“Dream Matchup” of undefeated teams this Friday night for last Stagg Bowl at Salem Stadium

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PHOTO BY MIKE STEVENS

The 24th and final Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl at Salem Stadium will have a fitting matchup Friday night. The first school to win the game in Salem, back in 1993, will be taking on the last team to win it.

The University of Mount Union, who has played in 19 of 24 previous Stagg Bowls in Salem, will take on Mary Hardin-Baylor, who won it last year. Mount Union has won the Division III championship in Salem a dozen times while last year was a first for the Cru, who made it to the championship game in 2004 but lost to Linfield.

Both teams come into the game with 14-0 records following Division III tournament semifinal wins last weekend. Mount Union overcame a 25-point, third-quarter deficit and pulled out a 43-40 win over UW-Oshkosh at J. J. Keller Field at Titan Stadium in Oshkosh.

UW-Oshkosh (12-1) extended its lead to 35-10 on a 43-yard touchdown run by Mitch Gerhartz with 6:34 left in the third quarter, but Mount Union (14-0) answered with touchdowns on five consecutive possessions, reclaiming the lead on a 1-yard scoring run by Jawanza Evans-Morris that provided the final score with 5:41 remaining in the game.

UW-Oshkosh reached the Purple Raiders’ 28-yard line on the final drive of the game, but Titan Turner Geisthardt was short on a potential game-tying 46-yard field goal attempt as time expired.

Mount Union was ranked third in the nation by D3football.com, and Mary Hardin-Baylor comes in as the top ranked team. The Cru won their 29th consecutive game and punched a return trip to the national championship game with another stifling defensive effort as they rolled to a 24-0 victory against 10th ranked Brockport in the other semifinal in Texas. UMHB has allowed just 16 points in the Division III tournament.

This will be the final year for the Stagg Bowl at Salem Stadium, as it moves to locations in Texas and Ohio in the coming years. Game time is 7 pm Friday and tickets are now on sale at the Salem Civic Center box office.