Beavers open 2012 regular season versus Upper Iowa
Thursday, August 30, 2012
Beavers open 2012 regular season versus Upper Iowa

Setting the Scene

Date: Friday, August 31, 2012
Bemidji, Minn.
6:00 p.m.
Chet Anderson Stadium
Stadium Capacity/Surface:
Local Radio:
WMIF 92.1 The River   
Brian Schultz
Brian Bissonette
Internet Audio: and
Local Television:
KBSU Ch. 17
Scott Williams
Brett Leach
Web cast:

The Game

The Bemidji State University football team (0-0; 0-0 NSIC, 0-0 NSIC North) clips the ribbon on the 2012 season Aug. 31 when it hosts Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference-foe Upper Iowa University (0-0; 0-0 NSIC, 0-0 NSIC South) at 6 p.m. at Chet Anderson Stadium. The Beavers went 8-3 overall and 7-3 in NSIC play a season ago and were pegged sixth in the 2012 Preseason NSIC Coaches’ Poll. The Peacocks posted a 3-8 overall and 2-8 NSIC mark in 2011 and were placed 13th in the preseason poll.       

The Series

The Beavers and Peacocks have met on four previous occasions with BSU winning each contest. In Bemidji State and Upper Iowa’s only meeting at the Chet, the Beavers were victorious 51-12 in the 2010 homecoming game. Last season in Fayette, Iowa, BSU scored 21 points in each of the first two quarters to open a 42-7 halftime lead, en route to a 48-7 victory. In all, the Beavers have outscored the UIU 199-67. More series information on page 7.

The Coaches

Bemidji State: Jeff Tesch is in his 17th season roaming the sidelines at Bemidji State. He has posted an overall record of 106-67 (.613), which includes a 81-50 (.618) mark in NSIC tilts. In 17 seasons, Tesch has established BSU standards for games coached (173), victories (106), career winning percentage (.613) and conference wins (81). He secured his 100th victory at BSU in grand fashion with a 30-27 overtime upset road victory at then-No. 16 Augustana College Sept. 10, 2011. 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. More Tesch on page 8.

Upper Iowa: Tom Shea is entering his fourth season as head coach of the Peacocks. He owns an 8-26 record at UIU after being hired as the 15th coach in program history in January 2009. Shea spent the 2007 and 2008 seasons as head football coach at Dakota State University before serving three years at Upper Iowa as the defensive coordinator. He led five programs as head coach before the UIU appointment, most notably, Peru State, where he led the team to an NAIA national title in 1990. He was named NAIA National Coach of the Year in 1990.

The Program

Bemidji State begins its 87th season of football and owns an all-time record is 323-401-24 (.448) dating back to 1926, which includes a 183-252-9 (.422) 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 13 of the last 14 years and have registered 10 consecutive winning home campaigns.  

Quick Count

• BSU has posted a winning record in 12 of the last 13 seasons under head coach Jeff Tesch.

• The Beavers also have 10 consecutive winning seasons at home after going 5-1 in 2011 to tie a program record for wins at home (1985 - 5-0 and 2000 - 5-0).

• BSU will look to build on its sixth eight-win season under Tesch - who enters his 17th season at Bemidji State on a new six-year contract extension.

• The Beavers are 11-5 in the first game of the season and 10-6 in their home opener under Tesch.

• BSU was tabbed sixth overall and third in the NSIC North in the Preseason NSIC Coaches’ Poll.

• The Beavers return 16 starters from a 2011 team that ranked in the national poll on three different occasions - including seven all-conference players.    

• The Beaver offense finished the 2011 season averaging 26.8 points per game and welcomes eight starters, including 2011 All-American and 2012 preseason All-American tight end Brian Leonhardt.

• The ‘Gang Green’ defense returns seven starters from a year ago. Anchored by preseason All-American nose guard Matthew Shaver, the BSU defense was one of the best in the conference in 2011 allowing just 16.0 points per contest to rank No. 3 in the nation.

• 2012 captains are senior quarterback Lance Rongstad and Leonhardt on the offensive side of the ball and the defensive captains are senior linebacker Cory Crosby and junior linebacker Buckley Wright.

• Leonhardt was named a preseason All-American by four publications. Senior return specialist Beau Wakefield and Shaver also earned preseason All-American laurels.

• Leonhardt owns 1,088 career receiving yards entering 2012 season, ranking second among Bemidji State tight ends since 1971 (Bruce Ecklund, 1,542 yards, 1980-83).

• The Beavers were 4-1 in 2011 when senior Dustin Kroeplin rushed for a touchdown and are 17-2 in his three-year career when he finds the end zone from the backfield.

Nestled in Northern Minnesota’s wooded region and located on the shore of Lake Bemidji, Bemidji State University sponsors 15 varsity athletic programs with NCAA Division I men’s and women’s hockey membership in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, while its 13 NCAA Division II programs hold membership in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).