|September 02, 2021||1st||2nd||3rd||4th||Final|
|BSU||FG||12:37||Hoffer 22 Yd|
|BSU||TD||02:01||Williams 24 Yd Pass From Alt (Hoffer kick)|
|BSU||TD||11:13||Williams 53 Yd Pass From Alt (Hoffer kick)|
|BSU||TD||09:08||Duncan-Busby 8 Yd Pass From Alt (Hoffer kick)|
|USF||TD||05:02||Mullen 16 Yd Run|
|USF||FG||00:00||Hernandez 37 Yd|
|USF||TD||12:55||Pegley 37 Yd Pass From Mullen (Hernandez kick)|
|Stats at a Glance||BSU||USF|
|3rd Down Conversions||11-22||5-14|
|4th Down Conversions||1-2||1-1|
|Passing (Comp-Att)||310 (19-39)||159 (16-27)|
|Rushing (Att)||87 (35)||198 (43)|
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Bob Young Field) – Thursday’s season opener for the Bemidji State University football program was well worth the wait as the Beavers’ “Gang Green” defense forced three turnovers in a wet 24-16 win over the University of Sioux Falls on the road.
Sophomore Brandon Alt returned to action to lead the offense with 310 passing yards, a career-high, and three touchdowns, two going to senior wide receiver Malik Williams. Williams led the BSU receiving corps with 157 yards, setting a new career-high, on seven catches while junior wide receiver Dhel Duncan-Busby caught Alt’s third touchdown of the game to take a 24-0 lead over USF.
Bemidji State’s defense forced fumbles on Sioux Falls’ opening drive of the game and USF’s final possession to seal the victory. Senior defensive back Hameed Oyedele and sophomore linebacker Cole Sorby each led the defense with eight tackles, while Sorby recorded 1.0 sack.
After waiting to play 656 days since the conclusion of the 2019 season, the Beavers got off to a sluggish start with two three-and-outs over the first three possessions. On the fourth drive, Bemidji State put together an 18-play, 70-yard drive to come away with a field goal and a three-point lead early in the second quarter.
Alt and Williams connected for a 24-yard touchdown just before halftime to extend the lead to 10-0. The second touchdown connection between the duo came just out of halftime with a 53-yard catch and run, capping a four-play, 91-yard drive. The final Beavers points of the game came on the following BSU drive as Alt found Duncan-Busby from eight yards out to grab a 24-0 lead with 9:08 left in the third quarter.
As rain started falling heavier, Sioux Falls followed with three straight scoring possessions. The Cougars got on the board with a 16-yard touchdown run by quarterback Adam Mullen, but failed to convert a two-point attempt. USF drove 12 plays for 46 yards to add a field goal, as the third quarter expired, to trail 24-9. USF climbed to within one score of BSU, 24-16, following a 37-yard touchdown reception to open its final scoring drive.
The “Gang Green” defense forced the Cougars to punt on their next drive to set up a long Beavers drive to eat clock in the fourth quarter. BSU went 10 plays and used five minutes and 40 seconds before giving the ball back to USF with 2:16 to play. Following a USF timeout immediately after the change of possession, the Cougars were in hurry up mode driving from the USF 34-yardline.
Sioux Falls drove 37 yards on seven plays before a fumble at the BSU 29-yardline allowed freshman linebacker Ty Guden to seal the win for Bemidji State. Guden recovered the Cougars’ third fumble of the game, joining senior James Moe and junior Jake West with fumble recoveries, while the Beavers’ offense did not give away any turnovers on the night.
Bemidji State finished with 395 total yards of offense compared to 352 for Sioux Falls, including 193 on the ground for USF. The Beavers converted 50 percent of their third downs while holding the Cougars to 30.8 percent.
Thursday’s win was the first ever for Bemidji State at Sioux Falls, now with back-to-back wins overall in the series, while the Beavers improve to 4-1 over the last five season openers under head coach Brent Bolte.
Alt became the first Beaver ever to throw for 300+ yards against Sioux Falls while Williams became the second Beaver with at least 100 receiving yards in the series. Williams topped former Beaver Blake Holder’s mark of 153 yards from 2014.
Bemidji State opens its home schedule on Saturday, Sept. 11 against Wayne State College at Chet Anderson Stadium in Bemidji, Minn. The Beavers and Wildcats kick-off at 2 p.m. as part of First Responders’ Day.
For more information on the Bemidji State athletic programs, tickets or schedules, visit BSUBeavers.com, follow the Beavers on Twitter (@BSUBeavers or @BSUBeaversFB), like them on Facebook (facebook.com/BSUBeavers or facebook.com/BSUBeaverFootball) or sign up for the TXTUpdates from BSUBeavers.com text-messaging system through the "Multimedia" 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).