Beavers retain Battle Axe after 46-7 victory at MSU-Moorhead
The Bemidji State University Football team earned its fifth consecutive victory Saturday afternoon after defeating Minnesota State University, Moorhead 46-7 in Moorhead, Minn. In the 73rd meeting for the Battle Axe rivalry trophy the Beavers (5-2, 3-0 NSIC North) retained the axe for the third consecutive season.
Bemidji State has now scored 44 or more points in its last four games and 34 or more during its winning streak. Its defense has also been dominant and held opponents to 14 or less points for the third consecutive week. The Beavers have out-scored opponents 231-67 during its winning streak.
The “Gang-Green” defense started the scoring for the Beavers on the Dragons’ (2-5, 1-2 NSIC North) first drive of the game with its first safety since 2015. The Beavers continued to put relentless pressure on the Dragons’ quarterback and sacked the quarterback nine times in the game, the second most in program history (10.0 at MSU Moorhead, Nov. 11, 2017).
BSU was led by Senior Zollie Kaplan who recorded 3.0 sacks in the game, a career-high and tied for the second most in program history (3.5, Jake Evans at MSU Moorhead (Nov. 11, 2017). Kaplan totaled five tackles in the game including four for a loss.
The nation’s eighth highest scoring offense was also dominant on the day and totaled 561 yards including 358 through the air and 203 on the ground for the Beavers’ second highest rushing total of the season. Led by senior Jalen Frye, the Beavers rushed for five touchdowns on the day including three for the senior, the most in his career and most by a Beaver since Jared Henning rushed for three touchdowns in 2016. He finished the game with 92 yards on the ground in 24 attempts and also caught two passes for 28 receiving yards. Jarret Gronski and Sage Booker also rushed for touchdowns and totaled 54 and 41 rushing yards, respectively.
Junior quarterback Brandon Alt threw for his fourth 300 yard passing game of the season and totaled 311 yards through the air on 20-of-27 attempts and one touchdown. His lone touchdown pass of the game was a 55-yard toss to sophomore Jake Hill.
Hill led BSU pass catchers with 122 yards, a career-high for the Osseo, Minn., native. Hill and senior Brendan Beaulieu tied for the team lead with five receptions while Beaulieu totaled 90 yards. They were followed by Joey Baron who caught four passes for 53 yards while Dhel Duncan-Busby added three catches for 40 yards.
Defensively, Spencer Wehr paced the Beavers with six tackles, five solo, and also added an interception while Kaplan and Colbey Wadsworth added five tackles each. Wadsworth followed Kaplan with 1.5 sacks while Ryan Schnobrich also had 1.5 sacks.
Bemidji State will battle University of Minnesota Duluth next Saturday for supremacy of the NSIC North Division. Both teams are atop the standings with a 3-0 record in the division. Kick-off against the Bulldogs is scheduled for 1:00 p.m., at Chet Anderson Stadium.