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Beaver Fever Friday Football

Football travels for eighth all-time meeting against Upper Iowa

Bemidji State University heads to Fayette, Iowa for a 2 p.m. kickoff against Upper Iowa University in a battle between Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Interdivisional opponents. The Beavers and Peacocks will face off for the eighth time in the series from Harms-Eischeid Stadium.

Bemidji State holds a 6-1 lead in the all-time series against Upper Iowa. UIU took its only win of the series Sept. 20, 2014, a 47-30 decision in Fayette. The series began Nov. 7, 2006, a 44-20 win by Bemidji State in the Metrodome Classic held in Minneapolis. The Beavers beat the Peacocks in their most recent meeting, 38-24, held Sept. 1, 2016 in Bemidji.

Bemidji State earned its first win after trailing at halftime since 2016 with a 25-21 win against (RV) University of Sioux Falls. The Beavers came back from a 21-3 deficit with 8:30 left in the third quarter for their first win against the Cougars since 1983. The Beavers secured their ninth straight Homecoming victory in the win, the longest Homecoming winning streak in program history.

Bemidji State received votes in the AFCA Top 25 Coaches Poll for the first time since Week Three of the 2017 season.

Senior defensive back Gunner Olszewski earned NSIC Special Teams Player of the Week after totaling 118 return yards (64 kickoff/54 punt) in Week Five at Wayne State, including a 38-yard punt return that he pitched to junior defensive back Michael Junker who ran 56 yards for a touchdown. The special teams award is Olszewski’s fifth overall Player of the Week honor.

Junker has now single-handedly or combined for two 94+ yard touchdowns this season after returning a 100-yard interception for a touchdown against University of Minnesota Crookston.

Olszewski ranks third in the nation with a 20.9 punt return average and three punt returns of more than 35 yards on the season.

Olszewski ranks second in BSU history with 884 career punt return yards and fifth with 11 interceptions. He also ranks tied for ninth all-time at BSU in total tackles, coming into Saturday’s game against Upper Iowa with 293.

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 Defensive Player of the Week, after tying a program single-game record of three interceptions Oct. 31, 2015 at Minot State University.

The Beavers had a miscue in the red zone for the first time this season against the Cougars, but rank third in the nation with a red zone offense of 96.2 percent. BSU has scored 19 touchdowns and six field goals in 26 red zone trips.

BSU’s red zone defense leads the nation with a 45.5 percent red zone defense. The “Gang Green” defense ranks within the top 10 nationally in scoring defense (12.3), interceptions (11) and passing efficiency defense (89.33).

Senior running back Andrew Lackowski topped 100 yards rushing for the first time since Week One, finishing with a team-high 126 yards against Sioux Falls. He added two rushing touchdowns and totaled 35 carries, the most for a BSU running back since 2013.

Henning and Ogden continue to rank as one of the nation’s top 15 passing efficiency offenses, ranking 14th with a 161.98 passing efficiency. BSU’s quarterbacks have only thrown one interception in 127 pass attempts.

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.

Head Coach Brent Bolte currently holds the program’s highest winning percentage at .759 (22-7). His 22 wins in 29 games is the most among all BSU coaches over their first 29 games.

Upper Iowa improved to 2-4 overall following a 44-9 victory over Minot State University last weekend.

Two UIU student-athletes earned NSIC Player of the Week honors following the win.

The Peacock offense racked up 452 yards while the defense held the Beavers to 280 total yards with three interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown.

Junior linebacker Mitchel Siech was named NSIC Defensive Player of the Week after nabbing two interceptions and returning one 26 yards for a touchdown.

Freshman kicker/punter Jonathan Argueta-Herrera earned NSIC Special Teams Player of the Week after converting three field goals and totaling 14 points for the Peacocks.