Rowan, Wisconsin-La Crosse Meet For Division III Title
SALEM, Va. (AP) _ Rowan’s loss in the 1993 NCAA Division III title game is the tool coach K.C. Keeler is using to motivate the Profs on Saturday against Wisconsin-La Crosse in this year’s Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl.
``It’s definitely the driving force, the memories of being there,″ Keeler said. ``I guess it’s a sickness I have. I want to do this so bad.″
Besides, he figures it’s Rowan’s turn since Wisconsin-La Crosse (13-0) won the Stagg Bowl in 1992 by defeating Washington & Jefferson. That made the Eagles the first team in college football history to win championships in NAIA Division II and NCAA Division III.
To win Saturday, Keeler said his defense will have to put pressure on Eagles quarterback Craig Kusick, who was named Wednesday to the American Football Coaches Association Division III All-America team.
Kusick has the school record for touchdown passes in a career with 48 and is second for career passing with 4,767 yards. This year, he’s completed 204 of 332 passes for 3,003 yards and 27 touchdowns.
``We can’t let him stay in the pocket,″ Keeler said. ``He has great vision and excellent receivers.″
The best is Troy Harcey, who has 73 receptions for 1,119 yards and nine touchdowns.
Leading the defense for Rowan (10-2-1) is LeRoi Jones, a linebacker who has had 136 tackles and four sacks and also was named to the All-America team.
Rowan quarterback Greg Lister has passed for 2,223 yards with 170 completions in 306 attempts (55.6 percent) and 24 touchdowns.
Lister’s favorite targets are Gantry Fox, who has 42 receptions and 595 yards, and Priest Ramsey. Ramsey, a transfer from Penn State, has 33 receptions for 641 yards and nine touchdowns. In postseason games, he’s averaged 74 yards receiving and 20 yards per catch.
Eugene Foster leads Rowan in rushing with 888 yards and seven touchdowns while averaging more than five yards per carry.
Rowan, located in Glassboro, N.J., has made it to the Division III tournament four times in five years, losing the title game to Mount Union in 1993. In three playoff games this year, the Profs have held opponents to an average of 127 yards, including minus-3 yards rushing per game.
But Rowan had to beat Montclair State in the final regular-season game to make the playoffs this year.
Wisconsin-La Crosse, which has had 26 consecutive winning seasons, has the third-longest winning streak currently in the NCAA at 13. Nebraska has won 24 in a row and North Alabama has won 22 in a row in Division II.