Beavers trek to Minnesota State for first road test of 2012
Thursday, September 6, 2012
Beavers trek to Minnesota State for first road test of 2012

Setting the Scene
Saturday, September 8, 2012
Mankato, Minn.
6:00 p.m.
Blakeslee Stadium
Stadium Capacity/Surface:
Local Radio:
92.1 WMIS The River  
Brian Schultz
Internet Audio: and
Local Television:
Web cast:

The Game
The Bemidji State University football team (1-0; 1-0 NSIC, 0-0 NSIC North) takes to the road for the first time in 2012 as it travels south for a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference contest Sept. 8 versus Minnesota State University, Mankato (1-0; 1-0 NSIC, 0-0 NSIC South) at 6 p.m. at Blakeslee Stadium. The Beavers are coming off a 25-23 season-opening victory at home against Upper Iowa University. The Mavericks open their home slate with BSU after traveling to Minot State University and picking up a 44-10 win.       

The Series
The Beavers and Mavericks have met 44 times with MSU leading the series 28-14-2. In Mankato, the Mavericks lead the series 16-5, including the last meeting between the squads in 2009. BSU fell in that contest 37-34 in overtime to the then-No. 10 Mavericks. The Beavers last defeated Minnesota State in 2005 in Bemidji, Minn. BSU won that game 28-23 to cap a three-game win streak against MSU, before falling in the past two battles. 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 107-67 (.615), which includes a 82-50 (.621) mark in NSIC tilts. In 17 seasons, Tesch has established BSU standards for games coached (174), victories (107), career winning percentage (.615) and conference wins (82). 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.

Minnesota State: Aaron Keen is in his second season as Minnesota State’s offensive coordinator/associate head coach and is currently serving as the school’s acting head coach. Last year, Keen oversaw an offensive unit that averaged 31.8 points per game and 357.8 yards of total offense. Prior to Minnesota State, he spent three seasons as the offensive coordinator, quarterbacks coach and receivers coach at Nebraska Omaha. He served as head coaching at Illinois College from 2003-07, where he compiled a 23-27 record.

The Program
Bemidji State is in its 87th season of football and owns an all-time record is 324-401-24 (.449) dating back to 1926, which includes a 185-251-9 (.426) 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.  

Game Quick Snap
• Saturday’s contest is the 175th game as head coach for Jeff Tesch at Bemidji State.
• Minnesota State is receiving votes in the AFCA poll and ranked No. 11 in the poll.
• Senior quarterback Lance Rongstad was inserted into the line-up in the fourth quarter of the last contest against Minnesota State in 2009 - just the second game of his career. He was a freshman, standing under center with a 31-21 lead on the road against the No. 10 ranked team in the nation, but completed his first pass to current senior Jody Henningson for nine yards.
• Four of the last five games between the two teams has been decided by seven points or less (BSU leads 3-2 in the last five).
• Since the loss to the nationally ranked Mavericks in 2009, the Beavers have four wins against teams recognized in the AFCA national poll (4-4).
• BSU was 4-0 against the NSIC South last season and have won five straight against that division.

Season Long 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.
• 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 1,125 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.
• Rongstad was named NSIC Offensive Player of the Week Sept. 4 after his performance against Upper Iowa. He totaled 228 passing yards, a career-high four passing touchdowns and led the team in rushing with 58 yards.
• He was the first NSIC Offensive Player of the Week from Bemidji State since Anthony Schreiber in 2006.

For more information on the Bemidji State football program, follow the Beavers on Twitter (@BemidjiStateFB or @BSUBeavers), like them on Facebook ( or or sign up for the TXTUpdates from text-messaging system through the "Mulitmedia" pull down menu on the main page of

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).