MINOT, N.D. (Herb Parker Stadium) – The Bemidji State football squad opened the 2010 season with a 24-7 victory at Minot State University Thursday. The game was the one and only nonconference contest on the slate for BSU. The Beavers are now 6-4 in opening games on the road under head coach Jeff Tesch.
The game served as the 12th annual ‘Beaver Bash’ with Bemidji State now owning an 11-1 record against the Beavers of Minot State. BSU has now held MSU under 10 points in six contests and have won eight straight. Bemidji State moves to 7-0 at Herb Parker Stadium. The game was also the first after the stadium went under a face-lift over the summer, adding field turf and a new state-of-the-art lighting system.
Bemidji State opened the scoring on its second drive of the game, moving the ball 91 yards that was capped by a 62-yard touchdown catch and run by junior wide receiver Adam Berg from senior quarterback Derek Edholm.
On the ensuing kick-off freshman Zach Pulkinen booted the ball into the endzone, forcing a touchback. Bemidji State was able to push MSU back three yards in three plays and forced a punt. The Beavers then started with good field position atop the Beaver logo at the 50 yard line. BSU was able to move the ball into field goal range and junior Jesse Sundby converted on a 23 yard field goal to make the score 10-0 with just five ticks remaining in the first quarter.
In control of the entire first frame, BSU thought it was rolling, but a shifty and explosive return player for Minot State, Johnny Lester, turned the tide on Bemidji State. Lester broke multiple tackles and returned the kick-off from two yards inside the endzone to put MSU on the board and close the first quarter at 10-7.
BSU upped the score to 17-7 with 1:14 remaining in the opening half, scoring on an eight yard run by Edholm that closed a 37-yard drive.
A power outage at the stadium at halftime wiped the scoreboard clean and put the press box without power. The issue caused the second half to be delayed, hoping the problem could be fixed, but it wasn’t. Fortunately, the new stadium lights run off a different generator and the field was lit so the game played on. When the lights went out, the psyche of Bemidji State must have gone blank as well. BSU looked raw in start of the second half, as a high snap, sack and another high snap over Sundby’s head caused Bemidji State to go from the red zone to putting Minot State on BSU’s 20 to start the fourth quarter.
But, the ‘Gang Green’ defense would stand tall and keep its scoreless game intact, forcing Minot State to attempt a 30 yard field goal that ended-up missing wide left. The offense then redeemed itself and drove the ball 80 yards for its last score of the game. The focused Beavers ended the drive with an Edholm toss to junior Nate Solors.
Bemidji State produced 29 first downs to Minot State’s four, while controlling 32:19 of clock time. BSU piled-up a total of 428 yards, while gaining 294 on the ground, limiting MSU to a -10 yards on the ground. The first downs allowed and the 86 yards allowed both established Tesch-era records. Bemidji State’s 294 rushing yards overshadowed its 11 games from last season, inching out its win against Minot State to open 2009 where the team earned 293 yards on the ground.
Edholm was 10-for-20 for 134 with two throwing touchdowns and one on the ground. Newcomer, but senior, Steven Battle made his debut running 15 times for 95 yards. Sophomore Lance Rongstad ran for 82 yards on nine carries.
The Beavers have a week off before opening its home and Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference season with Augustana College at 1 p.m. at the Chet Anderson Stadium.