MOORHEAD, Minn. (Nemzek Stadium) -- Bemidji State University closed out its regular season with a 45-14 win over Minnesota State University Moorhead to bring the Battle Axe back to Bemidji, Minn. Senior quarterback Jordan Hein threw three touchdown passes and caught one while the Beavers (8-3, 6-1 North) “Gang Green” defense totaled 10 sacks on the day.
The Beavers took control of the game early with 17 unanswered points throughout the first half. Junior safety John Vogeler made his fifth interception of the season to set up Bemidji State at the MSUM 5-yard line on the team’s second possession of the day. The Beavers continued to drive 95 yards in 3:28 to jump on top, capped by a 27-yard wide receiver sweep to freshman Mannie Kugmeh, his first rushing touchdown of his career.
Two consecutive punts at the end of the first quarter and beginning of the second allowed Bemidji State to go on back-to-back scoring possessions to build its 17-0 halftime lead. Junior kicker Isaac Aanerud converted his 15th field goal of the season, which extended his single-season BSU record, from 27 yards out. Senior quarterback tossed in his first passing touchdown of the day on the next possession, a jump ball to sophomore wide receiver Jacob Anderson from two yards out.
A 35-yard kickoff return by junior corner back Gunner Olszewski and 45 yard catch by senior wide receiver Christian Lunde set up the BSU offense at the MSUM 5-yard line on the opening drive of the second half. Hein added a stat to his resume that he had not seen in his career as he caught a one-yard touchdown pass from Lunde, which is also Lunde’s first career passing touchdown. The trick play put the Beavers up 24-0, while the Dragons scored on a 71-yard catch and run on the ensuing drive for their first points of the day.
Hein tossed his second and third touchdown passes of the day to sophomore wide receiver Blair Van Ess, who pulled in passes of 41 and 31 yards on the scoring plays. Van Ess’s fourth and fifth touchdown receptions of the season put Bemidji State ahead, 38-7.
Hein finished the day with 245 passing yards, three touchdowns and one catch for one touchdown. Three Beavers receivers went over 70 yards receiving, including Lunde with 76, Van Ess with 75 and two touchdowns, and Anderson with 73 yards and one touchdown. Lunde led the receiving corps with five catches. Junior running back Andrew Lackowski led the backfield with 76 rushing yards while senior running back Michael Washington followed with 69 yards on nine carries and an 18-yard touchdown run.
Junior defensive lineman Dylan Ellingson and senior linebacker Niko Daniello each led the “Gang Green” defense with nine tackles apiece, while senior linebacker Jamison Evans totaled a career-high 3.5 sacks for a loss of 20 yards. Bemidji State totaled two interceptions off MSUM’s true freshman quarterback, as senior linebacker Trysten Ross and Vogeler each snagged one.
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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).