BEMIDJI, Minn. (Chet Anderson Stadium) -- A pair of first quarter turnovers and squandered offensive opportunities late cost the Bemidji State University football team a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference North win Saturday in damp, cool conditions at Chet Anderson Stadium. St. Cloud State University built a 21-7 lead in the opening moments of the second quarter and would not look back handing the Beavers a 38-27 setback.
The Beavers’ out gained SCSU by nearly 80 yards, scored on each of its redzone opportunities and piled up nearly 400 yards of total offense, but stumbled out of the gates and ultimately, could not recover.
The teams traded touchdowns on their first possessions of the game, but when the Beavers turned the ball over on their own eight yardline after a botched snap on a punt, SCSU would begin to grab a hold of the game.
St. Cloud State would need just three plays to find the endzone, and the 10-yard pass touchdown from Mitch Watkins to Fred Williams sparked a 14-point run to put the Huskies in the lead for good.
The Beavers’ unfavorable luck carried over to the next possession. After moving the ball across midfield, Derek Edholm’s (Jr., QB, Anoka, Minn.) pass was intercepted by Matt Hansmann and returned to the BSU 18 yardline. The turnover would set up a second touchdown pass from Watkins to Williams from six yards out to put SCSU up 21-7 just 48 seconds into the second quarter.
The Beavers turned their focus to the air for the remainder of the first half and used a 57-yard pass play to Cameron Abram (So., WR, Brooklyn Park, Minn.) and the first collegiate touchdown reception by Jody Henningson (So., WR, North Aurora, Ill.) to reel the Huskies to within 21-13. After SCSU pushed its lead to 28-13, the Beavers capped a seven-play, 37-yard drive, ignited by a 47-yard kick return by Christian Metz (Fr., WR, Cambridge, Minn.), with a touchdown pass from Lance Rongstad (Fr., QB, Eleva, Wis.) to Brian Leonhardt (Fr., TE, Blaine, Minn.) to head into the intermission trailing the visiting Huskies 28-20.
St. Cloud State continued to apply pressure as the second half got underway.
Receiving the opening kick off, the Huskies needed just two plays to add to their lead. Watkins posted his third touchdown pass of the game, this time from 43 yards out to Tyler Allery, giving SCSU a 35-20 advantage.
The Beavers again responded with a scoring drive of their own.
BSU opened the drive on their own 40 yardline and marched the ball down to the Huskies’ 25, before Edholm connected with Dustin Kroeplin (Fr., RB, Withee, Wis.) on a catch-and-run for a TD. The score would bring the Beavers to within eight, 35-27, but was as close as BSU would get.
Bemidji State’s Brody Scheff (So., S, Waconia, Minn.) got the ball back in the hands of Edholm and the BSU offense after recording his first interception of the season with just under seven minutes to play in the third quarter, but the SCSU defense stood strong forcing a three-and-out to get the ball back.
After the Gang Green defense answered posting a three-and-out of its own, Andrew Schultz (Jr., WR, Grand Forks, N.D.) fumbled a fair catch, to put the ball back in the hands of the SCSU offense.
St. Cloud State accounted for the only scoring of the fourth quarter when Tyler Aldridge made good on a 22-yard field goal attempt with just over eight minutes to play.
BSU out gained SCSU 341 yards to the Huskies’ 264, but for just the second time all season, was edged in time of possession 28:26 to 31:34.
Rongstad paced a BSU running attack that posted 120 yards overall, with a career-high 96 yards and a touchdown. Edholm was 17-of-31 for 200 yards and two touchdowns along with one interception through the air, while Rongstad completed two-of-four for 21 yards and a score.
To lead a defensive unit that held its opponent under 100 yards rushing for the fourth consecutive outing, Jake Anderson (Sr., LB, Karlstad, Minn.) piled up a career-high 16 tackles (three solo), which included three quarterback sacks and three tackles for loss, while he added a pass break up. In addition to the interception, Scheff also collected a career-best 14 stops (five solo).
The Beavers (4-2; 3-2 NSIC) look to get back on track Oct. 10 when they host Wayne State College (Neb.) for NSIC action. The opening kick off is slated for 1 p.m. at Chet Anderson Stadium.