BEMIDJI, Minn. – The Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Interdivisional series concludes Saturday as Bemidji State University hosts No. 1 Minnesota State University, Mankato at Chet Anderson Stadium. The Beavers and Mavericks kick off at 1 p.m. in the 48th game of the series and BSU’s first game against a No. 1 ranked opponent.
- Minnesota State holds a 30-15-2 lead in the all-time series against Bemidji State.
- BSU won the most recent matchup in Mankato, Minn., 45-17, when MSU was ranked No. 6 in the country.
- The series began Oct. 8, 1933, a 6-0 win by Bemidji State in Mankato.
- The Beavers and Mavericks have played twice when one of the teams is ranked in the American Football Coaches Association Top 25 Poll.
- Bemidji State saw the script flipped from a week ago during its 27-24 loss at Upper Iowa University. The Beavers led the Peacocks, 24-6, with 8:48 remaining in the third quarter before UIU scored 21 unanswered points to secure its comeback victory over BSU.
- After receiving votes in the AFCA Top 25 Coaches Poll for the first time since Week Three of the 2017 season, Bemidji State dropped out of the poll after its second loss of the season.
- The Beavers took their first loss during the Brent Bolte era when leading after the third quarter. It is also just the third loss under Bolte when rushing for at least 200 yards and winning the turnover battle.
- The “Gang Green” defense moved into first in the NSIC with a turnover margin of 1.56 after gaining four takeaways against Upper Iowa. Senior defensive backs John Vogeler and Gunner Olszewski, and junior defensive back Michael Junker each grabbed interceptions while senior linebacker Andre Chisley Jr., picked up a fumble forced by senior linebacker Justin Van Houtan.
- Senior wide receiver Landon Jones took the opening kickoff return back 96 yards for a touchdown, the program’s first kickoff return for a touchdown since 2007.
- Olszewski ranks second in BSU history with 913 career punt return yards and third with 12 interceptions. He holds the program’s all-time record with 181 solo tackles and also moved into seventh place all-time at BSU in total tackles, coming into Saturday’s game against Minnesota State with 305.
- Olszewski ranks second in the nation with a 19.9 punt return average and three punt returns of more than 35 yards on the season.
- Olszewski was selected as the NSIC North Division Defensive Player of the Year and BSU’s Defensive Player to Watch for the second consecutive season. He has previously earned three All-NSIC Defensive First Team honors, All-NSIC Special Teams Honorable Mention, NSIC Newcomer of the Year, Lindy’s Sports Magazine Preseason All-Division II Second Team, Football Gameplan’s 2016 Preseason All-American Team, Conference Commissioner’s Association (CCA) All-Super Region Three Second Team Defense, four NSIC Player of the Week accolades and D2Football.com Defensive Player of the Week, after tying a program single-game record of three interceptions Oct. 31, 2015 at Minot State University.
- The Beavers are one of the most efficient red zone offenses in the country, ranking third with a red zone offense of 96.4 percent. BSU has scored 20 touchdowns and seven field goals in 28 red zone trips this season.
- The “Gang Green” defense is tied for best red zone defense in the nation at 52.0 percent. BSU ranks within the top 10 nationally in scoring defense (14.4), interceptions (14) and passing efficiency defense (91.81).
- Senior running back Andrew Lackowski topped 120 yards rushing for the second straight week after totaling 121 against the Peacocks. He added two rushing touchdowns and now has seven on the season to rank fourth in the NSIC.
- The Beavers entered the 2018 season ranked 5th in the overall NSIC Preseason Coaches’ Poll and 2nd in the North Division for the third consecutive season.
- Head Coach Brent Bolte currently holds the program’s highest winning percentage at .733 (22-8). His 22 wins in 30 games is the most among all BSU coaches over their first 30 games.
- Minnesota State recorded 595 yards of total offense en route to a 62-13 win over Minot State University last week.
- The win pushed MSU to a 7-0 record and has the team in the No. 1 ranking in the AFCA Top 25 Poll for the seventh consecutive week.
- MSU enters the weekend with 20 straight wins against NSIC opponents.
- Sophomore running back Justin Taormina earned NSIC Special Teams Player of the Week after averaging 48 yards per kickoff return, including a 98-yard return for a touchdown. He led the conference in all-purpose yards last week with 243.
- Junior wide receiver Shane Zylstra caught three touchdown passes against Minot State, his third career game with at least three receiving touchdowns.
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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).