Setting the Scene
Date: Saturday, October 6, 2012
Location: Bismarck, N.D.
Kickoff: 2:30 p.m.
Stadium: Community Bowl
Stadium Capacity/Surface: 7,000/Field Turf
Local Radio: 92.1 WMIS The River
Play-by-play: Brian Schultz
Internet Audio: www.wmisfm.com/ and www.beaverradionetwork.com
Local Television: none
Web cast: www.pennatlantic.com
The Bemidji State University football team (2-3; 2-3 NSIC, 1-0 NSIC North) travels west for a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference North battle with University of Mary (3-2; 3-2 NSIC, 0-1 NSIC North) Oct. 6 at 2:30 p.m. in Bismarck, N.D. at the Community Bowl. The Beavers snapped a three-game losing streak - longest since 2008 - with a 35-2 Homecoming victory against University of Minnesota, Crookston Sept. 29. After winning their first three games, the Marauders have dropped two straight, including a 32-21 loss at Minot State University Sept. 29.
BSU and U-Mary have a short history that dates back to 2006, but are even in the all-time series 3-3. After losing the first two meetings, the Beavers had captured three straight until last season when the Marauders defeated visiting Bemidji State 49-21. Now the Beavers have to go back to Bismarck, N.D. for revenge of last season’s loss that ended a three-game win streak. Three of the six games between the squads have been decided by six points or less.
Bemidji State: Jeff Tesch is in his 17th season roaming the sidelines at Bemidji State. He has posted an overall record of 108-70 (.607), which includes a 83-53 (.610) mark in NSIC tilts. In 17 seasons, Tesch has established BSU standards for games coached (178), victories (108), career winning percentage (.607) and conference wins (83). 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.
U-Mary: U-Mary’s all-time winningest head coach, Myron Schulz enters his 14th season at the Marauders helm in 2012 and will serve his 22nd season on the school’s coaching staff out of the 25 years the program has existed. Since ascending to the top spot in 1999, Schulz has compiled 96 career victories, posted an outstanding .658 winning percentage, and directed the squad to six national tournament appearances and four conference titles. His teams owned a streak of nine straight winning seasons and are 72-32 in conference games. Since starting the transition to the NCAA in 2005, U-Mary is 41-38.
Bemidji State is in its 87th season of football and owns an all-time record is 325-404-24 (.448) dating back to 1926, which includes a 186-254-9 (.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
• Saturday’s contest will feature the league’s top passing offense (322.8 yds/gm) and top passing quarterback Craig Bagnell (321.5 yds/gm) versus the second best passing defense in the league, as BSU is allowing 155.4 passing yards per game. Nationally, U-Mary is 13th in passing yards, while the Beavers are 16th in passing defense.
• On the receiving end of Bagnell are seven players with 100 or more yards this season - BSU has two - including Elby Pope (30 rec., 456) and Tyler Steffan (28 rec., 365 yards). Both those players rank top 10 in the NSIC in receptions and reception yards.
• The U-Mary run game ranks 14th in the league with 80.2 yards per game. The BSU Gang Green defense is holding its opponent to 128.2 rushing yards per game to sit fifth in the conference.
• Defensively the Marauders are 14th in the NSIC in total defense, allowing 432.4 yards per game, while the Beavers have the second best defense in the league and 14th in the nation, as it has allowed 283.6 yards per game.
• Junior punter/place kicker Zach Pulkinen is fourth in the NSIC punting average (40.2 yds/punt), senior linebacker Cory Crosby is sixth (third among linebackers) in the league in tackles with 54 (24 solo), senior return man Beau Wakefield is eighth in punt return average (7.2 yards per return), junior cornerback Larry Miller is tied for eighth in passes defended with five, senior quarterback Lance Rongstad is ninth in passing (216.5 yds/gm) and total offense (255.0 yds/gm).
• The Beavers have lost 12 fumbles, five more than the second most lost in the league, and thrown four interceptions to total 16 turnovers that have led to 49 opponent points. BSU has allowed 104 points total this season, nearly half due to giveaways.
• BSU improved in the takeaway category last week against Minnesota, Crookston, doubling its season total with four (three fumbles, one INT) and now has eight takeaways for a -1.60 margin that ranks 15th in the NSIC.
Season Long Count
• BSU has posted a winning record in 12 of the last 13 seasons under HC 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). BSU is 2-1 in 2012.
• 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 1,185 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 18-2 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. BSU is 1-0 in 2012.
• 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.
For more information on the Bemidji State football program, follow the Beavers on Twitter (@BemidjiStateFB or @BSUBeavers), like them on Facebook (facebook.com/bsubeaverfootball or facebook.com/BSUBeavers) or sign up for the TXTUpdates from BSUBeavers.com text-messaging system through the "Mulitmedia" pull down menu on the main page of BSUBeavers.com.
Nestled in Northern Minnesota’s wooded region and located on the shore of Lake Bemidji, Bemidji State University sponsors 15 varsity athletic programs with NCAA Division I men’s and women’s hockey membership in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, while its 13 NCAA Division II programs hold membership in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).