lost only two games.
Both came against the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl (the NCAA Division III national championship game), including a 52-14 loss last Friday. It was Mount Union's worst loss since a 48-0 shutout to Wittenburg in 1974.
“They were a really good team,” Mahoney, a Greensburg Central Catholic graduate, said of Whitewater. “They were a lot better than I expected. Their front seven on defense was really good.”
The Purple Raiders, who finish 14-1, kept it close early, trailing just 21-14 at halftime, before four second half turnovers allowed Whitewater to open up the game. Whitewater quarterback Matt Behrendt was the star of the game, throwing four touchdown passes; the Warhawks' defense was also stellar in shutting down the usually explosive Mount Union offense.
“We had some problems getting the running game going and we had some problems with turnovers,” said Mahoney. “Fumbles and interceptions, those kinds of things starting going wrong for us.”
Mount Union — which has a Division III record 11 national titles to its credit — is not a team that's used to losing. In fact, this was the team's first loss since the 2011 Stagg Bowl, also against Whitewater. The two schools have become big rivals.
Like Mount Union, Whitewater is a Division III national power — winning the national title in five of the past seven years. The two teams have met in the championship game eight times in the past nine years, with Mount Union taking the crown in 2005, 2006 and 2008 and Whitewater claiming the title in 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011 and this year.
Uncharacteristically, Whitewater missed the playoffs last season, when Mount Union won the national title by beating St. Thomas.
It's those two recent losses to Whitewater that are fueling Mahoney and his teammates.
“This loss will motivate us even more, especially the guys in my class,” said Mahoney. “It's the only two losses we've had in our careers, and we want to beat them. I have no doubt we'll see them again next year in the finals, or earlier in the playoffs. Beating them would be a great way to go out in my senior year.”
While the pain of the loss is still fresh, Mahoney said and his teammates are proud of what was a very impressive season. Mount Union put to rest any thought that the program would take a step back after Larry Kehres — who had been the head coach for the previous 27 years — retired after last season's national title. His son and longtime assistant, Vince Kehres, took over and the program didn't miss a beat.
“Our coach (Vince Kehres) said after that game that he is really proud of what we accomplished,” said Mahoney. “He said, ‘you did what a lot of people didn't think you would do.' A lot of people didn't realize this is our rebuilding year, and we still ended up in the national championship game. That speaks a lot about what we accomplished and what we achieved.”
For Mahoney, there was some extra individual gratification in this season, his first as a starter.
“That makes it that much better, knowing each win I started and made a difference,” he said. “The wins mean more now.”
Brian Knavish is a contributing writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- IUP races to spot in Division II championship game
- Munhall’s Strom helps Cal (Pa.) rise to the top
- Former Kittanning hockey players raise bar at UPJ
- Soccer career continues for Springdale grad Weimerskirch
- Transfers have helped IUP men advance to D-II Elite Eight
- Cal (Pa.) women reach D-II championship game
- California dreamin’ ... of national title