Beavers battle third straight undefeated opponent; Sioux Falls
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Beavers battle third straight undefeated opponent; Sioux Falls

Setting the Scene
Saturday, September 22, 2012
Sioux Falls, S.D.
12:00 p.m.
Bob Young Field
Stadium Capacity/Surface:
5,400/Mondo Field
Local Radio:
WMIS 92.1 The River  
Brian Schultz
Internet Audio: and
Local Television:
Web cast:

The Game
The Bemidji State University football team (1-2; 1-2 NSIC, 0-0 NSIC North) faces its third consecutive undefeated team Sept. 22 at 12 p.m. when it travels to University of Sioux Falls (3-0; 3-0 NSIC, 0-0 NSIC South) in a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference contest at Bob Young Field. The Beavers are also battling their third straight team receiving votes in the AFCA national poll after falling to Wayne State College Sept. 15 20-17 in Bemidji, Minn. New league member Sioux Falls has a 3-0 record after defeating fellow newcomers Minot State University 42-20 in Minot, N.D. last week.       

The Series
Saturday’s game will mark just the third all-time meeting between Bemidji State and Sioux Falls. BSU and USF met in Sioux Falls, S.D. in 1982 with the Cougars winning 14-12. The next season USF traveled to Bemidji and the Beavers took that game 31-0.

The Coaches
Bemidji State: Jeff Tesch
is in his 17th season roaming the sidelines at Bemidji State. He has posted an overall record of 107-69 (.608), which includes a 82-52 (.612) mark in NSIC tilts. In 17 seasons, Tesch has established BSU standards for games coached (176), victories (107), career winning percentage (.608) and conference wins (82). 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.

Sioux Falls: Introduced as USF’s 20th head coach February 20, 2010, Jed Stugart is in his third season at the helm with a 21-5 record. In his first season at USF, Stugart led the Cougars to a 13-1 record, fifth straight Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) crown and fifth consecutive appearance in the NAIA National Championship Game. Prior to USF, Stugart served as the linebackers coach at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas (UNLV), complied a 26-7 record as head coach during three seasons at MidAmerica Nazarene University (MNU) and was on staff at Northern Colorado from 1999-2006.

The Program
Bemidji State is in its 87th season of football and owns an all-time record is 324-403-24 (.447) dating back to 1926, which includes a 185-253-9 (.424) 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 13 of the last 14 years and have registered 10 consecutive winning home campaigns.

Game Quick Snap
• Sioux Falls is receiving votes in the AFCA poll.
• BSU was 4-0 against the NSIC South last season and are 5-2 in the last seven meetings with the division.
• The Cougars own the third best scoring offense in the league (28th in the nation), posting 39.7 points per game, while the defense has allowed only 16.3 points per contest to sit fourth in the NSIC and 23rd nationally.
• The Beavers have the second best pass defense in the NSIC, while sitting third in total defense after allowing an average of 295.3 yards in the first three games of the season.
• USF senior defensive back Robert Virgil ranks tied for second nationally with an average of an interception per game.
• Junior punter/place kicker Zach Pulkinen is third in the NSIC punting average (41.2 yds/gm), senior quarterback Lance Rongstad is tied for fourth in total offense (269.3 yds/gm) and senior linebacker Cory Crosby is fifth in the league in tackles with 33 (12 solo).

Season Long Count
• BSU has posted a winning record in 12 of the last 13 seasons under head coach Jeff Tesch.
• The Beavers also have 10 consecutive winning seasons at home after going 5-1 in 2011 to tie a program record for wins at home (1985 - 5-0 and 2000 - 5-0).
• Tesch signed a new six-year contract extension over the summer.
• BSU was tabbed sixth overall and third in the NSIC North in the Preseason NSIC Coaches’ Poll.
• The Beavers returned 16 starters from a 2011 team that ranked in the national poll on three different occasions - including seven all-conference players.   
• The Beaver offense finished the 2011 season averaging 26.8 points per game and welcomed eight starters, including 2011 All-American and 2012 preseason All-American tight end Brian Leonhardt.
• The ‘Gang Green’ defense returned seven starters from a year ago. Anchored by preseason All-American nose guard Matthew Shaver, the BSU defense was one of the best in the conference in 2011 allowing just 16.0 points per contest to rank No. 3 in the nation.
• 2012 captains are senior quarterback Lance Rongstad and Leonhardt on the offensive side of the ball and the defensive captains are senior linebacker Cory Crosby and junior linebacker Buckley Wright.
• Leonhardt was named a preseason All-American by four publications. Senior return specialist Beau Wakefield and Shaver also earned preseason All-American laurels.
• Leonhardt owns 1,148 career receiving yards, ranking second among Bemidji State tight ends since 1971 (Bruce Ecklund, 1,542 yards, 1980-83).
• The Beavers were 4-1 in 2011 when senior Dustin Kroeplin rushed for a touchdown and are 17-2 in his three-year career when he finds the end zone from the backfield. Through the air or on the ground, the Beavers hold a 18-3 record.
• Rongstad was named NSIC Offensive Player of the Week Sept. 4 after his performance against Upper Iowa. He totaled 228 passing yards, a career-high four passing touchdowns and led the team in rushing with 58 yards.
• He was the first NSIC Offensive Player of the Week from Bemidji State since Anthony Schreiber in 2006.
• Not so good stat of the Week: The Beavers have lost 10 fumbles in 2012, six more than the second most lost in the league, and are last in the NSIC in turnover margin (-3.00).