Looking Back: Laker-Sioux Bowl II

GVSU was looking for the repeat in 2003, when they again met up with the Fighting Sioux. It wasn't just a second title, it was also revenge on the line for the loss UND handed the Lakers in the 2001 championship game.

December 13, 2003
2 years later, North Dakota and Grand Valley met up again for their second installment of the fan-named "Laker-Sioux Bowl" and it was again to decide the Division II National Championship.

It was the epitome of what the UND/GVSU rivalry all about. Defense.

While the first game in 2001 was mauled by damp weather and sub par field conditions, this episode was all about tenacious defense and determined performances.

As in the first game, one of the teams took the opening drive for a score, but this time the tables were turned as it was the Lakers who took the kickoff and drove 79 yards in an astounding 17 plays while eating up 7 and a half minutes of the clock until their drive stalled on North Dakota's goal-line. Dave Hendrix converted the 19-yard field goal to give GVSU the early 3-0 lead.

Also much like the 2001 version, a long period of no scoring occurred until GVSU again got on the board when Michael Tennessee gave the Lakers a 10-0 lead when he punched it in on the goal-line with 9:15 remaining in the 3rd quarter. The drive started when the Laker defense buckled down on the Sioux and QB John Bowenkamp, sacking the quarterback and forcing the fumble. Lucius Hawkins picked the ball up and went 59 yards down to the North Dakota 20-yard line. 4 plays later, Tennessee was in the endzone.

On the next series, the Sioux drove the ball into Laker territory before lining up for a 43-yard field goal. On the approach however, Jeff Glas slipped, and Laker All-American Keyonta Marshall got a hand on the ball, forcing the miss. It was Glas' second missed field goal of the game, as he missed a 46-yard attempt in the first quarter.

With 9:47 remaining in the game, the Sioux finally put some points on the board when Glas' hit a 35-yard field goal to make it a 10-3 game.

On the ensuing drive, the Lakers drove down the field, but left North Dakota in the game when Dave Hendrix missed a 43-yard field goal with 3:54 remaining in the game.

North Dakota took possession and began a solid drive, much like 2001, which saw the Sioux get the decisive score with 29 seconds remaining in the game. After driving to the Laker 17-yard line, the Sioux downed the ball on first down, then attempted to 2 passes, one into the endzone. The Laker defense held though, forcing incompletions on both attempts.

On 4th down, Bowenkamp tried grooving a pass to a Sioux receiver down the middle of the field, but linebacker Mike Hoad stepped in front of the ball and intercepted the pass to preserve the 2nd consecutive Division II National Championship for the Lakers.

Freshman quarterback Cullen Finnerty led the Laker offense, completing 19 of 29 passes for 149 yards, and also rushing for 78 yards on 19 carries. Michael Tennessee, the only touchdown for the Lakers, had 38 yards on 12 carries.

North Dakota was led by Bowenkamp, who went 28 for 41 for 281 yards. However, he also had the telling stat in the game...one interception.

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