Brandon Langston caught a 35-yard touchdown pass from Cullen Finnerty in the final minutes to lead Grand Valley State to a 21-17 victory over Northwest Missouri State in the Division II title game yesterday in Florence, Ala.
The Lakers then came up with a key defensive stop after Northwest Missouri moved to the 4-yard line. Grand Valley (13-0) won its third title in four seasons.
After a sack left the Bearcats with fourth and 15 from the 21 with one second left, Josh Lamberson rolled right and hit Raphael Robinson inside the 5 on the opposite side of the field. Robinson spun, but Tommy Miller and Joe Ballard brought him down at the 4 to end the 81-yard drive.
Finnerty moved Grand Valley 81 yards after taking over midway through the fourth quarter. He converted three third-down plays on the drive. On third and four, he hit Langston on a slant pattern, and the wide receiver raced 35 yards for a score with 4:25 to play.
Lamberson completed five consecutive passes to move the Bearcats downfield. They made it to the 17 but he was chased out of bounds by Rory Steinbach and Justin Ulberg for a loss on third down with a second remaining.
Northwest Missouri (11-4) used its last timeout to set up the final play. Robinson was briefly open, but the Lakers' defense swarmed after the ball and kept him out of the end zone.
Backup quarterback Trey Elder scored on a one-yard run with about two minutes left to give Appalachian State a 29-23 victory over Furman in the Division I-AA semifinals in Boone, N.C.
Elder replaced injured starter Richie Williams in the first quarter and finished 12 for 17 for 165 yards. He threw for another touchdown to help the Mountaineers (11-3) reach the championship game for the first time. They will play Northern Iowa in Chattanooga on Friday.
Nate Kmic had 48 carries for 160 yards and Mount Union advanced to the Division III national championship game with a 19-7 win over Rowan in Alliance, Ohio.
The Purple Raiders (13-1) held the Profs to minus-one yard rushing, advancing to the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl for the eighth time in the last 10 years.
In the title game, Mount Union will face Wisconsin-Whitewater, which defeated Wesley, 58-6, also yesterday.
Bruce Eugene completed six touchdown passes and threw for 473 yards to lead Grambling State in a 45-6 rout of Alabama A&M in the Southwestern Athletic Conference championship game at Legion Field in Birmingham.