BEMIDJI, Minn. (Chet Anderson Stadium) – New faces across the offense and defense helped bring the Bemidji State University football program a season-opening 38-17 win against Northern State University Thursday night at Chet Anderson Stadium. A new face, redshirt quarterback Brandon Alt, threw for three touchdowns while senior safety led the veteran BSU secondary and tied a career high with 17 tackles.
The Beaver offense had no trouble getting down the field over the first few possessions, putting up 10 points on their first two drives. Alt threw the first of his three touchdowns to transfer wide receiver Landon Jones for a 71-yard score to go up, 10-0. Four consecutive punts halted BSU’s momentum before sophomore wide receiver Mannie Kugmeh caught an 18-yard touchdown pass from Alt just before halftime.
The “Gang Green” defense set the tone for the game early while forcing four punts, two turnover on downs and a missed field goal through the first two quarters. The only points allowed by Bemidji State in the first half came by a 32-yard field goal. Olszewski totaled eight tackles through the first half alone, followed by sophomore linebacker Gabe Ames with six.
Despite allowing a touchdown to NSU on its first drive of the second half, BSU was able to create separation with three consecutive touchdown drives beginning late in the third quarter.
Senior running back Andrew Lackowski busted out for a 58-yard touchdown run before entering the fourth quarter where Alt found junior wide receiver Jacob Anderson for his third and final passing score of the night, a 40-yard touchdown reception. Redshirt freshman running back Jalen Frye carried the bulk of the carries on the night, which paid off with a 64-yard touchdown scamper to plateau the Beavers’ lead at 38-10.
Two Beavers finished the game with double-digit tackle totals, including Olszewski with 17 and Ames with 13. Ames’ tackles set a new career high while he also added 3.0 tackles for a loss, two forced fumbles and one pass break up. Junior corner back Michael Junker brought in the first interception of the season for the BSU defense and finished with seven tackles.
Alt finished his game 11-of-20 passing for 199 yards and three touchdowns, with an average completion of 18.1 yards. Jones led the receiving corps with 102 receiving yards on four catches, followed by Anderson with 40 yards on one catch and Kugmeh with 35 yards on three catches. Lackowski and Frye each went over 100 rushing yards on the night, as Lackowski averaged 11.8 yards per carry and Frye averaged 6.8 yards per rush.
Bemidji State heads back to the field Saturday, Sept. 8 against former Beaver Football offensive coordinator and current University of Mary head coach Craig Bagnell. BSU and U-Mary kicks off at 2 p.m. from NDU Resources Community Bowl in Bismarck, N.D.
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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).