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UIF Championship game
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An artist rendering of the UIF's newest Arena, US Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington-Normal.

North Division Rivals Play for UIF Championship in United Bowl I Sunday August 14th
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August 9, 2005 - Omaha, NE - After two semi-final contests on Saturday, the first-ever United Indoor Football Championship game is set. The Sioux City Bandits will host the Sioux Falls Storm in United Bowl I on Sunday, August 14th. The Storm defeated the Lexington Horsemen 62-58 on the road in the semi-finals last Saturday to advance to the title contest. Meanwhile, the Bandits turned back the visiting Tennessee Valley Raptors 42-37 in the other semi-final to advance to the UIF's inaugural championship game.

This will be the forth time the two North Division and Interstate 29 rivals will meet this year, and the Bandits have come out on top in all three of the previous match-ups this season. Sioux City won 50-43 in Sioux Falls on April 16, 38-34 in a return trip on June 25, and 54-48 in Sioux City on July 15. All three contests were competitive and were not decided until the final seconds. The forth meeting should provide much of the same spectacular play and a record-setting attendance mark is likely.

The second-seeded Bandits and Head Coach Jose Jefferson have played very solid, consistent football and have won 15 of 17 games this season on the way to the North Division championship. Sioux City has won ten consecutive contests after a two-game winning streak. The fifth-seeded Storm and Head Coach Kurtiss Riggs have a 10-8 record after winning three straight games and four of their last five.

Fred Jackson, the 2005 UIF MVP, leads the Bandits charge into the Storm in the United Bowl. Jackson, a runningback and kick returner, ranks first in many statistical categories, including touchdowns (51), points (308), carries (306), rushing yards (1,602), all-purpose yards (3,440), all-purpose yards per game (202.4), and is second in yards per carry (5.24). He also ranks second with 1,376 yards in kick returns while averaging 20.24 yards per return. Sioux City signal-caller Jarrod DeGeorgia ranks second in the UIF with 52 touchdown passes while throwing for an average of 130.71 yards per game. DeGeorgia ranks forth in the league with 2,222 yards thrown. Johnny Ostermeyer leads the Sioux City receivers with 938 yards on 65 catches for an average of 14.4 yards per catch, tops in the UIF. Ostermeyer averages 55.2 receiving yards per game. He is tied for second in the league in touchdowns for wide receivers with 21. Defensive lineman Jesse Wavrunek is tied for third in the UIF with nine sacks this season. Linebacker Adam Lloyd leads the Bandits with 82 tackles in just 12 games this year.

The Storm is charged by quarterback Terrance Bryant and runningback/kick returner James Jones. Bryant has completed 64 percent of his passes this season, the best in the league. He ranks third in passing yards with 2,300. Bryant has thrown 34 touchdowns this year. Jones has logged a league-best 1,457 yards on 63 kick returns, an average of 23.13 yards per return. He has returned four kicks for touchdowns. Runningback Marques Smith is forth in the UIF with 53.86 yards per carry. Defensive back Shannon Poppinga leads the UIF with 11 interceptions this year. Defensive lineman Austin Flyger has logged nine sacks in 2005, tied for second in the league, while defensive back/lineman Marcus Blackburn ranks second on the UIF charts with 113.5 tackles this season. The Storm defense is certainly strong with Blackburn, Poppinga, back Justin Landis, linebacker Chris Eads, and back Andre Fields.

Kick-off is at 3:05 p.m. CST in the Tyson Events Center/Gateway Arena. For scores, statistics, highlights and more, log-on to unitedindoorfootball.com.

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