Beavers erase 19-point deficit to retain the Battle Axe, 22-19

October 16, 20211st2nd3rd4thFinal
MSU Moorhead9100019
Bemidji State0014822
Scoring
1st Quarter
MSUMFG06:53Meehl 30 Yd
MSUMTD04:46Marquart 20 Yd Pass From Falk (Meehl missed kick)
2nd Quarter
MSUMFG14:30Meehl 26 Yd
MSUMTD13:22Myers (Meehl kick)
3rd Quarter
BSUTD10:24Beaulieu 2 Yd Pass From Alt (Hoffer kick)
BSUTD07:23Williams 30 Yd Pass From Alt (Hoffer kick)
4th Quarter
BSUTD00:39Williams 7 Yd Pass From Alt
Stats at a GlanceMSUMBSU
1st Downs2023
3rd Down Conversions5-1812-23
4th Down Conversions1-22-5
Passing (Comp-Att)219 (19-48) 298 (30-45)
Rushing (Att)116 (26) 92 (48)
Total Yards335390
Penalties13-998-60
Turnovers14
Fumbles Lost02
Interceptions12
Possession28:2131:39
Beavers erase 19-point deficit to retain the Battle Axe, 22-19
Saturday, October 16, 2021
Beavers erase 19-point deficit to retain the Battle Axe, 22-19

BEMIDJI, Minn. (Chet Anderson Stadium) -- Bemidji State University scored 22 second-half points, including a seven-yard touchdown and two-point conversion with 39 seconds to go, to earn a 22-19 victory over Minnesota State University Moorhead Saturday in the 72nd Battle of the Axe.

The Beavers improve to 5-2 overall and 3-0 in the Northern Intercollegiate Conference North Division play after entering halftime with a 19-0 deficit against the Dragons. The “Gang Green” defense held MSUM scoreless in the second half to set up the BSU game-winning drive of 67 yards in 13 plays. Bemidji State took 5:02 off the game clock before sophomore Brandon Alt found senior wide receiver Malik Williams, his second touchdown catch of the game, in the back of the end zone for the go-ahead score.

Williams caught seven passes for 99 yards with touchdowns of 30 and seven to lead the Beaver receiving corps. Alt finished 30-of-45 for 298 yards and three touchdowns, finding senior wide receiver Brendan Beaulieu for a two-yard score for BSU’s first points. Sophomore running back Makaio Harn rushed 19 times for 74 yards and caught all five passing targets for 36 yards.

MSU Moorhead began the game with possession and scored on two of its first three drives of the day while Bemidji State gave away turnovers on three of its first four. The Dragons extended their lead, 9-0, with their only offensive touchdown of the game after the first Beaver turnover.

The Beavers defense stood strong after the team’s second turnover of the day, holding the Dragons at the BSU 9-yardline for a field goal to trail, 12-0. Just over one minute of game-time after, a BSU punt was blocked and returned 16 yards for a touchdown to set up the second-half comeback, 19-0.

Receiving the second-half kickoff, Bemidji State went on a 13-play, 74-yard drive that spanned 4:29 to get on the scoreboard. Alt found BSU’s top three receivers in Williams, Beaulieu and junior wide receiver Dhel Duncan-Busby on the drive, capped by a two-yard touchdown to Beaulieu.

BSU’s defense forced MSUM to a three-and-out on its first drive of the half, fueled by a pass interference penalty to push MSU Moorhead to a third-and-20. Senior linebacker Jaylen Jenkins and freshman defensive lineman Marco Cavallaro combined for a sack to force the Dragons to a 4th-and 27.

The Beavers took a chance on a fourth-and-4 on the MSU 30-yardline during the ensuing drive when Alt found Williams for a 30-yard, catch-and-run score to bring BSU within one score of MSUM, 19-14. The Dragons missed their second field goal of the game during the next drive followed by a Beaver defensive stop on fourth down at the beginning of the fourth quarter.

Bemidji State took control of the clock in the final quarter, totaling 9:30 of possession time on its way to back-to-back red zone trips. During the first trip, BSU converted on three third downs and again went for it on fourth down but was stopped on an incomplete pass. MSUM took up 4:39 of clock before punting to set up the BSU offense at its own 20-yardline.

The Beavers were intent on running the clock down behind 13 plays, including nine rushes. On a second-and-15, Alt and Beaulieu connected for 14 yards to the MSU 42-yardline before Harn tallied seven straight carries for 35 yards. On its fifth and final fourth down attempt of the game, Alt found Williams from seven yards out in the back of the end zone for the go-ahead score, 20-19. A pass from Alt to Beaulieu converted a two-point conversion to put the Beaver’ lead at three, 22-19, with 0:39 to play.

The Dragons converted on a fourth-and-five play before eventually gaining its way to the BSU 38-yardline with six seconds remaining. On the final play, junior defensive back Willie Spears III broke up a pass at the BSU 1-yardline to preserve the comeback win.

Despite BSU giving away four turnovers, the “Gang Green” defense limited the offense’s four turnovers to just nine points for MSUM. The defense also held the Dragons to just 5-of-18 (28%) on third downs.

Bemidji State finished with 389 total yards and 23 first downs compared to 335 yards and 19 first downs for MSU Moorhead. The Beavers converted 12-of-23 third downs and went-2-of-4 in the red zone.

BSU now owns the series record when played in Bemidji, 22-21-2, and have won 15 of the last 19 in the Battle Axe rivalry.

The Beavers will travel to Duluth, Minn., to face University of Minnesota Duluth Saturday, Oct. 23. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. at Griggs Field.

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).

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