Gang Green defense secures Battle Axe win with second half shutout of MSUM
A combined effort of an offensive rushing attack and a stout second-half defense helped secure a 28-24 win by Bemidji State University football over Minnesota State University Moorhead to regain possession of the Battle Axe traveling trophy. Sophomore running back Jalen Frye ran for over 200 yards while sophomore linebacker Yaquub Mohamed led the BSU defense with 10 tackles.
The Beavers started and finished the game strong while taking a 14-0 lead in the second quarter and shutting out the Dragons for the final 30 minutes of play. Over the final half, BSU forced MSUM to four punts, two turnovers, a missed field goal and finished the game by holding off a last-minute drive by the Dragons. MSU Moorhead had 81 yards over the final 1:29 of play, driving to the BSU nine yard line, while an incomplete pass in the end zone ended the game.
BSU either scored or had a chance to score on five of its first seven possessions, adding 21 points on two passing touchdowns from junior quarterback Emmett Enright, one to junior wide receiver Malik Williams for 63 yards and one to sophomore wide receiver Brendan Beaulieu for seven yards, and one rushing touchdown by Frye with two missed field goals in between.
Prior to Frye’s 18-yard rushing score, MSU Moorhead finally found the scoreboard on a 71-yard touchdown reception early in the second quarter. MSUM added two more touchdowns of at least 50 yards before going into halftime with a 24-21 lead. Frye ended the half with 141 rushing yards and finished with a career-high 208 yards on the day. Enright found Williams again, this time from 16 yards out, midway through the third quarter to tally the final points of the game.
Frye became the first Beaver with at least 200 yards rushing in a game since Avery Walker did so in 2013. His 47 carries is also one shy of the program single-game record set by Eddie Acosta in 2003. Frye is now 67 yards shy of earning a spot on the BSU top ten list for rushing yards all-time.
Enright finished the game 13-of-26 passing for 169 yards and three touchdowns while Williams and Beaulieu led the receiving corps with six receptions each. Williams totaled 92 receiving yards compared to 64 for Beaulieu.
On the defense, senior defensive back Michael Junker and senior linebacker Lukas Ruoss each recorded an interception. Junker now has six on the season to lead the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference and 15 interceptions during his career. BSU totaled six sacks against MSUM, all coming from separate Beavers. Ruoss followed Mohamed with six tackles while junior defensive tackle Josh Wleh recorded five.
Bemidji State regained the Battle Axe trophy for the third time in the last five seasons. The road team was victorious in the series for the sixth straight season.
Bemidji State closes out the 2019 season Saturday, Nov. 16 with a road trip to face Minot State University. The Beaver Battle begins with kickoff at 1 p.m. from Herb Parker Stadium.