This college football weekend was quite a thrill ride from coast to coast, with undefeated teams Clemson, Michigan and Washington all suffering their first loss of the regular season. There was another incredible upset in Division III, too, where Mount Union saw its 112-game winning streak in regular-season play come to a surprising end.
Let’s face it going undefeated in the regular season is incredibly tough to do even for the best teams in the country (yes, even you, Alabama). That makes the Purple Raiders’ unbelievable streak even more remarkable, and what makes its end even more significant.
The Alliance, Ohio school’s regular-season victory streak, ended by John Carroll (that’s a school, not a single man), started on October 22, 2005. As a result, the Blue Streaks celebrated their first Ohio Athletic Conference championship in 22 years. When Mount Union is racking up so many victories, conference titles are tough to come by!
— John Carroll U (@JohnCarrollU) November 12, 2016
The win guaranteed John Carroll a spot in the D3 playoffs, but Mount Union will now play the role of the at-large team nobody will want to face. The Purple Raiders will start their playoff campaign at Hobart next Saturday.
A lot has happened since Mount Union’s incredible streak started. Nick Saban was a head coach of the Miami Dolphins and not even close to rejecting rumors of leaving the NFL to coach at Alabama. Just think about that. Heck, the Cubs won a World Series before Mount Union lost a regular-season game since this streak started. So did the White Sox! And the Phillies! Barack Obama hadn’t even been heard of by the common American when this streak started. And we were only up to PlayStation 2 at the time! Yeah, we have come a long way in between Mount Union regular season losses.
For the sake of comparison, Oklahoma owns the longest Division 1 winning streak with a 47-game winning streak from 1953-57. North Dakota State owns the longest winning streak among FCS programs with a 33-game streak from 2012 through 2014. It’s worth noting those streaks include postseason games. Regardless, neither school came anywhere close to sniffing Mount Union’s incredible run.
Mount Union has found postseason success, too. They’ve played for the past 11 Division III national championships, winning five of them since 2005 (including this past year’s), and 12 since 1993. They are the Alabama of Division 3, for those unaware of the small-school success of the Purple Raiders. As the dominant force in D3, Mount Union had been tough to beat. The only school with much success against them over that run has been Wisconsin-Whitewater, who has faced Mount Union in the Division III national championship game nine times since 2005, winning six times.
Mount Union’s 112-game winning streak is amazing, but the Purple Raiders had also won 222 of 223 regular season games dating back to 1994 before losing on Saturday. So cherish this moment in college football history, because it could be another decade when it comes around again.