Florence, Ala. Northwest Missouri State set the very Division II record it was trying to avoid, thanks to a late touchdown by Valdosta State.
Michael Terry scored with 22 seconds left, and Valdosta State beat Northwest Missouri, 25-20, Saturday, making the Bearcats the first team to lose three consecutive D-II title games.
Terry's one-yard TD run capped an eight-play, 37-yard drive sparked by Willie Copeland's four straight completions for 27 yards. Valdosta (13-1) overcame a 14-3 halftime deficit in dropping Northwest Missouri to 12-2.
"I don't know if words can describe the disappointment that I feel for these guys," Bearcats coach Mel Tjeerdsma said. "They've done a great job, and we've had a great run. They got beat by a very good football team."
Valdosta State's William Montford intercepted a desperation pass by Joel Osborn with 16 seconds left to preserve the win, and Blazer fans swarmed the field, soggy after a cold rainstorm blew through.
"We had a four-game playoff run, and in every game we played we were either behind at the half or tied," said first-year Valdosta State coach David Dean. "Our kids never panicked; you never felt like they were out of the game."
Valdosta made its first trip to the championship since 2004, when it beat Pittsburg State 36-31.
Wisconsin-Whitewater 31, Mount Union 21
Salem, Va. - Justin Beaver, the Gagliardi Trophy winner as the best player in Division III, overcame a costly fumble with his normal reliability on the ground Saturday, leading the Warhawks in the soggy, cold Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl.
Wisconsin-Whitewater won its first national title after losing 35-28 to Mount Union in the 2005 championship game and 35-16 in the rematch last year.
Wisconsin-Whitewater ended Mount Union's 37-game winning streak, and deprived the Purple Raiders of their 10th national title in the last 15 years.