BEMIDJI, Minn. -- The Bemidji State University football team (0-3; 0-3 NSIC, 0-0 NSIC North) welcomes Minnesota State University, Mankato (3-0; 3-0 NSIC, 0-0 NSIC South) to Chet Anderson Stadium for an interdivisional Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference match up. The game marks the first time the Beavers have gone head-to-head with one of the nation’s top 10 teams this season.
Bemidji State and Minnesota State series reaches back 47 games to the 1933 season. The Mavericks enter the game holding a 29-14-2 edge in the all-time series, which includes 12-9 mark versus the Beavers at Chet Anderson Stadium. Today’s game marks just the second time the Beavers have met the Mavericks when MSU was tanked among the top 25 in the country according to the American Football Coaches’ Association. The last time BSU and MSU met, the Mavericks used six Bemidji State turnovers to gain a 38-10 victory in Mankato, Minn. Sept. 8, 2012.
Bemidji State: The Beavers suffered a 47-30 loss at Upper Iowa University a week ago and saw its overall record dip to 0-3 for the first time since 2002. The Beavers battled back from a 20-0 deficit to tie the game at 20-20 before the half. After stretching their lead to 10 points, 30-20, in the opening moments of the fourth quarter, the Beavers saw their first victory of the season slip away as UIU rattled off 27 consecutive points. Bemidji State totaled 549 yards of offense, including 328 yards through the air, in the loss, marking the first time BSU topped 500 yards since BSU totaled 554 yards in a 35-10 win over MSU Moorhead, Oct. 15, 2011.
Instead of settling on an unseasoned starting quarterback, Head Coach Jeff Tesch has opted to use the strengths of two quarterbacks to lead the Beavers. Sophomore Ryan Shields is the team’s leading passer connecting on 34-of-71 pass attempts for 523 yards and three touchdowns, while freshman Jordan Hein is the team’s top ground gainer piling up 172 yards and a pair of touchdown runs on a team-high 51 rushing attempts. Blake Holder has been a favorite target of both quarterbacks, leading a talented and deep receiving corps with 14 receptions for 307 yards and two touchdowns. His average of 102.3 yards per game places him among the top 30 receivers in the country and top five in the NSIC. Connor Quinn has been the Beavers’ defensive stopper through three games. He leads the team with 27 tackles (18 solo) and 5.5 tackles for a loss, which includes a team-best 2.0 quarterback sacks.
Minnesota State: The Mavericks enter the game as the No. 3 team in the country at 3-0 overall with all three games coming against versus NSIC competition. The MSU offense is averaging a league-best 52.7 points per game this season. Ricky Lloyd has taken the bulk of the snaps for the Mavericks, completing 22-of-37 passing attempts for 307 yards and five touchdowns. Andy Pfeiffer and Connor Thomas each have in excess of 230 yards on the ground and each have three rushing touchdowns for a unit averaging 485 total yards per game in 2014. Defensively, the Mavericks posted their second shutout of the season a week ago defeating Minot State University 58-0. Led by Tyler Henderson, who has 25 tackles (six solo) a tackle for loss and a forced fumble, MSU is a NSIC-best +8 turnover margin, which included five interceptions by a defensive unit allowing a league-low 241.0 yards per game.