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Beaver Fever Friday – Beaver Football – Alex Burgess

The Bemidji State University football program meets University of Minnesota Duluth in another battle for the top spot in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference North Division Thursday, Oct. 26 at Chet Anderson Stadium in Bemidji, Minn. The Beavers and Bulldogs are both on five-game winning streaks with the winner taking top claim of the North Division with two games left in the 2017 season.

Minnesota Duluth holds a commanding 45-10-1 lead in the all-time series against Bemidji State, which began Nov. 14, 1931. BSU took the first ever meeting, 14-0, in Bemidji, but UMD has won 15 in a row dating back to Oct. 21, 2000. The last time these two teams faced off at The Chet, the “Gang Green” defense held the Bulldogs to just 14 points but fell after only scoring nine on Nov. 7, 2015.

Head Coach Brent Bolte, in his second season as BSU’s head coach, is 15-5 since taking the reins of the program. His 15 wins since 2016 are the most for any BSU head coach in their first 20 games. Bolte has helped the Beavers average 46.9 points per game at home during his tenure as head coach.

Bemidji State: BSU continued to produce in the second quarter to take full control of last week’s 44-17 win at Northern State University in Aberdeen, S.D. After exiting the first quarter with a 7-6 deficit, the Beavers outscored the Wolves, 38-10, through the final three periods of play. The BSU offense totaled 30 first downs for the first time this season while setting a season high in total rushing yards (347) in back-to-back weeks. The offense as a whole combined for over 500 yards for the third time this season and five touchdowns for the fifth time this season. Bemidji State scored 23 unanswered points between the first and second quarters while the “Gang Green” defense forced four consecutive three-and-outs during the stretch. With another three-and-out forced in the second half, the Beavers’ defense now has 38 total forced this season and 25 over the past four games.

Junior running back Andrew Lackowski has set career highs in rushing yards over the last three weeks, culminating with 184 yards against Northern State with one touchdown run of 70 yards. He averaged 10.8 yards per carry on 17 attempts and ranks second in the NSIC with 101.5 rushing yards per game. Senior quarterback Jordan Hein found sophomore wide receiver Jacob Anderson for two touchdowns late in the first quarter and early in the second to take BSU’s final lead of the day, 13-6. Anderson finished with a career-high six catches, 69 yards and two touchdowns while Hein increased his NSIC lead to 22 touchdown passes, three total against NSU. Senior running back Tahi Nomane also helped the ground game produce with his third 100-yard game of the season, finishing with 115 on 14 attempts.

Junior safety John Vogeler set a new career BSU record after an interception returned for a touchdown on the first possession of the second half, as Vogeler now has three on the season and four total interceptions. Junior corner back Gunner Olszewski and junior corner back Andrew Walock also joined Vogeler in the interception column with one apiece, their first picks of the season. Olszewski led all BSU defenders with 10 tackles, eight coming as solo, with one tackle for a loss. Sophomore defensive end Alex Hoffman followed with eight tackles and a team-high 2.5 tackles for a loss of nine yards.

The Bulldogs posted their second straight shutout, the first instance for UMD since 1984, with a 37-0 win over Minot State University. The win pushed Minnesota Duluth to 33-0 all-time at home against NSIC North Division teams. The Bulldogs eclipsed the 400-yard total offense plateau for the fourth time in five games, generating 236 yards on the ground and 193 yards through the air. Minnesota Duluth enters Thursday’s game fourth in total offense (396.1 ypg) and fourth in total defense (293.3 ypg).

Minnesota Duluth enters Thursday’s game fourth in the NSIC in total offense (396.1 ypg) and fourth in total defense (293.3 ypg). The Bulldogs also rank fifth in scoring offense (29.0 ppg) and fifth in scoring defense (18.9 ppg). Wide receiver Jason Baits leads the NSIC with 84.5 receiving yards per game and has totaled five touchdown catches.

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