Looking Back: Laker-Sioux Bowl III

It was off to Grand Forks for GVSU, as for the first time in the series, someone had homefield advantage. UND QB John Bowenkamp was back and poised to make a national title run as a senior, but the Lakers had an outstanding freshman receiver. Here is the recap.

November 27, 2004

With the series split 1-1, the Lakers and Fighting Sioux met up for the 3rd time with one team gaining home-field advantage for the first time in the series.

The first year the teams were in the same region, they met up in the Northwest region quarterfinals, to be played at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

Maybe the home-field advantage was the difference in this game.

Again, fans were treated to a typical Grand Valley-North Dakota defensive slugfest.

North Dakota struck first, when the defense stopped the Lakers on a 4th down play in Sioux territory, then drove 54 yards in 11 plays, capping it off with a 28-yard field goal to go up 3-0 with 4 minutes remaining in the first quarter.

In the 2nd quarter, North Dakota threatened again, but Aaron Hein blocked a 43-yard Glas attempt to keep it a 3-0 game.

The Lakers responded in a big way, driving 74 yards in 7 plays, ending with Cullen Finnerty hitting freshman sensation Demonte Collins with a 31 yard touchdown strike with just over a minute left in the half to give the Lakers a 7-3 halftime lead.

With about 6 minutes left in the 3rd quarter, Matt Regnery pinned the Sioux deep in their own territory when Brandon Langston downed his punt on the Sioux's 1-yard line. On the first play from scrimmage, Anthony Adams broke through and took down Sioux running back Adam Roland in the endzone for a Grand Valley safety to go up 9-3.

North Dakota's next drive looked promising when they were threatening in Laker territory, but senior safety DeJuane Boone picked off a pass on GVSU's own 5-yard line to keep the lead and momentum on the Laker sideline.

The Lakers couldn't capitalize on the big play however, and the Sioux got the ball back, driving it into GVSU territory before Jeff Glas put through another field goal early in the 4th quarter, this time from 37 yards out, to make it a 9-6 game with 13:29 remaining.

The Lakers responded in a big way on the ensuing drive, when quarterback Cullen Finnerty found Mr. Do-It-All Brandon Langston on a swing pass and took it the length of the field, 76 yards, to put the Lakers up 15-6. The PAT was botched after a poor snap. The Lakers led by 2 scores with 12:17 left in the game.

The UND offense struck quickly to make it a game again, however. In only 41 seconds, the Sioux went 68 yards, ending with a Brandon Strouth 24-yard touchdown run. UND returned the favor of a missed PAT however, and it was a 15-12 game with 11:29 remaining.

With GV driving, trying to put the game away, the Sioux defense came up big when they sacked Cullen Finnerty and forced a fumble in Laker territory.

North Dakota recovered the fumble, ran some time off the clock, and punched it into the endzone from 2-yards out in the hands of Chris Belmore. The score put the Sioux ahead by a score of 19-15 with 4:59 left in the game, and their defense held tough to secure the victory in front of the home crowd in Grand Forks.

Thus marked the last loss the Grand Valley State University football team has suffered, and the next meeting between these 2 powerhouses would occur sooner rather than later, with the Lakers looking to return the home-field favor.

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