The Beaver Radio Network

Video – Beaver Fever Friday – Football – Jordan Hein

Bemidji State University and Winona State University kick off the 2017 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference football schedule at 6 p.m. Thursday, August 31 at Warrior Stadium in Winona, Minn. The Beavers enter the season with high expectations after winning their first postseason title in the 2016 Mineral Water Bowl.

Winona State leads the all-time series against Bemidji State, 44-30-1, including the most recent meeting Sept. 19, a 20-17 victory for the Warriors. The Beavers had won three of the five meetings prior to that, including a Thursday night season-opening road victory, 34-27 in overtime, Sept. 5, 2013 against the Warriors.

Head Coach Brent Bolte, in his second season as BSU’s head coach, is 9-3 since taking the reins of the program in 2016. He helped guide Bemidji State to a 45-17 upset over previously No. 6 ranked Minnesota State University Mankato, the program’s first national ranking since 2011 and BSU’s first-ever post-season victory.

Bemidji State’s high-scoring offense from a season ago is paced by six returners who contributed to the nation’s fourth-highest and the NSIC’s leading total at 45.6 points per game. The Beavers’ total offense of 523.6 yards per game also ranked fourth in the nation and second in the NSIC a season ago. The offensive unit set 14 single-season program records last season but see the replacement of three graduating lineman. Seniors Jake Krause and Brandon Schindler are the only two returners on the line while last year’s starting tight end Tucker Forsgren moves to left tackle. Sophomore Joe Woods takes over the starting right guard spot while junior transfer Parker Blakeslee controls the front of the line at center.

The “Gang Green” defense returns eight starters from last season, which ranked fourth in the conference allowing 24.4 points per game. The secondary led the league with 22 interceptions but see the loses of its two starting safeties. Senior Evan Tompkins and junior John Vogeler step into the starting roles while the Olszewski brothers of EJ and Gunner solidify the corner spots. The 2016 BSU secondary also held opposing quarterbacks to the NSIC’s second-lowest passing efficiency total at 112.6. Four of BSU’s five 2016 All-NSIC First Team selections came from the defensive side of the ball, including Gunner Olszewski who has earned the distinction for both of his seasons with the program.

Listen to the game on Thursday night on the Beaver Radio Network…Benusa Pregame Show begins at 5:30pm, with the kickoff on 92.1 The River set for 6pm!

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