ABERDEEN, S.D. (Swisher Field) – The Bemidji State University offense was stifled for the second consecutive week and Northern State University forced four turnovers Saturday as the Wolves downed the Beavers 14-0 in a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference contest in Aberdeen, S.D. The Beavers are now 6-3 overall and 5-3 in NSIC play, while the Wolves improve to 3-6 overall and 2-6 in the NSIC.
BSU has now lost two straight for the first time since 2008 when that team fell in three games in a row. The last time it was shutout was Sept. 11, 2010 when it lost to Augustana College 10-0 at home.
Junior tight end Brian Leonhardt (Blaine, Minn.) had 14 yards to move over the 1,000 career receiving yards mark. He becomes just second BSU tight end since 1971 to accomplish the feat. Bruce Ecklund (1980-83) posted 1,542 career yards.
NSU blocked two punts, forced two fumbles and picked BSU quarterback Lance Rongstad (Jr., Eleva, Wis.) twice in the game, which led to a field goal and a touchdown. Northern State led on the offensive stat sheet wining first downs 15-11, total yards 280-199, while turning the ball over just once to BSU’s four.
The Wolves missed four field goal attempts with the Beavers blocking three, the most since 2008 when the team blocked two field goal attempts against Minnesota State Sept. 6, 2008. Freshman Jermell Harris (RB, Orland Park, Ill.) had two of them and Leonhardt had the other. One block came in the first half, while the other two were on back-to-back NSU possessions in the third quarter when it got the ball after a fumble and interception in BSU territory and went three-and-out.
Both teams failed to find a rhythm in the first half and the score read 6-0 at the break. Northern State led BSU in first downs 10-6 and in total yards 151-104 with both teams turning the ball over once. The Wolves posted the first field goal four plays into the second quarter from 34 yards out after a 10-play, 58-yard drive. The second field goal was set-up by the first penalty called on BSU all day. A personal foul call with zeros on the clock moved the Wolves from the BSU 27 to the BSU 14, helping NSU to attempt a 31-yard field goal into the wind that it converted to take the 6-0 lead into half. The Beavers kept the game within one score with a 34-yard blocked field goal in the first quarter by Harris.
The story of the second half wasn’t much different as the BSU offense struggled and the Beaver defense and special teams continued to hold NSU off the scoreboard. The Wolves got their touchdown on the first play of a drive after a blocked punt when the BSU defense was foiled by a flea-flicker play that went for 33 yards to the end zone with just over six minutes remaining in regulation. The two-point conversion as good and the Wolves took the 14-0 lead. On the ensuing drive, the Beavers were able to get to the NSU 41, but a sack pushed them back to the NSU 49, then Rongstad’s second interception of the day ended the drive. The Beavers would get the ball back with 2:28 left on the clock, but was unable to convert on a fourth-and-nine play from its 39 yard line and the Wolves offense went to victory formation.
Senior Alex Mock (LB, Williston, N.D.) led BSU in tackles with seven (half tackle for loss). Junior Cory Crosby (LB, Cold Spring, Minn.) had six tackles (four solo) and two tackles for loss (-2 yards). He added a sack (-1 yard) and a forced fumble. Senior Brody Scheff (S, Waconia, Minn.) also had six tackles (three solo).
Rongstad went 10-for-25 with two interceptions for 71 yards and rushed for a team-best 48 yards.
BSU returns home to Chet Anderson Stadium Nov. 6 for a 1 p.m. tilt with No. 11 St. Cloud State University.
Bemidji State University, located in Bemidji, Minn., is an NCAA Division II institution and a member of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).