BEMIDJI, Minn. -- The boys of fall are back for the Bemidji State University football program as the squad takes on Northern State University in the 2018 season opener at 6 p.m. Thursday night at Chet Anderson Stadium. The Beavers and Wolves have been near the top of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference North Division standings for the past few seasons and will meet in the season opener for the first time in the series history.
- Bemidji State holds a 21-19-1 lead in the series against Northern State
- BSU has won three straight games against NSU and is 14-4 since 2000
- The series began Sept. 27, 1957, a 14-13 win by Northern State
- The Beavers won last season’s meeting, 44-17, in Aberdeen, S.D.
- Head Coach Brent Bolte, in his third season, is 17-6 since taking over the program in 2016
- Bolte’s 17 wins are the most by any BSU head coach over their first two seasons
- BSU has finished among the top five in scoring offense and defense over his first two seasons as head coach
- The Beavers enter 2018 ranked fifth in the overall NSIC Preseason Coaches’ Poll and second in the NSIC North Division Preseason Coaches’ Poll
- The squad returns four 2017 All-NSIC selections, including three on defense, two on offense and one on special teams
- Senior defensive back Gunner Olszewski was selected as the NSIC North Division Defensive Preseason Player of the Year for the second consecutive season
- Olszewski was named to the 2018 D2Football.com Preseason All-America Second Team
- Olszewski has previously earned two preseason All-America honors, three All-NSIC Defensive First Team honors, All-NSIC Special Teams Honorable Mention, 2015 NSIC Newcomer of the Year, Conference Commissioner’s Association (CCA) All-Super Region Three Second Team Defense, three NSIC Player of the Week accolades and D2Football.com Defensive Player of the Week, after tying a program single-game record with three interceptions Oct. 31, 2015 at Minot State University.
- Senior running back Andrew Lackowski was chosen as BSU’s Offensive Player to Watch
- Lackowski ranked third in the NSIC with 959 rushing yards and 87.2 rushing yards per game last season
- Lackowski led the Beavers with 1,206 all-purpose yards and nine total touchdowns
- Senior safety John Vogeler holds the BSU program record with three career interceptions returned for touchdowns, all returned in the 2017 season
- All five of Vogeler’s career interceptions occurred during his junior season, after which he was selected to the D2CCA Football All-Super Region Four First Team
- The duo of Olszewski and Vogeler are two of three returning starters on defense with at least 30 games played in their careers: Olszewski (33), senior defensive lineman Dylan Ellingson (31) and Vogeler (30) have combined for 94 total games played as a Beaver
- Senior defensive lineman Jeff Harris (29), senior defensive back Austin Contreras (22) and senior defensive lineman Alex Hoffman (21) are the only other members of the “Gang Green” defense to play in over 20 games
- The BSU defensive unit finished third in the nation with six defensive touchdowns and seventh with 20 interceptions
- BSU’s red zone defense ranked eighth in the nation at 67 percent
- The Beavers scored five of their six defensive touchdowns within the first five games of the 2017 season
- Senior kicker/punter Isaac Aanerud has taken part in 26 games and sits atop BSU’s all-time field goals list with 30 made attempts and holds the program’s top two marks in single-season field goals with 15 in 2017 and 11 in 2015
- Aanerud is a 2017 All-NSIC Second Team Special Teams honoree and has earned two NSIC Player of the Week honors throughout his career while ranking 11th nationally in 2017 with a .833 field goal percentage
- Junior quarterback Jared Henning returns as the team’s most experienced signal-caller with 19 games played in
- Henning holds a passing efficiency of 100.2 during his two-season career with 140 passing yards, 320 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns
- Redshirt freshman Brandon Alt will make his first career start for BSU against Northern State after sitting out 2017 as a redshirt
- Bemidji State set a new program record with 18 All-NSIC selections in 2017 while 11 student-athletes were named to the NSIC All-Academic Team
- Northern State is coming off their third straight 6-5 season in 2017
- The Wolves return on All-NSIC performer in linebacker Noah MacPherson
- NSU seniors MacPherson and sophomore wide receiver Zech Culbreath were picked as the BSU Players to Watch in 2018
- The team brings back the NSIC’s 10th-ranked defense and 12th-ranked offense in total yards from last season
- NSU finished 10th in both scoring offense and defense in 2017
For more information on the Bemidji State athletic programs, tickets or schedules, visit BSUBeavers.com, follow the Beavers on Twitter (@BSUBeavers or @BSUBeaversFB), like them on Facebook (facebook.com/BSUBeavers or facebook.com/BSUBeaverFootball) or sign up for the TXTUpdates from BSUBeavers.com text-messaging system through the "Multimedia" 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).