BEMIDJI, Minn. (Chet Anderson Stadium) -- Junior Derek Edholm (QB, Anoka, Minn.) threw for a career-high 391 yards and five touchdowns on 27-of-41, but it would not be enough as the Bemidji State University football team was defeated by No. 7 University of Minnesota Duluth, 35-34, Saturday at Chet Anderson Stadium.
Down 28-14 after thee quarters, the odds were stacked against BSU, but the Beavers would not quit and Edholm led the team on three fourth quarter scoring drives of at least 60 yards to give BSU a chance to take the nationally-ranked bulldogs to overtime. But it just wasn’t meant to be as Bemidji State’s extra-point attempt would sail wide to the left and the defending NCAA Division II National Champion Bulldogs would escape with their perfect Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference season in tact after the one-point North Division victory.
The Beavers began their comeback with 7:11 left in the fourth quarter on their own 40 yardline. Following a pair of rushing attempts, Edholm engineered a nine-play, 60-yard drive, completing 5-of-6 passes for 51 yards, capped by a 10-yard touchdown strike to Christian Metz (Fr, WR, Cambridge, Minn.). The freshman’s third TD reception of the season reeled the Beavers to within seven points of the Bulldogs, 28-21.
With time running out, the BSU defense again held their own forcing the Bulldogs’ to punt to get the ball back to Edholm and the offense with 2:01 to play.
Beginning on their own 32, the Beavers would need just three plays and 21 seconds to even the score at 28-28.
After an incomplete pass to Metz, Edholm scampered for a 12-yard gain, but more importantly got out of bound to stop the clock. He then dumped a pass off to Dustin Kroeplin (Fr., RB, Withee, Wis.) who turned the pass into a 56-yard scoring play, streaking down the sideline for his second receiving touchdown of 2009. The touchdown sent the 1,435 in attendance into a frenzy. It looked as if the Beavers had nudged their way back into the game and were going to get their chance to de-throne the champs in overtime.
But, no sooner than the BSU faithful returned to their seats, UMD answered with an 84-yard return for a touchdown by D.J. Winfield on the ensuing kickoff.
Down 35-28, with 1:23 left on the clock, the game was back in Edholm’s hands.
After the junior signal caller was sacked for a loss of 10 yards to burry the Beavers on their own 30 yardline, he went to work. He completed a 12-yard pass to Kroeplin, got the benefit of a 15-yard personal four penalty and scampered 17 yards to get the Beavers across midfield and down to UMD’s 38. Edholm then hit Andrew Schultz (Jr., WR, Grand Forks, N.D.) for six yards and a first down. Left without a time out, Edholm then got the team to the line and spiked the ball to stop the clock with just eight seconds to play. From the shotgun, Edholm them eluded the UMD pressure and heaved a pass to the corner of the end zone where Jody Henningson (Fr., WR, North Aurora, Ill.) leaped out of the scrum to haul the pass down for a touchdown as time expired.
Trailing by a point, 34-35, all that was keeping the Beavers from taking a nationally-ranked opponent to overtime for the second time this season was an extra point attempt, but snap was low, the hold was bobbled and the Jesse Sundby (So., K/P, Argyle, Minn.) kick would sail wide to the left and UMD held on for the win.
For the second consecutive week, the BSU offense rolled up over 400 yards, out gaining the Bulldogs 416 to 371 thanks to a season-high 391 yards through the air and 25 rushing yards--a season-low.
Edholm spread his 27 completions around to six different receivers with Kroeplin and Brian Leonhardt (Fr., TE, Blaine, Minn.) each latching on to a career-best seven receptions, while Kroeplin paced the crew with a career-high 98 yards receiving.
Not only did Edholm set career marks for passing yards and matched a career-best five TD passes set a week earlier, his 391 yards stand as the fifth-best passing yardage total since 1980 and he scooted up the career touchdown passes list into sole possession of fourth place with 37.
Isaac Odim and Vogler each rushed for two touchdowns for UMD as the Bulldogs built a 28-14 lead, Odim paced one of the nation’s elite rushing attacks with 106 yards to become the first individual to gain over 100 rushing yards on Beavers’ Gang Green defense this season.
Brody Scheff (Fr., S, Waconia, Minn) and Jake Anderson (Sr., LB, Karlstad, Minn.) posted game-high 11 stops in the game with Anderson posting 1.5 quarterback sacks and two tackles for loss.
The Beavers, now 6-3 overall and 5-3 in league play, continue NSIC North action next week at they travel to Bismarck, N.D. to battle University of Mary. The opening kick off is slated for 2:30 p.m. from the Marauder’s Bismarck Bowl.