The Bemidji State football team had little trouble with Minnesota-Crookston Saturday and defeated the Golden Eagles 45-6 at Ed Widseth Field.
Bemidji State quarterback Derek Edholm threw five touchdowns in the game, three to tight end Brian Leonhardt.
Edholm and Leonhardt combined for all of the scoring in the first half to give Bemidji State a 20-0 lead at halftime.
Bemidji State led 26-0 before the Golden Eagles scored.
Crookston (1-7 overall) remained winless in the NSIC at 0-7.
The win improved the Beavers to 6-2 on the season (5-2 NSIC) and set up a showdown with defending national champion Minnesota-Duluth next week at Chet Anderson Stadium.
The Bulldogs (7-1 overall, 7-0 NSIC) swamped St. Cloud State 31-7 on Saturday to stay tied for first place in the overall NSIC standings. The win also gave No. 9 ranked UMD sole possession of first place in the NSIC North Division.
Bemidji State is tied for third place in the NSIC overall standing and are one game back of UMD in the North Division standings.
A win against UMD next week would be a major boost to Bemidji State's national playoff hopes with three games remaining on the season.
The Beavers entered Saturday's game against Crookston ranked No. 14 in the nation in rushing average (212 yards per game) and continued rolling with 276 yards on the ground against the Golden Eagles.
Dustin Kroeplin led the attack with 22 carries for 127 yards and one touchdown in his second straight 100-yard effort.
Backup quarterback Lance Rongstad had 10 carries for 86 yards. Brad Hemling rushed 12 times for 39 yards and scored a touchdown as time expired in the game.
Edholm finished 11-for-15 passing for 179 yards and had one interception.
Bemidji State's defense smothered Crookston quarterback Tim Ennis, who finished 12-for-25 for 85 yards and threw three interceptions. He had one touchdown and was sacked twice.
Andrew Eagan, Tiger Ellison and Charlie Hrdlicka had the interceptions for the Beavers.
Senior linebacker Jake Anderson led Bemidji State's defense with seven tackles, including two for a loss and a solo sack.
UMC running back Keith McBride finished with 18 carries for 99 yards.
Bemidji State continued its playing style of controlling the ball and sustaining long drives.
The Beavers held the ball for just over 36 minutes in the game and were 10-for-12 on third down conversions.
The game was all Bemidji State early with Edholm throwing his first two touchdown passes to Brian Leonhardt in the first quarter. Leonhardt scored on touchdown receptions for 21 yards and 15 yards.
Early in the second quarter, Edholm hit Leonhardt again for a 21-yard touchdown reception, but Jesse Sundby's kick failed and Bemidji State led 20-0.
On Bemidji State's first drive of the third quarter, Edholm found Christian Metz on a 10-yard touchdown reception at 11:44 to put the Beavers up 26-0.
Ennis threw his only touchdown of the day in the third quarter, a nine-yard pass to Antonio Williams at 6:25.
Bemidji State's Jason Bromm blocked the point after attempt by Kyle Myers.
Edholm threw his final touchdown pass of the day to Adam Berg with 3:15 left in the third quarter to put the Beavers up 33-6. His 13-yard touchdown reception ended a six play, 56 yard drive.
Bemidji State added two rushing touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
Kroeplin scored on a 3-yard run with 12:08 remaining and Hemling scored as time expired to give Bemidji State the 45-6 victory.