BEMIDJI, Minn. – The Bemidji State University football team (5-3, 4-0 NSIC North) looks to tie the longest win-streak in program history while Head Coach Jeff Tesch looks for career win 125 against Minot State University (1-7, 1-3 NSIC North) at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Herb Parker Stadium. BSU and MSU will meet in the “Battle of the Beavers” for the 17th time in the series’ history.
Bemidji State extended its win streak against St. Cloud State University to five games, the second-longest winning streak in program history. The longest such streak in Beavers history occurred after starting the 1941 season 6-0. Bemidji State’s “Gang Green” defense forced five takeaways against St. Cloud State, the most crucial occuring on a muffed punt return with 1:41 left in the game. A blocked extra point attempt in the third quarter proved to be the difference maker in the 28-27 win. Quarterback Jordan Hein totaled 388 yards, 252 passing and 136 rushing, including two passing and one rushing touchdown. The sophomore moved into seventh on BSU’s career passing touchdowns list with 29 and 10th in touchdowns responsible for with 37.
Minot State hosts its second straight home game following a 30-20 loss to the Dragons of Minnesota State University Moorhead last week. MSU entered the fourth quarter with a 20-13 lead, but was unable to hold off three scores by MSUM to end the game. The Beavers totaled just 284 yards, 80 coming on the ground. Receiver Porter Sturm caught seven passes for 128 yards and one touchdown.
BSU leads the all-time series, 15-1, and currently rides a 12-game win-streak against MSU. Bemidji State won the most recent matchup, 31-17, in Bemidji, Minn., Oct. 18, 2014. Quarterback Ryan Shields and BSU recorded three passing touchdowns while taking a 24-3 lead through the third quarter. Bemidji State’s only loss to Minot State came in a 35-28 score Sept. 7, 2002 in Bemidji. BSU has never scored less than 24 points in a game during the series history.
Head Coach Jeff Tesch, now in his 20th season at BSU, has coached in all 16 games between the two programs. Tesch is looking for career-win number 125 in his 215th career game as head coach. Bemidji State averages 35 points per game in the series compared to Minot State’s 11.9 mark per game.
Bemidji State: Hein continues to drive a progressing offense for a Beavers’ squad that is returning 10 of 11 starters from a season ago. BSU ranks seventh in the NSIC in scoring offense with 32.2 points per game. Running back Tahi Nomane leads the sixth ranked NSIC rushing offense while recording two 100-yard rushing games. Nomane’s two 100+ yard games are his first with the Beavers, while Gena Adams also reached the century mark with 155 yards against University of Minnesota, Crookston. No BSU running back reached 100+ yards in a game last season.
On the defensive side of the ball, senior linebacker and 2014 All-NSIC Second Team pick Colton Blascyk shoulders the load for an inexperienced Gang Green defense, which lost eight regular starters from 2014. He is currently tied for first on the team in tackles with 63, including 6.5 tackles for a loss and a team-high four sacks. Freshman cornerback Gunner Olszewski has not let his inexperience affect him, as he also leads the team with 63 tackles while recording three interceptions and one forced fumble. Junior Damon Benham ranks third in tackles with 52, while recording three interceptions, eight pass break-ups, one fumble recovery and one forced fumble.
Minot State: MSU features the 13th-ranked NSIC scoring offense with 16.8 points per game while allowing 31.8 per game to rank 11th. The Beavers average 300.9 offensive yards per game compared to allowing 395.4.
Running back Jarvis Mustipher ranks sixth in the NSIC in rushing with 85.7 yards per game and has totaled three touchdowns on the ground. Receiver Porter Sturm ranks sixth in the NSIC in receiving with 76.2 yards per game and has added six touchdown catches. Sturm’s duties on punt and kick returns rank him third in all-purpose yards per game with 144.8. The Beavers possess two of the top 10 tacklers in the NSIC, Trevin Swensen ranking fifth with 72 total tackles and Aaron James ranking ninth with 69.
A Glance Ahead
Bemidji State wraps up its home season Nov. 7 as No. 18 University of Minnesota Duluth enters Chet Anderson Stadium with NSIC North implications on the line. BSU and UMD meet for the 55th time in the series’ history. The Bulldogs lead the series, 43-10-1, including a 13-game win streak against the Beavers. Both teams enter week nine undefeated in the NSIC North.
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).