August 25, 20111st2nd3rd4thFinal
Bemidji State71010027
1st Quarter
BSUTD06:28Hemling 2 Yd Run (Pulkinen kick)
2nd Quarter
BSUFG01:16Pulkinen 38 Yd
BSUTD00:42Rongstad 19 Yd Run (Pulkinen kick)
3rd Quarter
BSUFG01:48Pulkinen 23 Yd
BSUTD00:51Christensen (Pulkinen kick)
Stats at a GlanceMINOTBSU
1st Downs1315
3rd Down Conversions3-145-16
4th Down Conversions1-21-1
Passing (Comp-Att)161 (21-40) 169 (15-23)
Rushing (Att)27 (24) 105 (40)
Total Yards188274
Fumbles Lost10
Beavers open 2011 campaign with 27-0 shutout victory
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Beavers open 2011 campaign with 27-0 shutout victory
BEMIDJI, Minn. – The Bemidji State University football team’s ‘Gang Green” defense held Minot State University to just 188 total yards, while forcing seven turnovers in a 27-0 victory in front of the largest crowd in Chet Anderson Stadium history Thursday. BSU now owns a 12-1 all-time record versus MSU in the annual ‘Beaver Bash.’

A record 4,711 fans packed Chet Anderson Stadium to see Bemidji State roll past its fellow Beavers and record its first shutout since Nov. 6, 2004 when BSU downed Wayne State College 24-0 at the H.H.H. Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minn. The last time the Beavers blanked an opponent at The Chet was Oct. 19, 2002 with a 37-0 victory against Southwest Minnesota State University.

The defense was suburb all game, holding Minot State to just one first down in the first half and letting it into the red zone just once, just to shut the door and force MSU to turn the ball over on downs. The home team recorded five interceptions by four different players to total 101 return yards and a touchdown. The last time BSU posted five pick-offs was against Upper Iowa University Nov. 9, 2007. Senior safety Brody Scheff (Waconia, Minn.) brought down a career-high two interceptions that totaled 40 yards.  

The BSU defense has now recorded an interception for a touchdown in back-to-back games. Sophomore Buckley Wright (LB, Sioux City, Iowa) brought a 47-yard interception back for a touchdown in the season finale last year against University of Minnesota, Crookston and now freshman Scott Christensen (DB, Stockbridge, Ga.), playing in his first collegiate contest, followed suit with a 27-yarder against MSU.

The offense wasn’t too bad either, as junior quarterback Lance Rongstad (Eleva, Wis.) started his first collegiate game under center. He proved he has an arm after displaying his legs the past two seasons by going 15-for-23 (65.2%) with zero interceptions and totaling 169 yards through the air.

Rongstad didn’t disappoint when he decided to tuck the ball and run, leading the team in rushing with 50 net yards and an amazing touchdown that closed the second half scoring. After the pocket collapsed, it looked like Rongstad would go down behind the line of scrimmage, but he found his way through, broke another tackle and then scampered for the 19-yard touchdown with less than a minute remaining in the first half to give BSU the 17-0 lead.

The Beavers started the scoring on its first drive, taking the ball off the opening kick-off and marching 65 yards in 14 plays for a touchdown that took 8:32 off the game clock. The methodical drive was highlighted by a 21-yard catch and run by junior wide receiver Matt Gandrud (Elk River, Minn.) and capped by junior Brad Hemling’s (RB, Richland Center, Wis.) two-yard touchdown run.

Sophomore kicker Zach Pulkinen (Minot, N.D.) knocked through his first-collegiate field goal from 38 yards out with 1:16 remaining in the second quarter to hand BSU the 10-0 lead. A Scheff interception on the ensuing Minot State drive then set-up the Rongstad rushing touchdown.

Pulkinen added a 23-yard field goal with 1:48 left in the third quarter to make the scoreboard read 20-0. BSU then struck again as MSU was trying to counter attack, when Christensen found the football in his hands and he cruised to the end zone for the score and the 27-0 lead to close the third frame. Minot State threatened at the end of the fourth quarter to break-up the shutout, but the ‘Gang Green’ struck again as senior safety Dusty Sluzewicz (Homer Glen, Ill.) picked-off Minot State quarterback CJ Evans for the fifth and final time.  

The Beavers have a weekend off before returning to action Sept. 10 to begin the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference schedule at NCAA postseason participant Augustana College at 1 p.m. in Sioux Falls, S.D.

Game Notes: Junior Brian Leonhardt (TE, Blaine, Minn.) led the team in receptions and receiving yards with six for 89 yards, establishing a new career-high for receiving yards... Sophomore linebacker Jason Bromm (South Barrington, Ill.) led the defense in tackles with eight (two solo) and sacks with two (-8 yards), while forcing a fumble... Eleven different BSU players had at least four tackles or more... Head coach Jeff Tesch recorded his 99th win as a head coach at BSU.
Series Notes: BSU has now shutout Minot State three times in the 13 meetings... The Beavers have won nine in a row from MSU... Assistant Head Coach Rich Jahner’s son, Trace, plays for Minot State... Minot State is playing an independent schedule this season as it is in a transition year from National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) to NCAA Division II... MSU will be a member of the NSIC starting 2012-13.

Bemidji State University, located in Bemidji, Minn., is an NCAA Division II institution and a member of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).