Think Alabama's been dominant? Mount Union, the D3 powerhouse in Ohio, is also 7-0. But the Purple Raiders are winning by an average score of 55-1. Larry Kehres' team leads the nation in scoring offense, scoring defense and in kickoff returns. This weekend, the Purple Raiders will face their toughest test of the season, against 7-0 Heidelberg, the nation's No. 14 team. Heidelberg's coached by Mount Union product Mike Hallett, a captain on Mount's first national title team (1993). With a nod to D3 football, here are 14 things you should know about mighty Mount Union's run:
1. Kehres name, as his bio notes, is pronounced Care us. Tough to beat that for a coach.
2. His record all-time is a ridiculous 324-24-3. The 63-year-old one-time Mount Union QB went to high school 10 minutes from campus. His son Vince is Mount's defensive coordinator.
3. Last weekend, the elder Kehres passed Bear Bryant for fourth all-time on the career coaching victory list with 324. He trails only John Gagliardi (487); Eddie Robinson (408) and Bobby Bowden (377). "The guy's a master in keeping people on top of their game," says Hallett of Kehres. "He's very flexible and adaptable in what he does."
4. Since 2000, Mount Union is 174-7.
5. Mount Union has a few connections to the NFL. Kehres' former roommate at Mount is Green Bay Packers DC Dom Capers. Two of the Purple Raiders recent standouts Pierre Garcon and Cecil Shorts are both NFL receivers.
6. Even though Kehres' teams have won a jaw-dropping 10 of the past 18 D3 national titles, Mount's senior class is trying to avoid becoming the first recruiting class to not win at least one national title in their college careers since the 1989 recruiting class. This group of seniors has been to the past three D3 national title games but lost all three.
7. The school has 2,200 students and 200 play on the football team. Mount Union doesn't cut anyone.
8. Mount's QB, Kevin Burke, is a first-year starter. Burke led his high school team past Braxton Miller's team for the Ohio State Division I title. Burke who visited Heidelberg, was considering walking on at some MAC schools before opting to play for the Purple Raiders. The sophomore is No. 2 in the nation in passing efficiency. His size was a deterrent to many college recruiters. "We list him at 5-10," said Mount SID Lenny Reich. "He's 5-10 on his tippy toes."
9. Mount's best player is senior safety Nick Driskill, who on Wednesday was announced by the National Football Foundation as a member of the 15-man 2012 NFF Scholar-Athlete Class, joining the likes of Matt Barkley, Barrett Jones and Manti Te'o among others. Driskill has a 3.77 GPA; leads the team in tackles and has 11 TFLs. The 5-10, 205-pound senior fell through the cracks in the recruiting process because of his lack of prototype size, but don't be surprised if he makes an NFL roster. "The guy plays exceptionally fast and has great instincts," says Hallett, who has seen plenty of Driskill on game film.
10. The only points scored on Mount Union this season came against No. 13 Franklin in a 45-7 rout in the season opener.
11. A few weeks ago, an opponent, trailing 63-0, rushed out its' field goal team as time was about to expire to try and avoid the shutout. The kick sailed wide.
12. In 2007, the Purple Raiders also had strung together six consecutive shutouts as part of the seven they notched for the 2007 season. That year Mount Union lost in the national title game.
13. Mount Union has won 63 straight at home and 70 straight regular-season games. The Purple Raiders last loss in season was to Ohio Northern back in 2005. Ohio Northern was coached by another Mount Union alum.
14. This week's test for Mount Union comes from another alum, Hallett and his Heidelberg team that are on an 11-game winning streak and are led by the nation's No. 3 rusher, Cartel Brooks, a 195-pound sophomore with sub-4.5 speed. "We just have to go play our game," says Hallett. "We can't worry about that other stuff."