MANKATO, Minn. (Blakeslee Stadium) -- They gave all they had, but in the end, members of the Bemidji State University football team came up short as No. 10 Minnesota State University, Mankato used a 17-yard touchdown run in overtime to top the Beavers 37-33 Saturday at Blakeslee Stadium in Mankato, Minn.
The Beavers kept the Mavericks close through the first 30 minutes of play and used a 21-point third quarter to not only reel MSU in, but to head into the final quarter holding a 10-point, 31-21 advantage. Despite a 29-yard field goal by the Mavericks that trimmed the BSU lead to 31-24 with 9:58 to go, the Beaver remained in command down to the last minute.
Late in the fourth, Bemidji State’s drive stalled out and the Beavers were forced to punt. Down seven, with the ball on their own 27 and 1:07 let on the clock, the nationally-ranked Mavericks were not about to throw in the towel. Three plays and 73 yards later, MSU had tied the game and rolled into overtime with all the momentum.
MSU would win the coin toss and chose to play defense and force the Beavers to set the tone.
In the extra stanza, Bemidji State settled for a 34-yard field goal by Jesse Sundby (So., K/P, Argyle, Minn.) after a penalty put the Beavers in a third-and-long situation and a shot to the end zone was unsuccessful.
Just as it had all game long, MSU struck quickly in its overtime possession. Ernest Walker carried the ball twice and took the Mavericks on his back for the final 17-yard scamper to tip the score in MSU’s favor 37-34.
“We asked the kids to leave it all on the field,” commented BSU head coach Jeff Tesch. “We’ve got some broken bones and some bloody players over there. They gave it all that they had.” He added, “I am really proud of the way our guys played.”
Holding the ball for an astounding 41:20 in the game, the Beavers monopolized time of possession from the opening kick off. Derek Edholm (Jr., QB, Anoka, Minn.) engineered scoring drives of 14 and 17 plays in the first half alone. Conversely, the Mavericks needed little time to find the scoreboard. MSU needed only 14 plays and 5:07 spread between three different drives to build a 14-3 lead just moments into the second quarter.
BSU struck first using a 27-yard field goal by Sundby to cap a 14-play, 71-yard drive seven minutes into the game.
The Mavericks responded by scoring on its next two possessions, both accentuated by Webber touchdown plunges.
As the first half wound down, the Beavers’s defensive unit picked up the first of three turnovers when Jordan Lardinois (Jr., DE, New Franken, Wis.) covered fumble to set BSU up on the Minnesota State 32 yardline. Unable to make any ground, Tesch opted for a 50-yard field goal, but the Sundby attempt would fall shot and the Maverick would hold on to the 14-10 lead heading into halftime.
A MSU fumble covered by Andrew Eagan (Jr., LB, Sauk Village, Ill.) in the opening moments of the second half, would spark a 6-play, 29-yard drive that would give the Beavers their first lead of the game, 17-14.
Minnesota State regained the lead, 21-17, when Ryan Fick connected with Vincent Flury for an 11-yard touchdown pass with 10 minute remaining in the third. But the lead would last just over eight minutes as on the next drive, Bemidji State defensive end Rob Wills (Jr., Roseville, Minn.) hauled in his first collegiate interception and rumbled 15 yards to put the Beavers back on top 24-21.
BSU would assemble a nine-play, 52-drive before the third quarter expired to go up by 10, 31-21, with 15 minutes to play.
The lead would stand into the game’s final minute.
Bemidji State finished the game with 310 yards of total offense. For the second consecutive week, the Beavers mounted over 200 rushing yards piling up 227 in the game. Edholm led all BSU ground-gainers posting a career-high 116--marking the first time a BSU quarterback has rushed for over 100 yards since Nathan Sannes posted 106 versus Wayne State (Neb.) Nov. 5, 2004. Edholm was also 10-of-16 for 69 yards through the air before leaving the game due to injury.
Defensively, the stingy Gang Green defense was led by Eagan who totaled nine tackles (five solo) and a fumble recovery. Brody Scheff (So., S, Waconia, Minn.) added nine tackles (five solo) and also picked up a fumble.
The Beavers, 1-1 and 0-1 in NSIC play return home to battle Winona State University Sept. 12 for the 12th Annual Shrine Game. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. at Chet Anderson Stadium.