NFF Presents Divisional Championship Trophies at AFCA Convention

National Football Foundation

IRVING, Texas (Jan. 12, 2015) – In front of more than 1,500 coaches at the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Annual Convention, NFF Director of Membership Ron Dilatush today presented the National Football Foundation’s divisional national championship trophies to the coaches of the 2014 winning teams at the Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville, Ky.

“Each year at the AFCA convention, the NFF presents the championship trophies to the coaches who have taken their teams to the pinnacle of success,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “It is fitting that we present the trophies in front of their peers, the very people who know the commitment, dedication and effort that goes into winning a national championship. We are extremely proud to join with AFCA Executive Director Grant Teaff, a member of the NFF Board and a College Football Hall of Fame Coach, to continue this tradition of honoring the nation’s most successful coaches each year at the convention.”

NCAA Football Championship Subdivision – John F. Kennedy Trophy – North Dakota State University – Chris Klieman
Under first-year head coach Chris Klieman, North Dakota State (15-1) became the first team to win four straight FCS championships with a thrilling 29-27 victory over Missouri Valley Conference foe Illinois State (13-2) in front of a sold out crowd on Jan. 10 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas. The game was the first time two teams from the same conference had played for the FCS crown, and the win gives the Bison, who joined the FCS in 2004, their 12th national championship across all divisions. Quarterback Carson Wentz, who finished with 237 passing yards and a passing touchdown, provided North Dakota State’ fourth-quarter heroics, running five yards for the winning touchdown with 37 seconds remaining in the game. Bison wide out RJ Urzendowski racked up 100 receiving yards and running back John Crockett ran for 74 yards and a touchdown. NDSU kicker Adam Keller knocked in three field goals, breaking the FCS single-season record for kickers with 145 points. Linebacker Esley Thorton, a 2014 William V. Campbell Trophy semifinalist, sealed the title with an interception at the NDSU 45 with eight seconds left.

NCAA Division II – Asa S. Bushnell Trophy – Colorado State University-Pueblo – Coach John Wristen
Coach John Wristen and Colorado State-Pueblo (14-1) claimed the school’s first Division II title Dec. 20, blanking Minnesota State-Mankato (14-1), 13-0, in Kansas City, Kan. Two-time Gene Upshaw Award winner Darius Allen posted eight tackles and 1.5 sacks, leading a ThunderWolves defense that allowed just 265 yards of total offense. Colorado State-Pueblo quaterback Chris Bonner, a William V. Campbell Trophy semifinalist, completed 17-of-30 pass attempts for 191 yards and one touchdown. Running back Cameron McDondle carried the ball 28 times for 113 yards, his 11th 100-yard game in the last 12 games. The shutout was the first in the national title game since 1997 when Northern Colorado defeated New Haven, 51-0.

NCAA Division III – Amos Alonzo Stagg Trophy – University of Wisconsin-Whitewater – Coach Lance Leipold
Coach Lance Leipold and Wisconsin-Whitewater (15-0) returned to the top of the Division III ranks in 2014, defeating Mount Union (Ohio) (14-1) 43-34 on Dec. 19 in Salem, Va. Leipold, who will take over as the head coach at FBS school Buffalo next season, finishes his career at Wisconsin-Whitewater with an astounding 109-6 record, including a 34-1 mark in NCAA Division III postseason play. The two schools have met nine times in the Stagg Bowl in the last decade, and the Warhawks have won their last five meetings against the Purple Raiders in the title game, giving them a 6-3 edge in the now classic rivalry. Wisconsin-Whitewater quarterback Matt Behrendt completed 26-of-38 passes for a career-high 365 yards and four touchdowns. William V. Campbell Trophy Semifinalist Brady Grayvold posted a team-high eight tackles and returned an interception for a touchdown in the second quarter that extended the Warhawks lead to 20-7. The Raiders scored 17 unanswered points in the third quarter to take a 31-30 lead, but on the ensuing possession, Behrendt threw a 75-yard scoring strike to Dennis Moore on the first play to take the lead for good.

NAIA – Dwight D. Eisenhower Trophy – Southern Oregon University – Coach Craig Howard
Coach Craig Howard claimed Southern Oregon’s first national title with a commanding 55-31 victory against Marian (Ind.) on Dec. 19 in Daytona Beach, Fla. The Raiders (13-2) leaned on running back Melvin Mason, who rushed for 56 yards on 17 carries with three touchdowns and hauled in a 64-yard touchdown pass. Marian (11-3) struggled to keep possession, throwing six interceptions, including one which was run back 54 yards for a touchdown by Julius Rucker. NAIA Player of the Year and Raiders quarterback Austin Dodge completed 21-of-39 passes for 429 yards and three touchdowns. The 24-point margin was the largest in a championship game since 1995.

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