Ames voted NSIC North Division Defensive Preseason Player of the Year

Ames voted NSIC North Division Defensive Preseason Player of the Year
Wednesday, August 7, 2019
Ames voted NSIC North Division Defensive Preseason Player of the Year

BURNSVILLE, Minn. -- For the fourth consecutive season, the Bemidji State University football program is represented with a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference North Division Preseason Player of the Year as the 2019 Preseason Coaches’ Poll was released. Junior linebacker Gabe Ames was voted the 2019 NSIC North Division Defensive Preseason Player of the Year, the third straight season a Beaver was selected to the honor, while the team was voted to finish fifth overall and second in the NSIC North Division.

Ames, a native of Rosemount, Minn., follows in the footsteps of former Beaver Gunner Olszewski who earned the two most recent NSIC North Division Defensive Preseason Player of the Year honors in 2016 and 2017. Ames, BSU’s Defensive Player to Watch, also continues an overall streak of four years for preseason player of the year honors as former quarterback and current assistant coach Jordan Hein earned the 2016 NSIC North Division Offensive Preseason Co-Player of the Year. Ames led the “Gang Green” defense with 81 tackles and 12.0 tackles for a loss in 2018 and earned NSIC Player of the Week during the opening week of the season. He totaled 13+ tackles in three separate games before earning 2018 NSIC North Division All-Conference Defense First Team honors. Ames also earned 2017 NSIC North Division All-Conference Defense Second Team during his freshman season.

Senior offensive lineman Nick Niemi, a native of Cloquet, Minn., was named BSU’s Offensive Player to Watch after being selected to the Don Hansen All-Super Region Four Third Team Offense in 2018. He started eight of 10 games on the offensive line last season, including six games at left tackle. Niemi helped BSU rank third in the NSIC with 38.2 points per game, fourth with 214.7 rushing yards per game and fifth with 393.9 total yards per game. He was also a member of BSU’s offensive line that allowed the sixth fewest sacks in 2018.

The Beavers collected 169 points in the overall NSIC Preseason Coaches’ Poll, being placed behind first-place Minnesota State University, Mankato, University of Minnesota Duluth, University of Sioux Falls and Winona State University. Minnesota State earned the top spot with 224 points and 14 first-place votes, while Minnesota Duluth was selected with 208 points and two first-place votes. Of the four teams ahead of Bemidji State, BSU will play Minnesota Duluth at 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28 and Winona State at 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, both at Chet Anderson Stadium in Bemidji, Minn.

Minnesota Duluth finished ahead of Bemidji State in the NSIC North Division Poll with 49 total points and seven first-place votes compared to 42 points and one first-place vote for BSU.

Bemidji State returns seven starters on offense and five on defense, including six All-NSIC selections in total. The “Gang Green” returns to the field for their season opener at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 5 at Northern State University. BSU opens its home schedule at Chet Anderson Stadium at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 12 against University of Mary.

NSIC Preseason Coaches’ Poll
Team (First Place Votes) Total Points

  1. Minnesota State (14) 224
  2. Minnesota Duluth (2) 208
  3. Sioux Falls 187
  4. Winona State 182
  5. Bemidji State 169
  6. Augustana 158
  7. MSU Moorhead 138
  8. St. Cloud State 134
  9. Concordia-St. Paul 109
  10. Northern State 90
  11. Southwest Minnesota State 79
  12. Upper Iowa 79
  13. Wayne State 73
  14. U-Mary 39
  15. Minot State 36
  16. Minnesota Crookston 15

NSIC North Division Poll
Team (First Place Votes) Total Points

  1. Minnesota Duluth (7) 49
  2. Bemidji State (1) 42
  3. MSU Moorhead 35
  4. St. Cloud State 34
  5. Northern State 24
  6. U-Mary 17
  7. Minot State 16
  8. Minnesota Crookston 7

NSIC South Division Poll
Team (First Place Votes) Total Points

  1. Minnesota State (7) 49
  2. Winona State 39
  3. Sioux Falls 37
  4. Augustana (1) 34
  5. Concordia-St. Paul 25
  6. Wayne State 16
  7. Southwest Minnesota State 12
  8. Upper Iowa 12

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).