No. 16/12 Beavers travel to Duluth for top 25 showdown with Bulldogs
Bemidji State enters the week 3-0 on the road and 6-1 overall
The No. 16/12 Bemidji State University Football team is set for their second top 25 matchup of the season when they play at No. 25 Minnesota Duluth this Saturday with kickoff set for 12 p.m. at James S. Malosky Stadium. It will be a matchup of the top two teams in the conference in points allowed and the teams that are in the top three in the NSIC in scoring offenses.
Bemidji State (6-1, 6-1 NSIC) rolled to the 38-3 conference win over Concordia-St. Paul this past weekend at the Chet. The BSU defense forced three interceptions and added three sacks, while the special teams blocked three consecutive punt attempts by the Golden Bears. Brandon Alt threw a pair of touchdowns to Joey Baron and Jake Hill. Ali Mohamed rushed for two touchdowns and added 77 rushing yards. Marcus Hansen, Stephen Hoffman and Jacob Drietz all tallied blocked punts. Max Buduris had a team-high seven tackles, along with a sack and an interception returned for a touchdown.
The top four teams remain tight in the NSIC standings. Augustana, following their 28-10 win over Minnesota State, are the lone undefeated team in the standings at 8-0 overall and 7-0 in NSIC play. Minnesota Duluth, Minnesota State and Bemidji State are all 6-1 in NSIC play. Then a trio of teams are 4-3 in MSU Moorhead, Wayne State and Winona State.
BSU leads the NSIC in third down conversion percentage on defense (0.286), which ranks 17th nationally, in defensive touchdowns scored (2), which is 26th nationally, in passes intercepted (13), which is 10th nationally, punt return defensive yards allowed per game (1.0), good for sixth nationally, red zone offense percentage (0.857), 38th nationally, team passing efficiency on defense (96.64), 12th nationally, team sacks per game (3.29), ninth nationally, turnover margin (1.14), 15th nationally and in turnovers gained (18), 18th nationally. Bemidji State is in the top 30 nationally in fourth down conversion percentage (0.611), 27th nationally, fewest penalties (35), 12th nationally, first downs allowed on defense (118), 29th nationally, kickoff return yards allowed (14.96), 14th nationally, kickoff return yards gained (23.22), 24th nationally, passes that have been intercepted (4), 18th nationally, passing offensive yards per game (257), 23rd nationally, red zone defensive percentage (0.609), 12th nationally, sacks allowed per game (0.86), 15th nationally, scoring offense per game (36.4), 22nd nationally, tackles for loss allowed per game (4.86), 25th nationally, team tackles for loss (8.6), 10th nationally, total offensive yards per game (417), 28th nationally and in win-loss percentage (0.857), 24th nationally.
Individually, Alt ranks 21st nationally in passing touchdowns (17), 32nd in total offense per game (249.3), 35th in completions per game (17.29), 37th in passing yards per completion (13.74), 39th in passing efficiency (146.3), 40th in points responsible for per game (14.9) and 42nd in passing yards (1,662). Duncan-Busby is seventh nationally in receiving touchdowns (9), 36th in total touchdowns and 50th in scoring per game (7.7). Marko Jovisic is 31st nationally in both field goal percentage (0.750) and field goals per game (1.0). De’vonta Roberts is 12th nationally and leads the NSIC in kickoff return yards per game (28.2). Princeten Harris is 32nd nationally and leads the NSIC in passes defended per game (1.2). Jake Hill is 49th nationally in punt return yards per game (5.4). Mohamed is 40th nationally in rushing touchdowns (7). Hansen is eighth nationally in tackles for loss per game (1.9) and 29th nationally in sacks per game (0.79).
Alt eclipsed 10,000 career passing yards at Wayne State. He enters the game this week with 10,311 career passing yards. Over the past 33 games, Alt has thrown for 101 touchdowns and has 111 for his career.
The defense has 23 sacks and 13 interceptions on the season. The defense recorded three sacks against CSP to snap a streak of two games without one. On the season, the Beavers have at least four sacks in four games. The defense did tally three interceptions to record multiple INT for the fifth game this year. After Caleb Young returned an interception for a touchdown against Wayne State, Buduris added one against Concordia-St. Paul. BSU has returned 13 interceptions for 262 yards this season.
Alt has completed 121-211 for 1,662 yards and 17 touchdowns to just four interceptions. Sam McGath has completed 11-20 for 137 yards and three touchdowns.
On the ground, Ali Mohamed had a big game against CSP and has now rushed 80 times for 396 yards and seven touchdowns. Sage Booker adds 47 attempts for 250 yards and three scores. Gronski is at 169 yards on 45 carries and a touchdown. Jayden Washington adds 34 carries for 138 yards and a score, while McGath has the other rushing touchdown on 15 carries and 104 yards.
Duncan-Busby has caught 28 passes for 443 yards and nine touchdowns. Jake Hill and Brice Peters are both over 200 receiving yards with Hill bringing in 18 catches for 271 yards and a touchdown, while Peters has 16 receptions for 216 yards and a score. Baron is now up to three receiving touchdowns to go along with 189 yards and 23 catches. Booker has 14 catches for 188 yards and two scores. Mike Wandmaker has two receiving touchdowns to go along with five catches for 62 yards.
On defense, Buduris leads the team with 40 tackles, 31 solo, along with six tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, an interception and six passes broken up. Jarrett Klein is second on the team with 34 tackles, 20 solo, along with an interception and a forced fumble. Spencer Wehr has 30 tackles, along with four tackles for loss, an interception and three passes defended. Hoffman has 28 tackles, along with six tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. Hansen adds 26 tackles with 13 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks. Jamel Stone and Harris are tied for the team lead in interceptions at two apiece.
Minnesota Duluth leads the series at 48-12-1 since the first meeting in 1931. UMD is 25-3 against BSU in Duluth. The Beavers have won the last two meetings, including the last meeting in Duluth in 2021, coming away with the 42-35 victory. That was the first win on the road in 70 years in the series.
Minnesota Duluth is 7-1 overall and 6-1 in NSIC play following their 42-7 win over Minot State last week. The Bulldogs have won two straight since the 28-18 road loss at Wayne State. Following that game, UMD claimed the 46-0 home win over UMary. The Bulldogs are 4-0 at home this season.
Kyle Walljasper does it all at quarterback for the Bulldogs. He has 28 combined touchdowns with 15 through the air and another 13 on the ground. He has rushed for 805 yards and thrown for 1,029. Jaylen McKnight has rushed for 376 yards and four touchdowns. Jimmy Durocher leads the receivers with 19 catches for 316 yards and four scores. Sam Pitz has a team-high seven touchdowns, to go along with 20 catches for 305 yards.
Andrew Klopp leads the defense with 33 tackles (23 solo), along with 4.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, an interception and two forced fumbles. Marcus Glodowski has 29 tackles (21 solo), along with two tackles for loss and a pair of interceptions. Drew Hennessey has 11.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks, while Ethan Beffert has 11 tackles for loss and three sacks. Tim Pokornowski leads the team with three interceptions. Just like the Beavers, the Bulldogs have a lot of sacks and interceptions this season. UMD has 26 sacks and 10 interceptions.