Beaver Fever Friday – Gabe Ames – Football

Football hosts UMary on Saturday in historic regular-season finale

The (RV) Bemidji State University football program welcomes in the University of Mary to Chet Anderson Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 13 in the 2021 regular season finale. The Beavers (8-2, 5-0 NSIC North) and Marauders (4-6, 3-2 NSIC North) will kick off at 1 p.m. with Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Championship title on the line.

The Beavers have won the last six against the Marauders, averaging 45.8 points per game. During sophomore running back Sage Booker’s last game against UMary on Sept. 8, 2018, he ran for a career-high 163 yards on 12 carries and was one of two running backs with over 100 rushing yards. BSU has totaled 13 100-yard rushers in 14 games all-time against UMary, but has had just one 100-yard receiver and no 300-yard passers.

The series first began on Oct. 7, 2006, a 27-21 win by UMary in Bemidji, Minn.

Bemidji State moved one step closer to its first-ever postseason appearance in program history after taking a 36-34 win at (RV) Northern State University on Saturday, Nov. 6 in Aberdeen, S.D. The Beavers notched their fourth eight-win season since 2016 under Head Coach Brent Bolte. BSU clinched a share of the NSIC North Division Championship for the third time in program history with the win and will earn the division title outright with a win against UMary. With a win, the Beavers can also take a share of the NSIC Championship for just the sixth time in program history and first since 2006.

Bemidji State moved up three spots from seventh to fourth in the third release of the NCAA Division II Super Region 4 Rankings. The Beavers also received votes in the AFCA Top 25 Poll for the third straight week with five votes. The Beavers extended their conference-leading six-game winning streak behind another 500+ yard offensive game. BSU now has five games this season with at least 500 yards of offense and are 5-0 in those games. The Wolves also recorded over 500 yards of offense on its way to a 28-22 lead over the Beavers heading into the fourth quarter.

The “Gang Green” defense came up with three fourth-quarter interceptions, as the first two led to 14 points off turnovers. Junior defensive back Jake West came away with a last-second Hail Mary attempt for the final BSU interception of the game.

Bemidji State drove 19 and 72 yards during its fourth-quarter scoring possessions, capped off by three-yard touchdowns by junior wide receiver Dhel Duncan-Busby and sophomore running back Makaio Harn to pull ahead, 36-28. Sophomore quarterback Brandon Alt threw for 376 yards on 30-of-46 passing with four touchdowns, his third straight game with at least four passing touchdowns. Alt broke the BSU single-season completion record on a six-yard pass to Bubba Peters in the first quarter before he broke the program’s single-season passing yardage record on a 10-yard pass to Brendan Beaulieu early in the second quarter.

Alt leads the NSIC and is second in the nation with 38 passing touchdowns, is fourth in the country with 3,221 passing yards, and 10th in total offense with 318.8 yards per game.

Junior wide receiver Dhel Duncan-Busby led the BSU receiving corps with 103 yards on six catches along with two touchdowns. Joining Duncan-Busby with six receptions were senior wide receivers Brendan Beaulieu and Malik Williams. Beaulieu finished with 91 yards and one touchdown while Williams totaled 42 yards and one score, tying the BSU single-season record for receiving touchdowns with 14, which currently ranks second in the nation. Beaulieu (17) and Williams (20) both rank among the top 20 in the nation in receiving yards.

Sophomore running back Sage Booker ran for 110 yards against NSU, his second straight game with at least 100 yards on the ground. Booker averaged 5.2 yards on 21 carries while fellow sophomore back Makaio Harn added 81 rushing yards on 15 carries with his third touchdown of the season.

Bemidji State has been starting halves effectively this season, outscoring its opponents by a +58 margin in the first and third quarters.

The young BSU offensive line, comprised of three redshirt freshmen and two sophomores, rank sixth in the nation in sacks allowed with 0.60 per game and eighth in tackles for loss allowed with 3.3 per game.