BEMIDJI, Minn. (Chet Anderson Stadium) – A combination of the “Gang Green” defense and a 100-plus-yard rushing day for senior running back Andrew Lackowski helped the Bemidji State University football program to a comeback, 25-21 win over No. 21 University of Sioux Falls for its ninth straight Homecoming victory.
The Beavers got off to a strong start during their first possession, driving 74 yards on 19 plays to take a quick 3-0 lead. Sioux Falls scored the next three touchdowns of the game, taking a 21-3 lead midway through the third quarter. All three of the Cougars’ touchdowns came in BSU territory, including two touchdown drives that started on the BSU 15- and 14-yardlines.
Lackowski punched in his first of two rushing touchdowns on the day following USF’s 21-3 score, getting into the end zone from five yards away. The squad attempted a two-point conversion to bring the deficit to 10 points, which was a successful pass from Lackowski to junior fullback Matt Gross out of the Wildcat formation.
Following the 8:30 mark in the third quarter, the “Gang Green” defense played unblemished. Sophomore linebacker Jaylen Jenkins put a stop to a USF drive on the BSU side of the field with a 40-yard interception return. Junior quarterback Jared Henning followed four plays later with a 40-yard touchdown connection through the air to senior wide receiver Jameson White, bringing the Beavers to within three points of the Cougars, 21-18.
BSU’s defense came up huge again midway through the fourth quarter, halting a 16-play, 59-yard drive by USF for a turnover on downs. The Beavers proceeded to drive 74 yards on 13 plays to score Lackowski’s second rushing score of the day and the team’s first lead since the second quarter. Sioux Falls totaled minus-six yards on its final two drives of the game, setting up BSU’s ninth straight victory on Homecoming.
Lackowski led the BSU offense with 126 rushing yards on 35 carries, the first time a BSU back has totaled at least 30 attempts since 2013. Henning led the aerial attack with 166 passing yards, including six completions for 49 yards to sophomore wide receiver Mannie Kugmeh and four completions and 48 yards to junior wide receiver Jacob Anderson.
The BSU defense forced 10 tackles for a loss for the second straight game, led by senior defensive lineman Dylan Ellingson and junior linebacker Grant Bushinski with 2.0 each. Joining Jenkins with an interception was senior defensive back John Vogeler. Sophomore linebacker Gabe Ames led the “Gang Green” with nine tackles, including 1.0 tackle for a loss and 0.5 sacks. Senior defensive back Maurice Willis followed Ames with eight tackles.
Bemidji State plays its final road game against NSIC South teams Saturday, Oct. 13 at Upper Iowa University. The Beavers and Peacocks kickoff at 2 p.m. in Fayette, Iowa.
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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).