SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Kirkeby-Over Stadium) -- The Bemidji State University football team took Augustana University to overtime Saturday in Sioux Falls, S.D., but could not come away with a victory during a 30-27 loss at Kirkeby-Over Stadium. Junior kicker Isaac Aanerud hit a 38-yard field goal to force the extra period for the Beavers (1-2, 0-0 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference North) against the Vikings (2-1, 0-0 NSIC South).
The Beavers “Gang Green” defense set the tempo early with two sacks on an opening three-and-out to set up a 65-yard punt return by junior corner back Gunner Olszewski. His season-long punt return set up the BSU offense at the Augustana 3-yardline, which was converted for seven points on the next play by senior running back Tahi Nomane.
The Vikings used time of possession and turnovers to take control after the Beavers’ opening score. Augustana forced two Bemidji State three-and-outs on their next two offensive possessions and tied the game at 7-7 following senior quarterback Jordan Hein’s second interception of the day. After two more Bemidji State three-and-outs, Augustana took control of the ball in BSU territory and went on to take a 14-7 lead just before halftime with a 25-yard touchdown pass.
Another huge special teams play set up Bemidji State’s second touchdown of the day as junior Ryan Kinard brought back the second-half-opening kickoff 82 yards to the Augustana 12-yardline. Two plays later, Hein found junior running back Andrew Lackowski for his second touchdown of the season, this time from nine yards out, to tie the game at 14-14.
Augustana regained the lead midway through the fourth quarter with a 24-yard field goal attempt, but saw the lead go the Bemidji State two possessions later. The Beaver offense started from their own 24-yardline and drove 76 yards in 1:25 to take a 21-17 lead. Hein threw his second touchdown pass of the day, this time going to senior wide receiver Blake Holder for 36 yards.
Following a 19-yard touchdown pass by Augustana with 22 seconds left in the game, the Bemidji State offense answered with short sideline passes to conserve time and work the field for a field goal opportunity as time expired. Junior kicker Isaac Aanerud made his first field goal in two tries on the day, this time from 38 yards out to send the game to overtime.
In overtime, Bemidji State started with possession and was only able to get as far as the Augustana 20-yardline and attempt a 37-yard field goal. Aanerud put the kick between the uprights on his second try of the day to put BSU up, 27-24, to open overtime. The Vikings were able to convert their overtime possession for six points coming off a five-yard touchdown run to seal the game.
Three Bemidji State student-athletes totaled over 10 tackles on the day, led by senior linebacker Niko Daniello and junior safety John Vogeler with 13 each. The front seven of the defense combined for six sacks on the day compared to three for the Vikings. Augustana’s offense outpaced Bemidji State, though, 499-245, and also owned the time of possession, 40:38 to 19:22.
Bemidji State returns home next weekend to face Southwest Minnesota State University in the 2017 Homecoming game. The Beavers and Mustangs meet at Chet Anderson Stadium with a 2:00 p.m. scheduled kickoff.
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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).