Costly mistakes throughout the game lead to a 20-14 Bemidji State University loss at Concordia University Saturday. With the loss, the Beavers fall to 3-3 overall and 2-3 in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. Senior wide receiver Andrew Schultz (Grand Forks, N.D.) surpassed the 100 career receptions, a week after he eclipsed the 1,000 career reception yards threshold.
“I’m proud of the way we battled and never gave up, but we didn’t play nearly well enough to win,” said head coach Jeff Tesch. “They outworked us and battled in there,” Tesch said about CU’s ability to run against BSU. “We just didn’t do enough offensively, we were throwing the ball and couldn’t catch it.”
The Beavers never got rolling on either side of the ball until late in the game. Costly penalties and short yardage mistakes led to the loss to the Golden Bears, ending a four-game winning streak against CU. BSU could only muster 255 yards of offense, while allowing 333, including 227 on the ground.
After stopping the Beavers on the first drive of the game, CU put together a strong first drive, grinding out an 11-play, 80 yard drive into the end zone. The Beavers then responded with an impressive full-field drive of their own that resulted in a touchdown. BSU used 18 plays, a season-long, to go 73 yards for the score. The Beavers ticked 8:46 off the clock, thanks to 13 rushing plays, 12 by sophomore Dustin Kroeplin (RB, Withee, Wis.) that ranked up 42 yards and saw him bounce off the line and break the goal line on a one yard score.
On the ensuing drive, the Beavers thought they had the Golden Bears pinned in their own territory as CU was facing a third and 11 on the 34. The BSU defense flushed Concordia-St. Paul quarterback Spencer Ohm out of the pocket and eventually sacked him seven yards behind the line of scrimmage, but a flag down field proved to be costly. A defensive holding penalty was the call and instead of fourth and 18 it was third and one near midfield. The ball was handed off to CU running back Sam Campbell and he blew through the line for a 25 yard gain, getting chased and pulled down by linebacker Cory Crosby (So., Cold Spring, Minn.) on BSU’s 31 yard line. On the very next play Ohm put the ball in the air and it found the hands of CU’s Charles Gilbert in the end zone after being tipped by a BSU defender. After the extra point the penalty proved to be deadly and the home team owned a 14-7 lead. The Beavers couldn’t respond and the score remained 14-7 at the half.
The Beavers stopped CU on its first possession of the second half, but after driving the ball to midfield senior quarterback Derek Edholm (Anoka, Minn.) was picked-off after ball went in and out of BSU’s sophomore tight end Brain Leonhardt’s (Blaine, Minn.) hands and into the mitts of a CU corner. Four plays later the Golden Bears were in the end zone celebrating a score. The Beavers held on the first three plays of the drive, forcing a fourth and one on the BSU 32. A risky play call saw the option flipped out to Campbell and he took it untouched into the end zone on a 32 yard touchdown. The Golden Bears missed the extra point and the scoreboard read 20-7.
CU was primed to score again at the beginning of the fourth quarter, but missed a 46 yard field goal. After forcing a BSU punt, the Golden Bears started on their 35 yard line and marched into field goal range on the backs of CU’s back-up quarterback James Peterson, playing in place of an injured Ohm. Concordia-St. Paul again stuck the BSU offense and forced a punt. The Beaver defense responded and forced a fourth and one situation on their 46. CU then lined-up like they were going for it and a hard count fooled the Beaver front line and a flag flied. Offside on BSU was called and the road team bailed out the Golden Bears to keep the ball in the hands of the team that owned a 13 point lead. Fortunately the Beavers were able to hold and get the ball back, but not after precious time rolled off the clock.
The Beaver offense finally got going on the ensuing drive, moving the ball quickly through the air. Starting at its own 17 with 10:27 remaining on the clock, BSU moved it down to the CU eight yard line and on fourth down Edholm found sophomore Christian Metz (WR, Cambridge, Minn.) for the touchdown.
The Beaver defense then provided a huge stop on third and one forcing a Golden Bear punt. Schultz received the punt at the 15 and got a couple of blocks and he sprinted down the sideline, tip-toeing his way to the CU 40 before being dragged out of bounds. With momentum and good field position the Beavers were set-up for a late comeback. Unfortunately the BSU offense couldn’t muster a first down and in four downs found themselves again looking to the defense for another chance. The defense forced a third and five with the clock creeping under a minute, but the win was meant to be for the Golden Bears and Peterson found an open receiver on the side line for a nifty first down catch. With no time outs left CU downed the ball twice to seal the victory.
Kroeplin ran the ball 20 times for 82 yards. Edholm was 16-of-31 for 143 yards and a touchdown. Crosby totaled 15 tackles, a career and team high this season. The game was the final of the season for BSU out of the NSIC North.
The Beavers travel to Minnesota State University Moorhead Oct. 16 for a 1 p.m. battle with the Dragons.