NW Missouri St., Grand Valley St. advance to D-II  final

Updated: December 6, 2005, 12:42 PM ET
Associated Press

FLORENCE, Ala. -- Josh Lamberson threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Raphael Robinson with 23 seconds left to lift Northwest Missouri State to a 25-24 victory over North Alabama on Saturday in the semifinals of the NCAA Division II playoffs.

Northwest Missouri State (11-3) advances to the title game next Saturday against Grand Valley State in Florence.

North Alabama (11-3) led 24-17 with just under seven minutes left before quarterback Vinnie Saylor was sacked in the end zone for a safety.

Saylor was 29-of-41 for 248 yards and one touchdown. Anthony Merritt had seven catches for 73 yards, two rushes for 12 yards and 52 yards on kick returns.

Xavier Omon rushed for 101 yards on 16 carries for Northwest Missouri, while Lamberson was 25-of-40 for 245 yards and two touchdowns.

Andre Rector finished with eight catches for 108 yards.

Grand Valley State 55, East Stroudsburg 20

ALLENDALE, Mich. -- Brandon Langston caught two touchdown passes and ran for another score in the first quarter and top-ranked Grand Valley State advanced to the Division II title game for the fourth time in the last five years.

Grand Valley State (12-0) won the national title in 2002 and 2003.

The Lakers led 34-0 at the end of the first quarter and 41-7 at halftime.

Langston capping Grand Valley State's opening 87-yard drive with an 18-yard touchdown run.

Moments later, he blocked a punt and recovered it, before catching a 22-yard touchdown pass from Cullen Finnerty.

On Grand Valley's next drive, Langston caught a 46-yard pass from Finnerty to set up a 1-yard scoring run by Astin Martin.

Brandon Carr returned a fumble 40 yards later in the first quarter to give Grand Valley State a 27-0 lead. Langston then caught an 81-yard TD pass from Finnerty to make it 34-0 at the end of the quarter. The Lakers had a 278-50 advantage in total yards in the first quarter.

Ryan Hukill caught a 5-yard TD pass from Finnerty in the second quarter to give the Lakers a 41-0 lead before the Warriors (11-3) scored late in the half on a 2-yard quarterback keeper by Jim Terwilliger.

Terwilliger threw a 20-yard TD pass to Evan Trall in the third quarter and tossed an 11-yard scoring strike to Tim Strenfel in the fourth, but Grand Valley State closed out the scoring when Carr returned an onside kick 47 yards for a touchdown.


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press

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