August 31, 20121st2nd3rd4thFinal
Upper Iowa0701623
Bemidji State7120625
1st Quarter
BSUTD05:13Wakefield 12 Yd Pass From Rongstad (Pulkinen kick)
2nd Quarter
BSUTD12:55Kondziolka 5 Yd Pass From Rongstad (Pulkinen missed kick)
UIUTD09:30Hefty 6 Yd Pass From Jaeschke (Sandoval kick)
BSUTD00:31Smith 25 Yd Pass From Rongstad
4th Quarter
UIUTD13:45Hefty 13 Yd Pass From Jaeschke (Sandoval kick)
UIUFG08:41Sandoval 35 Yd
UIUTD02:28Gutman 19 Yd Pass From Jaeschke
BSUTD00:40Kondziolka 5 Yd Pass From Rongstad (Pulkinen missed kick)
Stats at a GlanceUIUBSU
1st Downs1726
3rd Down Conversions5-1314-19
4th Down Conversions1-10-0
Passing (Comp-Att)179 (18-23) 228 (24-38)
Rushing (Att)144 (35) 130 (41)
Total Yards323358
Fumbles Lost01
Late fourth quarter drive guides Beavers to 25-23 victory versus Peacocks
Friday, August 31, 2012
Late fourth quarter drive guides Beavers to 25-23 victory versus Peacocks

BEMIDJI, Minn. – A 13-play, 75-yard touchdown drive with less than two minutes and 30 seconds to play in regulation proved to be the game-winner in the 25-23 victory for the Bemidji State University football team Friday in the 2012 season opener against Upper Iowa University at Chet Anderson Stadium.

Down 23-19, senior quarterback Lance Rongstad (Eleva, Wis.) orchestrated the long drive and eventually connected with junior fullback Brent Kondziolka (Orland Park, Ill.) on a five-yard touchdown pass with 40 ticks remaining in the fourth quarter to hand the Beavers a 25-23 lead. But that wouldn't be the end to the dramatic contest. A flag for excessive celebration was thrown after the score and would be assessed on the kick-off. Not a big worry when leading by three, but junior Zach Pulkinen (Minot, N.D.) missed his second extra point try of the game and BSU was forced to play tight defense for the waning seconds.

Kicking from his own 20 yard line, Pulkinen gave a good boot to the ball and Upper Iowa settled in at its own 36. Three plays later the Peacocks were at the BSU 30. After spiking the ball, then gaining two more yards on the ground, UIU was set to attempt a 46-yard field to win the game. After BSU used a timeout for reset the Upper Iowa attempt, the snap came off and was mishandled by the Peacock holder and he was forced to desperately heave the ball towards the end zone. An interception and an ineligible player down field call on the Peacocks later, the game was over and the Beavers were able to breathe a sigh of relief and celebrate their victory.  

After opening a 19-7 halftime lead the Beavers seemed to be in control after two quarters of play. BSU took its opening drive 80 yards to the end zone to open the scoring at 7-0, as Rongstad found senior wide receiver Beau Wakefield (Butternut, Wis.) in the end zone for Wakefield’s first-career touchdown. The Beavers made it 13-0 with a five-yard connection between Rongstad and Kondziolka. A poor snap forced Pulkinen’s point after attempt wide right.

Upper Iowa countered by getting on the board with a touchdown, set-up by a 53-yard rush by running back Raymond Bradley on the first play of the drive. The Beavers tacked on another touchdown before half when Rongstad put together an eight-play, 78-yard drive in under a minute. He hit five different receivers in the drive that was capped by a 25-yard fade to the end zone to sophomore wide receiver Jon Smith (Joliet, Il.). Smith checked-in and once Rongstad took the snap he never looked away from Smith and feathered the ball perfectly into the corner of the end zone and Smith reeled it in with a defender on his side. His first touchdown score in the green and white gave the Beavers a 19-0 lead. Looking to get the missed extra point back, BSU went for two, but failed and took a 19-7 lead into the break.

A scoreless third quarter turned into a whirlwind fourth, as the Peacocks rattled off 16-straight points to open the 23-19 lead that led to the late scoring drive by BSU.

In the end, Rongstad passed for 228 yards and a career-high four touchdowns, while leading the team in rushing with a net total of 58 yards – gained 92 yards, but was sacked four times. He posted a cool 63.2 completion percentage (24-for-38) with zero interceptions.

Rongstad connected with seven different receivers – six of which posted at least three receptions, led by senior Justin Lee (Elgin, Ill.), who totaled 78 yards and added 22 rushing yards for an even 100 total all-purpose yardage. He brought in six catches to establish career-bests in both receptions and receiving yards. Wakefield totaled 130 all-purpose yards with 86 on kickoff returns, 26 in reception yards and 18 on punt returns. Kondziolka posted his first-career multi-touchdown game with three catches for 11 yards and rushed three times for eight yards.

On the defensive side, the Beavers totaled 74 tackles, guided by junior linebacker Jason Bromm’s (South Barrington, Ill.) 13 tackles (five solo), 2.5 tackles for loss (-7 yards) and sack (-6 yards). His fellow inside backer also found double-digits with 11 tackles (three solo) and 1.5 tackles for loss that resulted in two negative yards for the Peacocks.

The Beavers finished the game owning the clock, as they recorded 33:47 of possession time, but only outgained UIU by 35 total offensive yards. BSU finished with 26 first downs to the Peacocks’ 17.

The Beavers now turn their attention to the road as they head south to Mankato, Minn. for the first time since 2009 for a 6 p.m. tilt Sept. 8 against Minnesota State University, Mankato.

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).