The Beaver Radio Network

Beaver Fever Friday – Football – Hank Bellefy

The Bemidji State University and University of Minnesota Duluth football programs face-off for the 58th time in the series while battling for the lead of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference North Division Saturday, Sept. 22 in Duluth, Minn. Both teams enter the 6 p.m. kickoff with a 3-0 record and boast the conference’s top scoring offenses and defenses.

THE SERIES

Minnesota Duluth holds a 46-10-1 lead in the series against Bemidji State.
Minnesota Duluth has won 16 straight against Bemidji State.
The series began Nov. 13, 1931, a 14-0 win by Bemidji State.
The Beavers fell to the Bulldogs, 17-0, in the most recent matchup Oct. 26, 2017.

THE TEAMS
Bemidji State

Head Coach Brent Bolte, in his third season, is 21-6 since taking over the program in 2016.
Bolte’s 21 wins are the most by any BSU head coach over their first three seasons.
BSU has posted back-to-back shutouts for the fourth time since 1950 and the first since 2004 after a 69-0 win over University of Minnesota Crookston.
Junior defensive back Michael Junker earned his first career NSIC Defensive Player of the Week award after recording two interceptions (one returned a BSU-record 100 yards for a touchdown), one fumble recovery and one sack.
The Beavers now have two NSIC Defensive Players of the Week in one season for the first time since 2016, after sophomore linebacker Gabe Ames earned the distinction following the season-opening win over Northern State University.
Bemidji State moved itself to the top of the conference in rushing yards per game (341.3) after posting 328 against the Golden Eagles. Redshirt freshman Jalen Frye has topped the century mark in all three games this season and ranks third with 360 rushing yards and 120.0 rushing yards per game. He has the most rushing yards for a BSU freshman through his first three games since Tyler Olson ran for 443 in 2004.
True freshman running back Sherrod Kpahn ran for 113 yards on 14 carries for his first career 100-yard rushing game. True freshman Sage Booker rushed for 95 yards against UMC after posting 163 at University of Mary the previous week.
Of BSU’s six 100-yard rushing performances, five have come on the legs of freshman. Frye leads the team with three 100-yard games, followed by Booker, Kpahn and senior running back Andrew Lackowski.
The passing duo of junior quarterback Jared Henning and true freshman quarterback Alec Ogden combined for six total touchdowns, three each, and 135 passing yards while not giving away a turnover against UMC. All six passing touchdowns went to different receivers.
BSU’s aerial attack ranks first in the NSIC and second in the nation with a 200.3 passing efficiency, while the “Gang Green” defense ranks first in the league and sixth in the nation with a 80.8 passing efficiency defense. The Beavers are one of 14 teams in the nation without an interception.
After seven takeaways against the Golden Eagles, the Beavers lead the nation with a 3.33 turnover margin. BSU forced four interceptions and three fumbles against UMC.
Bemidji State leads the nation in red zone offense, red zone defense, rushing offense and scoring offense.
Senior defensive back Gunner Olszewski ranks second in the nation with an average punt return of 30.0 yards. He opened the season with a 36-yard punt return against Northern State and a 59-yard punt return at U-Mary.
Olszewski was selected as the NSIC North Division Defensive Player of the Year and BSU’s Defensive Player to Watch for the second consecutive season. He has previously earned three All-NSIC Defensive First Team honors, All-NSIC Special Teams Honorable Mention, NSIC Newcomer of the Year, Lindy’s Sports Magazine Preseason All-Division II Second Team, Football Gameplan’s 2016 Preseason All-American Team, Conference Commissioner’s Association (CCA) All-Super Region Three Second Team Defense, three NSIC Player of the Week accolades and D2Football.com Defensive Player of the Week, after tying a program single-game record of three interceptions Oct. 31, 2015 at Minot State University.
Olszewski ranks third in BSU history with 804 career punt return yards, fifth with 11 interceptions and third with 157 solo tackles. He is three total tackles shy of reaching the top 10 in program history.
Lackowski was chosen as BSU’s Offensive Player to Watch in the 2018 NSIC Preseason Coaches’ Poll after being selected 2017 All-NSIC North Division Offensive First Team.
The Beavers entered the 2018 season ranked 5th in the overall NSIC Preseason Coaches’ Poll and 2nd in the North Division for the third consecutive season.

No. 11 Minnesota Duluth

UMD enters the weekend 3-0 overall after a 41-17 win at St. Cloud State University.
The Bulldogs held the Huskies to 78 total yards in the second half while taking its sixth straight win against the program.
Sophomore quarterback John Larson ran for one touchdown and threw for two as he completed 16-of-27 passes for 188 yards, finding eight receivers.
UMD trails only BSU among NSIC teams in scoring offense, scoring defense, rushing offense, passing efficiency and passing efficiency defense.
The Bulldogs and Beavers each rank among the top two NSIC North Division teams in 10 different categories.

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