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BSU football team looks to get back on track at Moorhead
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sports Bemidji, 56619
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

The first half of the football season has not gone quite as planned for the Beavers.

Inconsistent football played on a road heavy schedule has led to a 3-3 record and the Beavers must now win the rest of its games to equal last year's record.

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If the Beavers can do that, the coaches and players remain hopeful for a possible national playoff berth or Mineral Water Bowl Berth.

The Beavers begin the second half at MSU, Moorhead today to face the Dragons in the annual Battle Axe Trophy game. Game time is 1 p.m.

The Beavers (3-3 overall, 2-3 NSIC) and Dragons (2-4 overall, 2-3 NSIC) have played for the Battle Axe for the last 62 years and the trophy has changed hands 21 times.

"It's been around a long time and it definitely means a lot to us," Bemidji State tight end Brian Leonhardt said.

The Beavers will be looking to bounce back from last week's 20-14 loss on the road at Concordia-St. Paul where the offense suffered through dropped passes and the defense gave up uncharacteristic big plays.

"They played extremely hard but they just didn't play well enough to win," Bemidji State head coach Jeff Tesch said. "We have to catch balls. We can't go offsides on fourth down. We can't have misalignments and we have to get back to base fundamentals."

Tesch was happy with the team's effort in practice this week and he hopes it translates into success on the field at Moorhead.

Following every win with a loss this season, it would be understandable for the Beavers to lose interest in the final five games of the season and coast to the finish line.

But Tesch insists the team remains committed to a winning record.

"I think we've had a good a week of practice as we've had all year," Tesch said. "All year I can see the frustration level with the guys because they haven't quite played up to their capabilities yet. They are looking forward to the game where they can play up to their capabilities in all areas of the game and I give them credit for that."

Though Moorhead owns the all-time series against Bemidji State 43-31-1, the Beavers turned the tables on the Dragons in recent years.

The Beavers are 10-2 in the last 12 years against the Dragons and won last year's meeting 35-20 at Chet Anderson Stadium.

Bemidji State appears to match up well against Moorhead on paper. One of the Dragons' two wins this season came against Upper Iowa, a team BSU defeated 51-12 two weeks ago in the homecoming game.

The Dragons enter the game with the second worst scoring offense in the league with an average of 16 points scored per game while the Beavers enter the game with the third best defense in the league with an average of 17.8 points allowed per game.

BSU's offense will likely attack the Dragons on the ground. BSU's 160 average rushing yards per game rank fourth in the conference while Moorhead's 285 average rushing yards allowed per game ranks last.

"It is an intense game (against Moorhead), it's going to be very intense," Bemidji State safety Brody Scheff said. "We're coming of a week against Concordia where we gave a lot of effort but we just didn't execute. The effort and the execution is going to have to be there this week to take down the Dragons."

estromgren@bemidjipioneer.com

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