September 24, 20111st2nd3rd4thFinal
Minnesota Duluth3671026
Bemidji State7001623
1st Quarter
UMDFG06:57David Nadeau 22 Yd
BSUTD00:41Rongstad 44 Yd Run (Pulkinen kick)
2nd Quarter
UMDFG04:36David Nadeau 19 Yd
UMDFG00:00David Nadeau 33 Yd
3rd Quarter
UMDTD10:48Austin Sikorski 1 Yd Run (David Nadeau kick)
4th Quarter
UMDTD14:08Aaron Roth 17 Yd Pass From Chase Vogler (David Nadeau kick)
BSUTD08:03Miles 2 Yd Run
UMDFG02:40David Nadeau 43 Yd
BSUTD01:11Gandrud 8 Yd Pass From Rongstad
Stats at a GlanceUMDBSU
1st Downs2213
3rd Down Conversions7-161-7
4th Down Conversions1-21-1
Passing (Comp-Att)199 (17-22) 74 (11-16)
Rushing (Att)185 (52) 141 (30)
Total Yards384215
Fumbles Lost01
No. 24 Beavers fall short to No. 11 Minnesota Duluth, 26-23
Saturday, September 24, 2011
No. 24 Beavers fall short to No. 11 Minnesota Duluth, 26-23
BEMIDJI, Minn. (Chet Anderson Stadium) – The No. 11 University of Minnesota Duluth opened a 16-point lead during the first 16 minutes of the second half and the No. 24 Bemidji State University football team was unable to recover Saturday as the defending national champions gained a 26-23 victory in a battle of the nationally-ranked. BSU’s undefeated record ends as it falls to 3-1 overall, 2-1 in Northern Intercollegiate Conference play and 0-1 in the NSIC North.  

The story of the game was UMD’s ability to keep its offense on the field, owning the time of possession 39:35-20:25. The Beavers entered the game as the top team in the NSIC in time of possession (33:38 minutes per game), but was bested at their own game Saturday. In all, UMD ran 28 more offensive plays than BSU, earning 384 total offensive yards, while the Beavers had 215 yards of offense. BSU was No. 5 in the nation in rushing defense (52.7 yards allowed per game) entering the contest, but the Bulldogs were able to rack-up 185 yards on the ground.

The Bulldogs won the coin toss and elected to receive the ball first. UMD then orchestrated a 15 play, 70-yard drive that ended with a 22-yard field goal to open the scoring 3-0.

The Beavers took its second drive of the game down field and into the end zone to own a 7-3 lead. BSU only needed four plays to cross the goal line, as junior quarterback Lance Rongstad (Eleva, Wis.) used a play action hand off to senior running back Brandon Miles (Kenai, Alaska) to rush through the line and then down the sideline for a 44-yard touchdown run.

UMD only had two drives in the second quarter, but held the ball for 13:37 to turn that into two field goals, including a 33-yarder that closed the first half to give the Bulldogs a 9-7 lead. UMD had 232 total yards on 45 plays in the first half, while the Beavers posted 75 yards (all on the ground) on 12 plays.

The Bulldogs forced a punt on BSU’s opening drive of the second half and then moved the ball across midfield before executing a perfect flea-flicker play that went for 49 yards down to the BSU one yard line. UMD found the end zone on the next play to own a 16-7 lead.

The rest of the third went scoreless then the Bulldogs posted another touchdown early in the fourth quarter to take the 23-7 lead. The Beavers were able to respond with a touchdown on a 12-play, 69-yard drive that ended with Miles carrying the ball into the end zone from two-yards out. The play wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for junior running back Dustin Kroeplin’s (Withee, Wis.) effort on the play before as he used his power to get one yard on a fourth-and-one situation. The ball went to Kroeplin on the two-point conversion attempt and he rumbled through the line and into the end zone to make the score 23-15.

After forcing a UMD three-and-out, the Beavers were primed to get the ball back in good filed position. Instead, junior Beau Wakefield (WR, Butternut, Wis.) had the ball slip through his hands and off his leg on his punt return attempt and the ball fell into the hands of the Bulldogs in Beaver territory. The ‘Gang Green’ defense came up huge and forced Minnesota Duluth to attempt a 43-yard field goal into the wind. The snap was good and the kick was better, as UMD kicker David Nadeau put the ball through the uprights to give the Bulldogs a 26-15 lead and up two scores.

But, the Beavers didn’t back down and the offense got back onto the field and marched 66 yards into the end zone. The drive was capped by a fade pass into the corner of the end zone from Rongstad to junior wide receiver Matt Gandrud (Elk River, Minn.). Play action fooled the Bulldogs on the two-point conversion attempt and junior tight end Brian Leonhardt (Blaine, Minn.) was able to move off the line and sit wide open in the end zone for the two-point score. With the score reading 26-23 and the clock showing 1:11, the Beavers were forced to attempt and on-side kick. Senior Jesse Sundby (K/P, Argyle, Minn.) put a perfect kick on the ball, but UMD’s Travis Nordhus was able to smother it and hand UMD the ball. With only two timeouts the Beavers weren’t able to get the ball back with any time on the clock and the game ended with the Bulldogs victorious for the 10th time in a row against BSU.  

Senior safety Brody Scheff (Waconia, Minn.) recorded a career-high 19 (7s-12a) tackles that also marks the most by a Beaver this season. He added one sack that pushed UMD back three yards. Sophomore linebacker Jason Bromm (South Barrington, Ill.) had a career-high 18 tackles (3s-15a) and one tackle for loss (-3 yards), while senior safety Dusty Sluzewicz (Homer Glen, Ill.) posted a career-high in tackles with 16 (4s-12a) with 0.5 tackles for loss (-1 yard), a forced fumble and a pass break-up.

Kroeplin ran for 77 yards, Rongstad rushed for 51 yards and a touchdown and threw for 74 yards (11-of-16) and one score. Leonhardt was the team’s top receiver for the fourth time this season with 36 yards on five catches.
The Beavers are out of NSIC North play and on the road Oct. 1 as they travel to NSIC South-foe Upper Iowa University for a 1 p.m. tilt in Fayette, Iowa.

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