No. 24 Beavers host No. 11 Minnesota Duluth in NSIC North opener
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
No. 24 Beavers host No. 11 Minnesota Duluth in NSIC North opener

Setting the Scene
Date: Saturday, September 24, 2011
Location: Bemidji, Minn.
Kickoff: 6:00 p.m.
Stadium: Chet Anderson Stadium
Stadium Capacity/Surface: 3,500/Grass
Local Radio:    92.1 WMIS The River
Play-by-play: Brian Schultz
    Analyst: Brian Bissonette
    Sidelines: Kelly Schultz
Internet Audio: and
Local Television: KBSU Ch. 17
    Play-by-Play: Scott Williams
    Analyst:  Brett Leach
Web cast:

The Game

The No. 24 Bemidji State University football team (3-0; 2-0 NSIC, 0-0 NSIC North) opens Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference North play as it hosts No. 11 University of Minnesota Duluth at Chet Anderson Stadium Sept. 24 at 6 p.m. The Beavers are 3-0 and leading the NSIC North after a 41-10 home victory against Southwest Minnesota State University Sept. 17. The Bulldogs (2-1; 1-1 NSIC, 0-0 NSIC North) are coming off their first loss in NSIC play in 31 games after falling 7-0 at Wayne State College Sept. 17. It marked the first time UMD was held scoreless in NSIC play in 128 games (since 1989).         

The Series
The Beavers have a storied history with the Bulldogs that dates back to 1931. This contest will mark the 51st time the two teams have gone head-to-head with Minnesota Duluth leading the all-time series 39-10-1. UMD is riding a nine game winning streak, with the last BSU victory coming in 1999. The Beavers are 7-15-1 at home versus the Bulldogs. Last time UMD visited ‘The Chet’ was 2009 when the Beavers got within a point of UMD on a hail mary pass with just seconds left on the clock, but a failed extra point handed Minnesota Duluth a 35-34 victory. Head coach Jeff Tesch is 2-11 all-time against the Bulldogs, with a 2-9 record in conference games. More series information on page five of the notes.           

The Coaches

Bemidji State: Jeff Tesch is in his 16th season roaming the sidelines at Bemidji State. He has posted an overall record of 101-64 (.612), which includes a 76-47 (.618) mark in NSIC tilts. In 16 seasons, Tesch has established BSU standards for games coached (165), victories (101), career winning percentage (.612) and conference wins (76). He secured his 100th victory at BSU in grand fashion with a 30-27 overtime upset road victory at then-No. 16 Augustana College Sept. 10, 2011. Prior to his tenure at BSU, Tesch, a two-time NSIC Coach of the Year (1999 and 2006), spent 12 years as an assistant at North Dakota, two on the staff of Central Missouri and one season at Montana State.

Minnesota Duluth: Bob Nielson is in his ninth season as head coach of the Bulldogs and has accomplished more than most coaches in a lifetime. He has two NCAA Division II national championships (2008 and 2010), four Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference titles (including the last three in a row), three perfect 11-0 regular seasons, four NCAA II playoff appearances, 81 victories and a .787 overall winning percentage to his credit. Nielson continues to double as UMD’s director of intercollegiate athletics, a position he’s held since the 2003-04 season. He owns a 19 season career coaching record of 151-55-1.

The Program

Bemidji State’s all-time record is 318-398-24 (.446) dating back to 1926, which includes a 179-249-9 (.420) mark in NSIC play. The Beavers own five conference titles (1947, 50, 57, 59 and 2006) and count the 2006 Mineral Water Bowl as their first  post-season appearance. Under the direction of Tesch, BSU has posted winning records in 11 of the last 12 years and have registered nine consecutive winning home campaigns.

Quick Count
•  BSU is 3-0 for the first time since 2005. That squad went 3-0 to start the season and finished with a 7-3 record. The last time the Beavers started 4-0 was 2000. That team posted a BSU program record nine wins, going 9-2.
• The Beavers are No. 24 in the AFCA and No. 23 in the polls, cracking the top 25 in both publications for the first time since the 2007 preseason polls.
• Minnesota Duluth will be the second nationally ranked opponent for BSU this season. The Beavers downed then-No. 16 Augustana College 30-27 in overtime Sept. 10. BSU is 4-9 under head coach Jeff Tesch against ranked opponents
• BSU has recorded 14 points and 128 yards in three opening drives this season. On the flip side, the Beaver defense has allowed zero points and just 20 yards and no first downs on opponent’s first drive.
• BSU downed Southwest Minnesota State 41-10 Sept. 17, rushing for 437 yards and six touchdowns. The yardage was the most since the BSU program record of 453 in 1989. The last time the Beavers rushed for six scores was 2006 against Minnesota, Crookston.
• Junior Dustin Kroeplin rushed for 165 yards and two touchdowns, going over 150 yards in a game for the second time in his career. His two rushing touchdowns marked the sixth time in his career he accomplished the feat. The Beavers were 5-1 in 2010 when Kroeplin rushed for a touchdown and are 14-1 in his three-year career.
•  The Beavers defeated Augustana to earn their first win against a ranked opponent since defeating then-No. 14 Wayne State College 21-10 Oct. 10, 2009.
•  Head coach Jeff Tesch earned his 100th career victory Sept. 10. He is in his 16th season as head coach at Bemidji State and reached 100 wins in 164 games.
•  In the Augie win, BSU picked up its first overtime victory since Oct. 26, 2002 when it defeated Minnesota State University Moorhead 35-28 in two overtimes. Under Tesch, the Beavers are 4-2 in games that go into overtime.
•  Junior tight end Brian Leonhardt brought in a career-high 129 receiving yards and recorded one touchdown against Augie, becoming the first BSU player to surpass 100 reception yards since George Kadlec brought in 149 receiving yards and two touchdowns against Concordia University, St. Paul Nov. 8, 2008.
•  The ‘Gang Green’ defense continues to dominate in 2011, ranking in the top 25 nationally in rushing defense (5th, 52.7 yds/gm), scoring defense (8th 12.3 pts/gm), pass efficiency defense (12th, 89.2 opp efficiency) and total defense (14th, 256.3 yds/g). BSU is tied for 15th in turnover margin with 1.3 more takeaways than giveaways this season.  • Also, BSU is 21st in net punting (36.7 yds/punt) and 25th in rushing offense (223.0 yds/gm).
• The Beavers lead the NSIC in rush defense, scoring defense scoring offense (32.7 pts/gm) and turnover margin. They rank second in rushing offense, total defense and pass efficiency defense.
• The Beavers were slated eighth in the NSIC Preseason Coaches’ Poll.
• Senior Cory Immerman (OL) and Leonhardt were named to the Consensus Draft Services 2011 Preseason All-America Honorable Mention Football Team.
• BSU returned nine all-conference players to the 2011 roster, including first-teamer Leonhardt.