October 27, 20121st2nd3rd4thFinal
Bemidji State7167737
St. Cloud State760720
1st Quarter
SCSUTD11:58Shoemaker 74 Yd Pass From Klaphake (Aldridge kick)
BSUTD05:33Rongstad 41 Yd Run (Pulkinen kick)
2nd Quarter
BSUTD14:24Rongstad 1 Yd Run (Pulkinen missed kick)
BSUTD02:41Lee 11 Yd Pass From Rongstad (Pulkinen kick)
SCSUTD01:47Shoemaker 30 Yd Pass From Klaphake (Aldridge missed kick)
BSUFG00:00Pulkinen 30 Yd
3rd Quarter
BSUTD11:11Lee 15 Yd Run (Pulkinen kick)
4th Quarter
SCSUTD07:42Shoemaker 12 Yd Pass From Klaphake (Aldridge kick)
BSUTD02:32Rongstad 5 Yd Run (Pulkinen kick)
Stats at a GlanceBSUSCSU
1st Downs2415
3rd Down Conversions11-194-12
4th Down Conversions1-10-1
Passing (Comp-Att)226 (17-26) 256 (14-28)
Rushing (Att)227 (54) 41 (21)
Total Yards453297
Fumbles Lost11
Rongstad quarterbacks Beavers to 37-20 victory at St. Cloud State
Saturday, October 27, 2012
Rongstad quarterbacks Beavers to 37-20 victory at St. Cloud State
Courtesy of Tom Nelson, SCSU Athletic Media Relations

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (Husky Stadium) – Senior quarterback Lance Rongstad (Eleva, Wis.) totaled 341 yards of offense and was responsible for four touchdowns to guide the Bemidji State University football team to a 37-20 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference victory at St. Cloud State University Saturday. The win marks the first for the Beavers at SCSU since 1965 and improves BSU to 5-4 overall and 4-1 in the NSIC North to remain tied for the division lead.

“To get down right away and hang in there and battle back was special,” said head coach Jeff Tesch. “I think our defense played well all day long and have all season long to give us an opportunity to be in games. The difference today is the offense stepped-up. Our special teams have been solid for a while and we made big plays offensively. I thought Lance played one of his best games running and throwing and was really a difference maker. I’m very proud of the job the coaching staff did.”

Rongstad recorded 226 yards and a touchdown through the air and posted his fourth-career 100-yard rushing game with 115 yards and a career-high three touchdowns on the ground. With the three rushing scores he moved his career total to 20 to jump two spots to seventh all-time at Bemidji State in rushing touchdowns and is now first all-time among quarterbacks, passing Marty Follis (18, 1989-92). Rongstad also moved up to eighth on the all-time touchdowns responsible for list, as his four scores upped his career total to 42. He now ranks eighth in passing yardage at BSU with 3,186. The senior quarterback also became the first BSU signal caller to throw for 200 and rush for 100 or more yards in a game since Follis did so Nov. 14, 1992 against University of Nebraska-Kearney.

On the defensive side of the ball, redshirt freshman linebacker Connor Quinn (Geneva, Ill.) continued his bid for the league’s defensive newcomer of the year award as he led the team with seven tackles, six of which were solo efforts. He had two tackles for loss (-8 yards), one of which was his first-career sack (-7 yards). He also intercepted his first-collegiate pass and took it 29 yards into SCSU territory to set-up the first BSU score. He also recovered a fumble (his third fumble recovery in two games) that set-up the Beavers’ first score of the second half and handed the road team a 30-13 lead. 

Rongstad guided the rushing attack that totaled 227 yards after posting just 30 yards a week ago at University of Minnesota Duluth, while the BSU Gang Green defense allowed just 41 yards on the ground. BSU outgained the Huskies in total offense 453-297, finished with 24 first downs to SCSU’s 15 and recorded 31 more plays than the home team (80-49). The Beavers were extremely efficient on third downs, as they went 11-for-19, while the defense – who entered the game as the best third down defense in the league – allowed a first down on four-of-12 Husky attempts.

The Beavers were 5-18-3 all-time in St. Cloud entering the contest and had a record of 0-9-1 between victories. Bemidji State defeated the Huskies last season at home 19-14 and coupled with Saturday’s win, record its first back-to-back victories against SCSU since the 1965-66 seasons.

The Beavers received the ball to open the contest, but went three-and-out on their first drive to hand the ball over to the high-powered Huskies offense. It only took one play for SCSU to get on the board, as quarterback Phillip Klaphake connected with senior wide receiver Eli Shoemaker for a 74-yard catch and run to the end zone for the 7-0 lead.

BSU went three-and-out on its next two possessions, including a punt from its own half yard line. A 39-yard punt from junior Zach Pulkinen (K/P, Minot, N.D.) with his heels at the back of the end zone placed the ball in good field position for the Huskies on the BSU 40. But two plays into the drive a Klaphake pass was deflected into the air at the line of scrimmage and was brought in by Quinn and he returned his first-career interception 29 yards to the SCSU 41.

One play later a quarterback draw saw Rongstad bust through a hole in the line and sprint 41 yards to the end zone to knot the contest 7-7.

The interception by the ‘Gang Green’ defense, followed by the one-play touchdown drive tilted the momentum into the Beavers’ favor, as the defense forced the Huskies three-and-out. Taking over at their own 45, Rongstad and the BSU offense orchestrated a 10-play, 55-yard touchdown drive that took the game into the second quarter.

A one-yard Rongstad rush across the goal line was set-up by a scrambling first down pass to senior wide receiver Justin Lee (Elgin, Ill.) for 24 yards down to the SCSU 3. A rare bench penalty by a member of the Huskies coaching staff running into an official added to the play and placed the ball on the SCSU 1. On second down Rongstad bounced off a lineman and was tackled into the end zone for his second rushing score of the game and 19th of his career to move into seventh all-time in rushing touchdowns at Bemidji State. A blocked extra point attempt kept the score at 13-7 in favor of the road team.

After consecutive three-and-outs forced by the BSU defense, the Beaver offense took the field and used 4:20 off the game clock and capped an eight-play, 69-yard drive with a Rongstad to Lee connection on an 11-yard slant to the end zone. Rongstad found two different receivers in the drive and three different players carried the ball, including junior transfer Avery Walker (RB, Milwaukee, Wis.) who totaled 24 yards, which included a 20-yard run deep into SCSU territory.

Facing a two score deficit with under three minutes left in the first half, St. Cloud State converted a third and 11 into a 50 yard reception down to the BSU 31. One play later Klaphake found Shoemaker again for a 31-yard score. A missed extra point put the score 20-13 Bemidji State.

With 1:42 remaining in the first half and just one timeout, the Beavers marched 56 yards down to the SCSU 13 and closed the half with a 30-yard field goal from Pulkinen to open a 23-13 lead heading into the half. Rongstad found four different receivers on the drive and totaled 128 yards through the air in the half. He also rushed for 64 yards.

St. Cloud State got the ball in the second half and after a long 43-yard return to the SCSU 43, the Beaver defense forced a three-and-out. Senior Beau Wakefield (WR, Butternut, Wis.) received the punt and ran 39 yards to the SCSU 45, but the offense couldn’t take advantage and was forced to punt. A high punt by Pulkinen down to the SCSU 15 was called for a fair catch, but the ball bounced off the Husky returner and Quinn recovered on the 15 yard line. Just one play later, Rongstad faked the hand off, then flipped to his option, Lee, and he ran down the sidelines and dove into the end zone for his second score of the day. The touchdown and extra point handed the Beavers a 30-13 lead.

After sticking the SCSU offense on fourth down at the BSU 8 early in the fourth quarter, the offense took over driving 42 yards into Huskies territory, but a Walker fumble gave the ball right back to the home team. Five plays later St. Cloud State was within two scores, as it trailed 30-20.

With less than eight minutes remaining the Beavers needed to exhaust some time off the clock, but did one better and drove 67 yards in nine plays to the end zone. Rongstad converted three huge third downs in the drive, connecting with senior Christian Metz (WR, Cambridge, Minn.) for 15 yards on a third-and-six and found a wide open Brian Leonhardt (Sr., TE, Blaine, Minn.) in the middle of the field for a 37 yard gain on another third-and-six. The pass to Leonhardt put BSU down to the SCSU 7 and on third-and-goal from the five, Rongstad rushed into the corner of the end zone for his third score of the day.

If the three score lead wasn’t big enough with 2:27 left in the game, the BSU defense put the exclamation point on the victory with an interception by sophomore defensive back Dylan Valentine (Temecula, Calif.), his team-leading third pick of the season.

Walker finished with 55 yards rushing. Five different receivers pulled in at least two receptions, guided by Lee. He totaled 48 yards and a touchdown with 15 yards and a touchdown rushing for his second game of the season with a receiving and rushing touchdown. Wakefield totaled 43 yards on two kickoff returns and 39 yards on his one punt return to total 82 all-purpose yards.

Saturday’s game wrapped-up the road schedule for the Beavers, as they went 2-3 away from Bemidji, Minn. in 2012. The final two games of the season with be played at Chet Anderson Stadium, starting with Minnesota State University Moorhead Nov. 3 at 1 p.m. in the annual Battle for the Axe game – a traveling trophy traded between the teams since 1948.

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

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).