Beavers defend three-game win streak at No. 7 Minnesota Duluth
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Beavers defend three-game win streak at No. 7 Minnesota Duluth

Setting the Scene
Saturday, October 20, 2012
Duluth, Minn.
1:00 p.m.
Malosky Stadium
Stadium Capacity/Surface:
Local Radio:
92.1 WMIS The River
Mark Ricci
Steve Pappas
Internet Audio: and
Local Television:
Web cast:

The Game
The Bemidji State University football team (4-3; 4-3 NSIC, 3-0 NSIC North) takes a three-game winning streak into No. 7 University of Minnesota Duluth (6-1; 6-1 NSIC, 2-1 NSIC North) Oct. 20 for a 1 p.m. Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference North contest at Malosky Stadium. The Beavers made it three straight with a 23-6 home victory against Northern State University Oct. 13. The Bulldogs have won two in a row after defeating Minot State University 44-6 in Minot, N.D. Oct. 13.

The Series
BSU is 10-40-1 all-time against Minnesota Duluth and haven’t defeated the Bulldogs in the last 10 tries (L, 26-23 at home last season). The last victory the Beavers have posted against UMD was at home Oct. 23, 1999 by the score of 35-26. The last time Bemidji State made the trip to Duluth and came away with a win was Sept. 22, 1951 (26-18) - one of just two wins in Duluth (2-21). BSU head coach Jeff Tesch is 2-12 against UMD while at Bemidji State. 

The Coaches
Bemidji State: Jeff Tesch
is in his 17th season roaming the sidelines at Bemidji State. He has posted an overall record of 110-70 (.611), which includes a 85-53 (.616) mark in NSIC tilts. In 17 seasons, Tesch has established BSU standards for games coached (180), victories (110), career winning percentage (.611) and conference wins (85). 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. M

Minnesota Duluth: Bob Nielson is in his 10th 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), five Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference titles (including at least a share of the last four in a row), three perfect 11-0 regular seasons, four NCAA II playoff appearances, 96 victories and a .793 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 20 season career coaching record of 166-58-1 (.740).  

The Program
Bemidji State is in its 87th season of football and owns an all-time record is 327-404-24 (.449) dating back to 1926, which includes a 188-254-9 (.427) 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
• BSU is 5-10 under head coach Jeff Tesch against ranked opponents.
• The Bulldogs are averaging 47.6 points per game in 2012 to lead the NSIC and rank No. 3 in the nation. The Beavers are allowing 18.7 points per game, which sits third in the league and 25th nationally.
• UMD’s offense has relied on the run this season, averaging 246.7 yards per game to rank first in the league and No. 12 in the nation. The high-powered run game will go against a BSU defense that is allowing 107.3 rushing yards per contest to rank third in the NSIC and 25th in the nation.
• Totalling 461.9 yards per game, the Bulldogs are the best offense in the league and 22nd nationally, which pitted against the ‘Gang Green’ defense that sits second in the league and No. 18 in the nation, allowing 304.4 yards per game.
• Despite the high-scoring offense, the Bulldogs don’t have a single player in the top seven in the league in the major offensive categories.
• Special teams has also contributed to the Minnesota Duluth success this season, as the Bulldogs rank No. 1 in the nation in kick returns, averaging 30.6 yards per game. They are guided by league leader, Aaron Roth (39.0 return yards per game) and Justin Fowlkes, who ranks third in kickoff return average with 30.6 yards per game.
• On the other side of the ball, the Bulldogs are sixth in the NSIC in scoring defense (23.6 points allowed per game) and ninth in total defense (390.4 yards allowed per game).
• UMD has the second best rushing defense (99.9 yards allowed per game), but rank last in the league in passing defense, allowing 290.6 yards per game through the air.
• The Beavers have the best red zone defense in the NSIC, allowing their opponent to score just 63 percent (17-for-27) of the time. BSU has allowed 13 red zone touchdowns and four field goals, while forcing two fumbles, intercepting two passes and stopping the offense on downs on two occasions.
• The Bulldogs have the fourth best red zone offense, scoring a 87.2 percent of the time getting within the 20. UMD has scored the most touchdowns in the red zone with 30 (23 rushing.

Season Long Count
• The Beavers improved their turnover margin during the winning streak, but still rank 14th in the league in the category with a -6 margin (-0.86 pg).
• BSU leads the league in fumbles lost with 14, six more than the second most lost in the league.
• The Beavers’ 14 fumbles and five interceptions total 19 turnovers that have led to 56 opponent points. BSU has also had three punts blocked that have totaled 21 points. Overall, the Beavers have allowed 131 points this season, more than half due to giveaways and blocked punts.
• The Beavers have turned 26 first downs and 415 yards into 21 points on their first drive of the game. In its first drive of the second half, BSU has totaled eight first downs for 132 points and zero points.
• No surprise the Beavers have scored 95 points in the first half and 49 in the second half.
• Senior tight end Brian Leonhardt owns 1,299 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 20-2 in his career when he finds the end zone from the backfield. Through the air or on the ground, the Beavers hold a 20-3 record. BSU is 3-0 in 2012 when he scores.
• Senior wide receiver Justin Lee is looking to go over the 1,000 career receiving yards plateau Saturday, as he has 995 career receiving yards. He has five 70+ receiving games this season, including a career-high 122 against Wayne State Sept. 15.
• 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.
• Junior kicker/punter Zach Pulkinen was named NSIC Special Teams Player of the Week  Oct. 15 after his performance against Northern State to become the first BSU player to earn special teams honors from the league since 2010.
• Head coach Jeff Tesch earned his 110th victory at Bemidji State in his 180th game Oct. 13 in the 23-6 home victory against Northern State.

For more information on the Bemidji State football program, follow the Beavers on Twitter (@BemidjiStateFB or @BSUBeavers), like them on Facebook ( or or sign up for the TXTUpdates from text-messaging system through the "Mulitmedia" pull down menu on the main page of

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).