For those of you who missed the recaps, here are our looks back at the UND/GVSU series:
2001 - National Title Game
2003 - National Title Game
2004 - Quarterfinals at UND
2005 - Quarterfinals at GVSU
2006 - Quarterfinals at GVSU
As an era comes to an end, there's lots on the line for both teams. North Dakota wants to ride off into the Division II sunset with their second national title. Grand Valley has a 38-game winning streak on the line and their last loss came at the hands of the Fighting Sioux. You know they don't want the longest current winning streak in college football to end to the same team.
Play-making running back Ryan Chappell was hurt last week, as was his backup...and his backup's backup. Reports said Chappell was on the sideline with crutches at the end of their game against Winona State.
Since then...anonymous reports have said that Chappell has been walking around the UND campus with no crutches, and not even a limp. A well-orchestrated act? We shall see.
UND's offense is very potent, but that plays into the hands of the Laker's stifling defense. The starting defense for the Lakers have given up an average of about 5 points per game. If Chappell can't go or is limited, then that turns the UND offense into being one-dimensional, and Carr will be up to the challenge (no word yet on Brechin's injury that he suffered at Saginaw Valley).
GVSU still has the firepower on offense, and the experience on defense to at least earn them a trip to the regional final, however. North Dakota's defense this season is good, but not as good as recent years.
Grand Valley - 38
North Dakota - 17
Don't underestimate UND and don't underestimate what a rivalry and the playoffs will do for a team. We saw it a few weeks back with Saginaw Valley played the Lakers tough.
Of course, the injuries at running back with be very key for the Fighting Sioux. Being one dimensional in any capacity against this defense is not a recipe for success. Plus, the strength of the D has been the pass defense. Even if Bill Brechin can't go, a UND team forced to put the ball in the air plays right into GVSU's hands.
On the other side of the ball, I think GVSU's athletes will take over the game. It is Brad Iciek's first playoff start, but he's been calm, cool and efficient in every contest this season, I can't see the playoff jitters affecting him too much and as usual, the hogs up front will take care of business. But this one will be close (they always are).
GVSU - 28
North Dakota - 19
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