Bemidji State used two key plays on special teams in the third quarter to take control of the game as the Beavers posted a 27-10 victory over Wayne State Saturday afternoon on a cold, drizzly day in Northern Sun Conference football played at Cunningham Field in Wayne on the annual Homecoming/Hall of Fame Game. BSU is now 4-1 and 3-1 in the NSIC North while WSC is 1-4 and 1-3 in the NSIC South.
The game was a defensive battle that saw less than 500 yards combined between the two teams and 18 punts (11 by Wayne State).
Bemidji State scored on their first drive of the game, driving just 29 yards on five plays with Andrew Lackowski finding the end zone from one yard out giving the Beavers a 7-0 lead with 13:04 to play first quarter.
The lone score in the second quarter was a Wayne State field goal of 27 yards by Ethan Knudson at the 9:08 mark, making the score 7-3 at halftime.
Bemidji State received the ball to start the second half and Gunner Olszewski returned the kickoff 64 yards to set up the Beavers at the WSC 28. Junior quarterback Jared Henning scored on a three-yard rush to put BSU in front 13-3 after a failed PAT attempt.
Later in the quarter on a WSC punt, Olszewski fielded the ball at the five yard line and broke loose and as he was getting tackled at the BSU 44 tossed the ball to Michael Junker who completed the punt return for a BSU touchdown, giving the Beavers a 20-3 lead with 6:00 to play in the third quarter.
Bemidji State’s longest drive of the game, 47 yards, resulted in another score early in the fourth quarter as Lackowski found paydirt again on a one-yard plunge to give the Beavers a 27-3 advantage.
Wayne State closed out the scoring with a six play, 55-yard drive late in the quarter as sophomore running back Marlon Warren capped the drive with a 12-yard scoring run to make the final score 27-10.
Bemidji State outgained Wayne State in the contest 260-224. The Beavers had 215 yard rushing and only 45 passing while WSC was limited to 29 yards on the ground and had 195 passing.
Warren was Wayne State’s top rusher with 41 yards on 12 carries and one TD.
True freshman quarterback Alex Thramer got the start and completed 12 of 27 passes for 106 yards while redshirt freshman Brady Brandsfield was 8 of 17 for 89 yards.
Senior Nate Rogers grabbed a team-high seven receptions for 62 yards followed by sophomore tight end Conner Paxton with five catches for 40 yards. Wayne true freshman Mason Lee added four catches for 62 yards.
Defensively, junior linebacker Tyler Thomsen had a team-high 11 tackles with one forced fumble. Junior linebacker Ian Ailts added eight tackles with one fumble recovery and a 26-yard return that set up Wayne State’s fourth quarter score.
Wayne State will be on the road next weekend as the Wildcats visit St. Cloud State for a 1 p.m. NSIC contest.