Battle Axe Rivalry renewed for 72nd installment between BSU and MSUM

Battle Axe Rivalry renewed for 72nd installment between BSU and MSUM
Wednesday, October 13, 2021
Battle Axe Rivalry renewed for 72nd installment between BSU and MSUM

BEMIDJI, Minn. -- Bemidji State University football welcomes in Minnesota State University Moorhead on Oct. 16 for the Battle Axe trophy game at Chet Anderson Stadium. The clash for the second-longest traveling trophy in NCAA Division II history will begin at 1 p.m. as the road team has won the last six games in the series.

Live Coverage

  • Saturday’s game will be streamed through the NSIC Network (Browser/Amazon Fire TV/Android TV/Apple TV/Roku).
  • Live audio is available through the Beaver Radio Network online or on 92.1 FM radio, led by play-by-play Kevin Reid.
  • Live stats are available HERE.

The Series

  • MSU Moorhead leads the all-time series, 47-36-3.
  • The series is tied, 21-21-2, when played in Bemidji, including three straight wins by MSUM.
  • Since the Battle Axe trophy was introduced in 1948, MSUM leads the series, 38-30-3. The series is also tied in Bemidji since the introduction of the Battle Axe trophy, 17-17-2.
  • Bemidji State won the most recent meeting, 28-24, in Moorhead, Minn., continuing a trend of the road team winning the last six games in the series. BSU’s last win in Bemidji against MSUM came on Nov. 3, 2012, a 35-25 decision over the Dragons.
  • The series first began Sept. 28, 1929, an 8-6 win by MSUM in Moorhead. The rivalry between the Beavers and the Dragons is the longest lasting in BSU history at 86 years. BSU and MSUM have played every year since 1946 and all but five years since the series began in 1929.

The Teams
Bemidji State

  • Bemidji State is now 2-0 in the NSIC North Division after taking down Concordia University-St. Paul, 42-14, in St. Paul, Minn. The Beavers spoiled the Golden Bears’ homecoming to take three wins over the last four games in the series.
  • CSP began scoring with a 40-yard touchdown pass on a trick play early in the first quarter. BSU followed with touchdowns on two of its next three drives, a 51-yard reception by senior wide receiver Brendan Beaulieu and a six-yard rush by freshman quarterback Sam McGath, to take control of the game. A fumble recovery by senior linebacker Gabe Ames set up McGath for his second rushing touchdown of the day to give the Beavers a 21-7 lead at halftime.
  • Bemidji State entered the second half with two 75-yard touchdown passes from sophomore quarterback Brandon Alt to senior wide receiver Malik Williams, the first time a player has recorded two touchdown receptions of at least 75 yards in a single game in program history, according to available records. BSU’s final touchdown came on a 96-yard interception return by junior defensive back Jake West. The red zone pick-six is the third longest interception return in program history.
  • Both of CSP’s touchdown drives were just one play, taking up 101 yards. Excluding the Golden Bears’ two touchdown plays, the Beavers defense limited the unit to just 129 yards of total offense.
  • BSU ranks second in the nation with 100 third-down attempts and 43rd with a conversion rate of 44%.
  • The “Gang Green” defense recorded three takeaways for the third time this season and is now 4-0 in games with more takeaways than its opponent. BSU also held CSP to 1-of-14 on third down attempts and 0-of-2 in red zone trips. Saturday was the first game this season in which BSU has held its opponent without a red zone score.
  • Brandon Alt recorded 354 passing yards with three touchdowns and one interception. He has BSU’s first three-game streak with 300+ offensive yards since Jordan Hein (6) from 2016-17. Alt also moved into a tie for eighth all-time at BSU with 29 career passing touchdowns and currently ranks third in the nation with 1,973 passing yards.
  • Sam McGath is the first BSU quarterback to rush for two touchdowns in a game since Jared Henning on Oct. 5, 2016.
  • The receiving trio of Brendan Beaulieu, Malik Williams and junior Dhel Duncan-Busby combined for 10 catches for 293 yards and three touchdowns. Williams led the group with 160 receiving yards and two touchdowns, moving into a tie for seventh all-time at BSU with 16 receiving scores. Williams has seven touchdown catches this season with at least one in each of the last three games, including two in back-to-back games. Beaulieu tallied 70 yards on three catches with his 51-yard touchdown reception while Duncan-Busby led all receivers with four catches for 63 yards.
  • BSU is one of seven teams in the nation to allow three or fewer sacks this season.
  • Sophomore running backs Sage Booker and Makaio Harn combined for 152 yards on 35 carries, averaging 4.3 yards per carry. After failing to reach more than 116 rushing yards in the first four games, BSU now has at least 150 in back-to-back games.
  • Gabe Ames led the BSU defense with seven tackles and a career-high 3.0 tackles for a loss. He added 1.0 sack for a loss of 10 yards and recovered a fumble to set up a BSU touchdown. Junior edge rusher Zollie Kaplan led the Beavers with a career-high 2.0 sacks for a loss of 22 yards and also caused one fumble.

MSU Moorhead

  • The Dragons are led by 10th-year head coach Steve Laqua, who is 46-60 all-time leading MSUM.
  • MSU Moorhead enters Chet Anderson Stadium with a 3-3 record after a 29-17 win over Minot State University on the road on Oct. 9. The Dragons scored 29 first-half points behind two rushing touchdowns, a 60-yard interception return and a 29-yard blocked punt return. MSUM did not score after the 12:21 mark in the second quarter.
  • The Dragons were outgained by the Beavers, 386-274, but totaled a season-high 120 rushing yards. Minot State totaled 21 first downs compared to 17 for MSU Moorhead. MSUM did not give away any of its three fumbles but lost two interceptions.
  • Freshman quarterback Tommy Falk ranks fourth in the NSIC with 292.8 passing yards per game and eighth with a 138.9 passing efficiency. Senior wide receiver Grady Bresnahan leads the team and ranks tied for third in the conference with 45 catches for 592 yards and six touchdowns. Sophomore fullback Hayden Boll scored both of MSUM’s rushing touchdowns at Minot State.
  • Senior linebacker Matt Schoh leads the team with 46 tackles, which ranks third in the NSIC.

For more information on the Bemidji State athletic programs, tickets or schedules, visit, follow the Beavers on Twitter (@BSUBeavers or @BSUBeaversFB), like them on Facebook ( or or sign up for the TXTUpdates from text-messaging system through the "Multimedia" 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).