September 05, 20131st2nd3rd4th1OT Final
Bemidji State30321734
Winona State72000027
Scoring
1st Quarter
BSUFG11:25Pulkinen 38 Yd
WSUTD10:39Ojika 8 Yd Run (Cochran-Bray kick)
2nd Quarter
WSUTD10:57Ojika 11 Yd Run (Cochran-Bray missed kick)
WSUTD03:07Mikes 4 Yd Pass From Teigland (Cochran-Bray kick)
WSUTD00:00Ojika 2 Yd Run (Cochran-Bray kick)
3rd Quarter
BSUFG03:52Pulkinen 40 Yd
4th Quarter
BSUTD11:00Young (Pulkinen kick)
BSUTD03:20Quinn (Pulkinen kick)
BSUTD00:31Malone 25 Yd Pass From Shields (Pulkinen kick)
1OT
BSUTD00:00Noskowiak 18 Yd Pass From Shields (Pulkinen kick)
Stats at a GlanceBSUWSU
1st Downs1414
3rd Down Conversions5-197-17
4th Down Conversions2-30-3
Passing (Comp-Att)152 (16-33) 290 (22-36)
Rushing (Att)43 (39) 73 (38)
Total Yards195363
Penalties3-262-24
Turnovers03
Fumbles Lost01
Interceptions02
Possession29:2630:34
Beavers stun Winona State with 31-unanswered in 34-27 overtime victory
Thursday, September 5, 2013
Beavers stun Winona State with 31-unanswered in 34-27 overtime victory

WINONA, Minn. (Verizon Wireless Stadium) – Trailing 27-3 at the half and missing its starting quarterback, the Bemidji State University football seemed doomed for a season-opening loss at the hands of Winona State University Thursday. But, a determined Gang Green defense stepped up in the fourth quarter and turned the tides with two defensive scores to set-up a methodical two-minute drill score, which led to a stunning overtime touchdown that handed the Beavers a 34-27 victory at Winona State to begin 2013 and the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference season.

A nine-play, 44-yard drive resulted in three points for the Beavers in the opening possession of the game and it seemed the question marks of the young offense entering the season would be erased. Not so fast said Winona State, as it only took two plays on the ensuing drive to own a 7-3 lead, that by halftime soared to what would seem to be a comfortable 27-3 advantage. Icing on the cake for the Warriors was the exit of starting quarterback senior Alex Hass (Milaca, Minn.) and the entrance of redshirt-freshman Ryan Shields (Roseville, Calif.).

Hass returned in the second half to help set-up the only scoring of the third quarter, a career-long 40-yard field goal by senior Zach Pulkinen (K/P, Minot, N.D.), but after finishing the quarter, Hass did not return.

Trailing 27-6, it was the defense that sparked some hope for a comeback. As the Winona State quarterback was going down for a sack by linebackers Buckley Wright (Sr., OLB, Sioux City, Iowa) and Ross Pflum (Fr-RS, ILB, Appleton, Wis.), he tried to get rid of the ball, but gifted a pass into the numbers of senior defensive lineman Gary Young (Crete, Ill.) and he was able to run his first-career interception into the end zone for the first BSU touchdown of the new season. The score moved BSU’s deficit to 27-13 with 11 minutes remaining.

With 3:20 showing and time running out, a Winona State bad snap turned into good fortune for sophomore linebacker Connor Quinn (Geneva, Ill.), as he picked the ball up in the backfield and ran 12 yards into the end zone to give the Warriors just a one score cushion at 27-20.

Then it was Shields’ time to shine. After a three-and-out by the defense, the rookie put together a two-minute drill like a veteran and marched the Beavers 89 yards to the end zone to tie the game with just 31 ticks remaining. He ended the drive thanks to the extra effort of Josh Malone (Fr-RS, WR, Gordan, Wis.), who’s 25-yard catch and run capped the drive in the end zone.

Overtime seemed inevitable until a 44-yard bomb was connected by WSU and the Warriors had a 33-yard field goal opportunity to win the game. But the attempt went wide left, appearing to hit someone at the line of scrimmage.

Shields got the ball first in the extra session and after two passes, connected on an on-the-money pass to sophomore Jordan Noskowiak (TE, Sun Praire, Wis.), who was streaking across the middle of the field, for an 18-yard score. The touchdown was all the Beaver defense needed, as it shutdown WSU’s rebuttal and the Beavers celebrated a win to remember.

Thoughts?

“We told the defense we needed them to win the ball game for us,” said head coach Jeff Tesch. “We got better (on offense) as the game went, we made some nice adjustments, I’m proud of the staff and the guys for hanging in there.

“We changed up some protection to give (Shields) some more time. He has a quick release, which helps. When it came down to it he showed he is a winner and that is what it is about.”

“I was told to prepare all week like I was the starter and that is what I did,” said California native Ryan Shields. “My dad decided Monday night not to fly here to watch this game and he is kicking himself really hard right now. Let’s just say he will be here next week.”

Momentum Shift

Not too often does 6-4, 265-pound senior defensive lineman Gary Young get a chance to play receiver, but in the fourth quarter he did just that. Thanks to pressure by his teammates he was on the receiving end of a pass right to his hands and was able to rumble the 18 yards to the end zone. His first-career interception was also his first-career touchdown. The dominoes fell for the Beavers, both offensively and defensively, after that to enable a big comeback on the road.   

The Game-Tying Drive

Youth and inexperienced are two words the BSU offense are sick of hearing, but after the display in the final two minutes of tonight’s game, those two words might not have a negative connotation. Here is how that last 14-play, 89-yard drive shook out:

-        Fr-RS Shields complete to SO Noskowiak for 14 yards

-        Fr-RS Shields complete to Fr-RS Malone for 5 yards

-        Fr-RS Shields incomplete to Fr-HS Richard

-        Fr-RS Shields complete to Fr-RS Malone for 6 yards

-        Fr-RS Shields complete to Fr-HS Richard for 5 yards

-        Fr-RS Shields incomplete to SO Noskowiak

-        Fr-RS Shields complete to SO Peterson for -3 yards

-        Fr-RS Shields rush for 9 yards (First down thanks to gutsy spin move off a tackler)

-        Fr-RS Shields incomplete to SO Noskowiak

-        Fr-RS Shields incomplete to SO Noskowiak

-        Fr-RS Shields incomplete to Fr-RS Malone

-        Fr-RS Shields complete to Fr-HS Richard for 28 yards (First down on beautiful sideline play)

-        Fr-RS Shields incomplete to Fr-HS Richard

-        Fr-RS Shields complete to Fr-RS Malone

-        Oh yeah, center for the drive Fr-RS Jesse Hein

Offensive Player of the Game

Ryan Shields finished his first college game 11-for-22 for 116 yards, two touchdowns and more importantly no interceptions or fumbles, despite being sacked three times.

Defensive Player of the Game

Connor Quinn, the only returning All-NSIC player from a season ago, totaled a team-best 10 tackles (nine solo), three of which were for loss (-6 yards), a sack (-1 yard) and not to mention the fumble recovery for a touchdown that put the Beavers behind by just a score with under four minutes to play in regulation. He also added a break-up.

Special Teams Player of the Game

Zach Pulkinen scored 10 points, which included a 2-for-2 performance in field goal attempts. His first made field goal was good from 38 yards, while his second established a career-high with a 40-yarder. He also totaled 381 yards on six kickoffs (63.5 yard average) with two touchbacks. His eight punts tied a career-high and totaled 353 yards (44.1 yards per punt). His longest punt went for 51 yards and he placed two kicks inside the 20-yard line. 

Stat of the Game

31 – After allowing 27 unanswered points, the last of which came as time expired in the first half, the Beavers posted 31 unanswered points to gain the 34-27 victory.

Quickly…
• The last overtime game was played at then-No. 16 Augustana College, Sept. 10, 2011. BSU won 30-27. The Beavers are 5-2 under head coach Jeff Tesch when playing at least one overtime session. 
• The Warriors were receiving votes in the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) national poll entering the game.
• BSU snapped an 11-game losing streak at Winona State since a 1986 victory.
• Entering the game, the BSU receiving corps and tight ends owned a total of two career receptions. Thursday, six receivers (first college reception for Malone, Roelofs, Richard and Peterson) combined for 152 yards and a touchdown.
• Under head coach Jeff Tesch, BSU is now 13-5 in season openers and 7-2 in games played on Thursday.

Next Up

The Beavers take the momentum and learning experience into their home opener Sept. 14, when Concordia University, St. Paul visits the new turf at Chet Anderson Stadium. The game serves as the annual Shrine Game at BSU, which includes an afternoon parade, which leads to a tailgate party at Diamond Point Park prior to the 6 p.m. kickoff. Also, Bemidji State’s Eighth Annual Community Appreciation Day is set for Sept. 14 from 3-6 p.m.

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).

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