13th annual “Beaver Bash’ opens 2011 slate
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
13th annual “Beaver Bash’ opens 2011 slate

Setting the Scene
Date:     Thursday, August 25, 2011
Location:    Bemidji, Minn.
Kickoff:    7:00 p.m.
Stadium:    Chet Anderson Stadium
Stadium Capacity/Surface:    3,500/grass
Local Radio: 92.1 WMIS The River  
Play-by-play:    Brian Schultz
    Analyst:    Brian Bissonette
    Sidelines:    Kelly Schultz
Internet Audio:    www.wmisfm.com/ and
            www.beaverradionetwork.com
Web cast: Due to technical issues, there will not be a web cast for this game.

The Game
The Bemidji State University football team (0-0; 0-0 NSIC, 0-0 NSIC North) opens the lid on the 2011 season with Minot State University at Chet Anderson Stadium Aug. 25 at 7 p.m. for the 13th Annual Beaver Bash after posting 7-4 overall and 6-4 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference records in 2010. Minot State finished last season 6-4 overall and 6-2 in the Dakota Athletic Conference. MSU is making the transition from the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) to NCAA Division II and will be members of the NSIC beginning 2012-13.      

The Series
The Beaver Bash began in 1999 when Minot State visited Bemidji for the first-ever meeting between the two teams. BSU won the contest 28-7. Bemidji State owns the all-time series record 11-1. MSU won its lone contest in 2002 at Chet Anderson Stadium 35-28. Since, BSU has owned the last eight games, including last season’s 24-7 victory at Minot State.       

The Coaches

Bemidji State: Jeff Tesch is in his 16th season roaming the sidelines at Bemidji State. He has posted an overall record of 98-63 (.609), which includes a 74-46 (.617) mark in NSIC tilts. In 15 seasons, Tesch has established BSU standards for games coached (161), victories (98), career winning percentage (.609) and conference wins (74).  Prior to his tenure at BSU, Tesch, a two-time NSIC Coach of the Year (1999 and 2006), spent 12 years as an assistant at North Dakota, two on the staff of Central Missouri and one season at Montana State.
Minot State: Paul Rudolph returns for his fifth season at the helm of the Minot State University football program. He has been extremely successful in his first four seasons, posting a 26-15 record and leading the Beavers to the NAIA Playoffs for the first time in eight seasons in 2009, winning his second share of the Dakota Athletic Conference title in three seasons. He was named the DAC Coach of the Year in 2007. Rudolph came to Minot State by the way of St. Cloud State, where he was the Offensive Coordinator and offensive line coach for seven seasons. He is a graduate from Minot State, playing quarterback on the football team and participating in track and field. 

The Program
Bemidji State’s all-time record is 315-398-24 (.444) dating back to 1926, which includes a 177-249-9 (.416) mark in NSIC play. The Beavers own five conference titles (1947, 50, 57, 59 and 2006) and count the 2006 Mineral Water Bowl as their first  post-season appearance. Under the direction of Tesch, BSU has posted winning records in 11 of the last 12 years and have registered nine consecutive winning home campaigns.

Quick Count
•  Head coach Jeff Tesch is just two wins short of 100 for his career.
• The Beavers were slated eighth in the NSIC Preseason Coaches’ Poll.
• Senior Cory Immerman (OL) and junior Brian Leonhardt (TE) were named to the Consensus Draft Services 2011 Preseason All-America Honorable Mention Football Team.
• BSU returns nine all-conference players to the 2011 roster, including first-teamer Leonhardt.
• The Beavers are 4-1 all-time at home versus Minot State.
• Assistant Head Coach Rich Jahner’s son, Trace, is a sophomore defensive back for Minot State.
• The entire defensive line will be new to starting today, as BSU lost all three of its all-conference defensive linemen in Rob Wills (first team), Jordan Lardinois (second team) and Jake Zimmerman (honorable mention).

2010 Notes:
• Junior kicker/punter Jesse Sundby was named NSIC Special Teams Player of the Week Oct. 25, 2010 after kicking three field goals and two extra points for 11 total points, including the game-winning 26-yard field goal.
• Juniors Lance Rongstad and Justin Lee were the only players in the NSIC to throw, catch and rush for a touchdown in the 2010 regular season.
• BSU was 6-0 in 2010 when scoring first and 7-0 when leading after the first quarter.
• The Beavers were 5-1 when sophomore Dustin Kroeplin rushes for a touchdown in 2010 and are 13-1 in his two-year career.
• BSU finished 2010 in the top 25 in the NCAA stats summary in four categories, pass defense (15th, 158.8 yds/game), scoring defense (16th, 16.9 pts/game), punt returns (18th, 13.7 yds/return) and total defense (18th, 279.9 yds allowed). 
• Kroeplin was 52nd in rushing yards per game nationally (80.2 yds/gm). Junior Cory Crosby was tied for 50th nationally and tied for second in the league in tackles per game (8.36 tackles/gm).
• Before allowing 21 third quarter points to Minnesota Duluth Sept. 25, 2010, the Beavers had yet to allow a single point in the second half of their three previous games. With a touchdown and zeros on the clock in the fourth quarter, Upper Iowa (Oct. 2) ended BSU’s run of not allowing points in the final frame. On the season, BSU allowed just 16 points in the fourth quarter to finish tops in the conference.
• The Beavers scored 145 points on the back end of halftime, while allowing 62, which was third in the NSIC behind No. 1 UMD and No. 14 Augustana. 

The Line on the lines
Bemidji State returns most of its entire offensive line from last season, including all-conference players senior left tackle Davis Mickelson, senior center Cory Immerman and junior left guard Brett DeLange. Last season the line protected an all-conference second team running back in Dustin Kroeplin and honorable mention quarterback Derek Edholm. On the defensive front, BSU will look to defensive ends senior Josh Beste and junior Bryan Syrstad and nose tackle sophomore Matt Shaver to replace three all-conference linemen.  

Home Cookin’
At home, the Beavers have a streak of nine winning seasons, owning a 4-1 home record in 2010. Since Jeff Tesch took the helm of the BSU football program prior to the 1996 season, the Beavers have posted a 52-21 overall record with a 42-15 mark in NSIC play at “The Chet.” Tesch and the Beavers own undefeated home slates in 1998 (4-0), 2000 (5-0) and 2005 (4-0).

Seeing Red zone
The Beavers spent the 2009 season scoring 35 of the 39 times (89.7-percent) they entered the red zone, scoring 31 touchdowns. The mark ranked second in the NSIC. In 2010, the Beavers were 35-of-39 (89.7%), scoring 221 points (29 TDs and six FGs) to rank second in the NSIC.

Special Teams Player of the Week
Senior kicker/punter Jesse Sundby was announced Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Special Teams Player of the Week Oct. 25, 2010. Sundby kicked a 26-yard field goal with 21 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter to give the Beavers the 23-22 victory against University of Mary. The field goal was his third of the game (36, 28, 26), which established a career-high and was the first time since 2000 a BSU kicker made three field goals in a game. The three field goals ties him for the second most by an NSIC kicker this season. His first field goal was from 36 yards out, a career-long for the junior. Adding two extra points, Sundby totaled 11 points in the game, establishing another career-mark. He also punted six times, totaling 250 yards (41.7 yards per kick), with a long of 58 and one touchback.
    This season, Sundby is 5-for-6 (83.3%) in field goals and 24-for-26 (92.3%) on extra points to rank as one of the most consistent overall kickers in the league. He is the first member of the Bemidji State football team to win the award since he earned special teams honors last season after the Minnesota State University Moorhead game Sept. 19.
 
Take it to the house, Take to the house
Senior linebacker Luke Knutson turned BSU’s first fumble recovery of the season into a 62 yard touchdown in the game against Minnesota Duluth Sept. 25, 2010, marking the first BSU fumble recovery for a touchdown since Sept. 19, 2004 when Seth Iverson returned a fumble 62 yards versus Wisconsin-River Falls.
     On Oct. 2, 2010 against Upper Iowa, junior linebacker Cory Crosby found an errant pass in his hands and ran it 10 yards into the end zone for a score. It served as his first career interception and first career points. The last Beaver to return an interception for a touchdown was current senior defensive lineman Rob Wills against Minnesota State University, Mankato last season.
    Senior defensive end Jordan Lardinois got in on the scoring Oct. 23, 2010 against University of Mary, picking up a fumble forced by linemate junior Josh Beste and rumbling 30 yards for his first-career touchdown.
    The fourth defensive touchdown came in the finale as sophomore Buckley Wright posted a 40-yard interception for a touchdown against Minnesota, Crookston Nov. 13, 2010.  

Keep ‘em under 100
The Bemidji State defense has been hard on opposing rushing attacks for the past four seasons. Despite allowing 235 yards versus Minnesota Duluth Oct. 24, 2009, the Beavers managed to keep their opponents to an average of just 81.2 yards per game to rank 7th in all of NCAA Division II in 2009.
    In 2009 the Beavers went 8-1 when holding their opponent under 100 yards and since 1999, BSU is 42-8 when allowing fewer than 100 rushing yards. UMD’s Isaac Odim (139 in 2008 and 106 in 2009) , CU’s Sam Campbell (137 in 2010) and SCSU’s Damon Treat (125 in 2010) are the only running backs to gain over 100 yards versus BSU since Oct. 18, 2008.
    The Beavers started the 2010 campaign on the right foot, knocking the Minot State running game backwards -10 yards and then holding Augustana to 63 yards rushing, following that performance with a stingy 31 rushing yards allowed against Southwest Minnesota State. BSU had a uncharacteristic three games Sept. 25-Oct. 9, allowing 235 yards to Minnesota Duluth (Sept. 25), 139 to Upper Iowa (Oct. 2) and 227 to Concordia University (Oct. 9). The Beavers got back on track against MSU Moorhead (Oct. 16), allowing just 71 yards rushing. U-Mary posted 105 yards on the ground against BSU Oct. 23 and Northern State posted 110 Oct. 30. The Huskies ran on BSU Nov. 6, totaling 241 on the ground, allowing Damon Treat 125 of those yards.

Air traffic control
Known for its run defense the ‘Gang Green’ was better defending the pass in 2010, allowing just 147.0 yards per game through the air, ranking them third in the conference and 15th in the nation. In 11 games, BSU opponents completed just 147 passes in 286 attempts (51.4%) with eight interceptions. 

Pick-happy

In the Beavers’ final four games of 2009 they totaled nine interceptions, which include three versus Minnesota-Crookston Oct. 17 and three versus U-Mary Oct. 31. In 2010, BSU failed to get a pick against Minot State (Aug. 26), but got an important one against Augustana College when Chris Bellinger intercepted a pass in the end zone. BSU had eight interceptions this season by six different players. 

Beavers versus ranked opponents
In 2009, BSU faced four nationally-ranked opponents marking the first time the Beavers have battled four of the American Football Coaches Association’s (AFCA) top 25 teams in the same season. 
    Bemidji State was 2-2 versus ranked opponents in 2009 dropping Winona State Oct. 12, then-ranked 20th and earning a 21-10 victory versus No. 14 Wayne State (Neb.) Oct. 10. The Beavers missed a 4-0 mark versus nationally-ranked by the narrowest of margins. BSU battled No. 10 Minnesota State to overtime Sept. 5 before falling to the Mavericks 37-34 and dropped a one-point game, 35-34, to No. 7 Minnesota  Duluth Oct. 24. In 2010, BSU fell to the Bulldogs, who were ranked No. 2 in the AFCA poll, 44-21. Augustana found its way in the top 25 in the AFCA and DII Football polls after defeating Bemidji State 10-0 Sept. 11. St. Cloud State was ranked 25th in the 35-14 loss to the Huskies Nov. 6.

Scoring streak snapped at 133
With a 24-6 victory at Minot State to start the 2010 season, the Beavers had scored in 133 consecutive games. In a 10-0 loss to Augustana College at Chet Anderson Stadium Sept. 11, 2010 the streak ended. The last time BSU was held without a single point was Nov. 8, 1997 when Minnesota Duluth defeated BSU 41-0.

Coaching Milestones for Tesch
In his 16th season, BSU head coach Jeff Tesch has accumulated almost every coaching record at BSU. On Oct. 31, 2009 he accomplished two more feats. He posted his 90th career win. Ironically, it came in his 150th game coached at BSU.

We’re goin’ streakin’
Running back Dustin Kroeplin scored a TD in each of the Beavers’ last nine games in 2009. During that stretch he posted 10 touchdowns, running eight in and catching two more. He did not play against Minot State (Aug. 28, 2010) and ended the streak in the loss to Augie (Sept. 11, 2010). He finished the last seven games of 2010, finding the end zone in six games, scoring eight times, seven on the ground and one in the air.
 

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