Before moving on to greener pastures in the NCAA's FBS, Wisconsin-Whitewater head coach Lance Leipold had some unfinished business to attend to.
Winning a sixth NCAA Division III championship, that is.
Behind senior quarterback Matt Behrendt's 365 yards and four touchdown passes and a defense that held Mount Union (Ohio) well below its 60-plus points per game average, Leipold's top-ranked Warhawks (15-0) defeated the rival Raiders (14-1) 43-34 to win the 2014 Stagg Bowl in Salem, Virginia.
Behrendt was named the Stagg Bowl Most Outstanding Player for the second consecutive year, and finished the day completing 26 of 38 passes on the day while connecting with nine different receivers. Each of Behrendt's touchdown passes were to different players.
UW-Whitewater built up a sizable 30-14 lead at halftime as they forced Burke to throw two key interceptions that lead to points in the second quarter. Senior cornerback Brady Grayvold intercepted an errant pass and returned it 25 yards for a pick-six and a 20-7 lead, while fellow senior defensive back Marcus McLin hauled in a Burke pass with under a minute left in the second quarter that lead to a Lake Bachar 23-yard field goal to extend the lead to 16 going into the locker room.
McLin, who also recorded six tackles, forced and recovered a key fumble late in the second quarter. That turnover lead to Behrendt hitting senior wide receiver Jake Kumerow for a 17-yard touchdown pass for a 27-14 lead. Kumerow caught eight passes for 130 yards on the evening.
Mount Union would not go down as the runner-up in Division III so lightly, however. The Raiders stormed back with 17 unanswered points, led by Burke, who finished the game 25-for-47 for 323 yards with three touchdown passes and four interceptions.
An Edward Ruhnke 29-yard field goal gave the No. 3 Raiders a 31-30 lead with 5:05 left in the third quarter, but Behrendt and the Warhawks would gain control again the very next offensive play from scrimmage. The senior signal caller hit running back Dennis Moore with a screen pass, and the junior took it 75 yards for a touchdown and a 37-31 lead. Moore finished the game with 74 yards rushing while accumulating 108 receiving yards.
UW-Whitewater never looked back after regaining the lead, as Bachar hit two more field goals -- tying a Stagg Bowl record for number of field goals in a game -- and the celebration was on in Salem.
Leipold, who will move on to coach Buffalo in the MAC, finishes his Whitewater coaching career 109-6 and 32 consecutive wins. He also owns an even more-staggering statistic that shows the dominance of UW-Whitewater football in the past eight years he's been head coach: He' s won as many national championships as he's had losses.