Almost 5 years ago, 1,813 days to be exact, was the last in-conference loss the Lakers of Grand Valley State had suffered. That loss came on home turf on October 23, 2004 at the hands of Northwood University.
Yesterday, October 10, 2009, the Lakers walked into Muddy Waters Stadium on the campus of Hillsdale College. Hillsdale is a very small private college that continues to compete at a high level in division II athletics. Despite having only around 1,300 students, they apparently have great funding. As the clock ticked to zero at the end of the 4th quarter, a last-second field goal attempt by the Lakers sailed wide-right, sending all of Hillsdale College into a frenzy with a 27-24 win over the then #1 ranked team from Allendale.
The upset win is just one bright example of a multitude of others this season throughout college football at all levels. A lot of schools who had let football fall by the way-side are now putting the necessary resources into their programs to make them competitive, some for the very first time.
This is the the third straight year the historic and tradition-rich Hillsdale program is looking to have a winning record. This win, and possibly a playoff birth come November, could be the culmination of some great recruiting done by the Hillsdale staff. A young Joe Glendenning from East Grand Rapids is a freshman on the Hillsdale squad. Glendenning set the all-time rushing record at the powerhouse program that is East Grand Rapids. Look for him in the coming year(s).
This all sets up a crucial match up next weekend at GVSU's Homecoming against the other leader in the GLIAC, the University of Findlay (Ohio) Oilers. The Oilers beat these very same Hillsdale Chargers 42-10 the previous week.
Once again, the GVSU program tastes defeat in the conference and with injuries mounting, the team must rally and pull together. This is the first time any of these players have tasted an in-conference loss in their college careers.
I encourage all who can to make it to the game next weekend in Allendale to show and wear some blue. Kick off is at 7pm, and tickets are as low as $6. Now is when we separate the contenders from the pretenders. I guarentee you won't see better football anywhere.