ST. PAUL, Minn. (Sea Foam Stadium) – Dustin Kroeplin (Fr., RB, Withee, Wis.) rushed for a career-high 142 yards, while Derek Edholm (Jr., QB, Anoka, Minn.) threw for three touchdowns and ran for another Saturday as the Bemidji State University football team powered through early special teams miscues to gain a 35-20 victory over Concordia University-St. Paul Saturday in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference action.
The Beavers came away with a well-deserved win at the end of the day, but it wasn’t always pretty.
Bemidji State used a pair of 30-yard touchdown strikes from Edholm to Jody Henningson (So., WR, North Aurora, Ill.) early to take a 13-5 lead into the second period, but BSU allowed a 22-yard field goal and had a high punt snap lead to a safety and allow the Golden Bears to hang around.
With just over five minutes to go in the first half, BSU suffered its second special teams blunder as CU got to Jesse Sundby (So., K/P, Stephen, Minn.) blocked a punt attempt and recovered the ball in the endzone to snip the Beavers lead to one, 13-12.
Two minutes later, Bemidji State’s would reclaim its three-point lead when on fourth down, Edholm placed a quick kick inside Concordia’s five yardline and by the time it was downed, the Beavers had CU pinned inside their own one yardline. One play later, Jordan Lardinois (Jr., DE, New Franken, Wis.) snagged the CU running back in the endzone for a safety.
After the ensuing free kick, the Beavers began to tighten their grip on the game settling back into what has been such a big part of their success this season, they ground out a nine-play drive capped with Edholm’s third touchdown pass of over 30 yards. The junior quarterback hooked up with Cameron Abram (So., WR. Brooklyn Park, Minn.) for the receiver’s third big-play touchdown reception in as many games.
Leaving CU with just 15 seconds on the clock, the Beavers went to the locker room leading 21-12 at the half.
Bemidji State extended its lead to 28-12 recording the only points of the third quarter just over 10-minutes into the frame. Edholm accounted for the Beavers’ fourth touchdown of the day with his feet. After faking the handoff up the middle, he followed his running back into the endzone, virtually untouched from 13 yards out. The rushing touchdown concluded an 11-play, 78-yard drive that ate 5:31 off the clock.
The Golden Bears bounced back to record their only offensive touchdown of the day on their first possession of the fourth quarter. CU quarterback Mitch Brecke completed six-of-seven pass attempts for 71 yards before Sam Campbell punched it in from one yard out. Brecke hit Calvin Simon with a pas to complete the two-point conversion and shrink the BSU advantage to 28-20.
But it was the Beavers that would have the last say grinding over seven minutes off the clock during a 15-play, 70-yard scoring drive late in the fourth. Kroeplin ran for 47 of his game-high 142 yards, carrying the ball 11 times during the drive, finishing his afternoon with a five-yard TD plunge--the freshman’s team-leading 10th of the season--to cap the scoring at 35-20.
Edholm finished the day completing 13-of-23 pass attempts for 173 yards and three touchdowns strikes. He spread the ball to seven different BSU receivers with Henningson accounting for a team-best four catches for 75 yards and a career-high two TD receptions.
In addition to Kroeplin’s work on the ground, Lance Rongstad (Fr., QB, Eleva, Wis.) posted 30 yards on seven carries and Edholm ran for 20 yards and a score on seven attempts.
Defensively, a BSU defense that allowed just 26 rushing yards, 292 yards of total offense and just one touchdown was paced by Andrew Eagan (Jr., LB, Sauk Village, Ill.) who posted nine tackles (five solo), which included one tackle for loss. Brody Scheff (So., S, Waconia, Minn.) added seven stops (three solo) and a 52-yard interception return and Tiger Ellison (Sr., CB, Columbus, Ohio) accounted for the Beavers’ other interception.
The win stands as the Beaver’s eighth of the season, as the team improved to 8-3 over all and 7-3 in league play. With eight wins in 2009, BSU has now posted eight or more wins five times since head coach Jeff Tesch took the reigns of the program 14 years ago. In the 70 years prior to his arrival, Bemidji State recorded just one eight-win campaign.