The first week of Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference football kicked off Thursday night with Bemidji State's game against Minot State and five other games.
Bemidji State rallied to win its opener 27-24 at Minot State (N.D.) in the annual Beaver Bash behind a strong effort from sophomore quarterback Derek Edholm, who threw for 305 yards and two touchdowns - both to George Kadlec.
It was a night of unexpected plays by the Bemidji State special teams unit that saw a blocked field goal, a missed extra point and a missed field goal. Minot return man also hit the Beavers for a punt return and kick return for a touchdown.
Bemidji State trailed 24-12 with 16 minutes to play before Brandon Miles punched in a three-yard touchdown run and Edholm connected with Kadlec for the game winning score with 3:24 to play.
"We said keep playing," Edholm said to the Minot Daily News. "(Minot) did a great job of coming out and getting going and it was a great atmosphere here - I think we might have had a little butterflies early. But we started to come together and kept after it."
It was a night of unexpected football around the conference.
In a game between Conference newcomers, Augustana defeated St. Cloud State 13-10 in overtime in Sioux Falls, S.D.
It was a grinding-type defensive game that saw Augustana go up 7-0 with 1:20 left in the first quarter on Jeremy Huber's run.
St. Cloud State tied up the game with 10:39 left on Mitch Watkins' 23-yard touchdown pass to Fred Williams.
The Huskies took a 10-7 lead in overtime on a field goal, but the Vikings ended it on the next possession in two plays.
When St. Cloud State showed blitz, Augustana quarterback Luke Butler made an adjustment for the man-to-man coverage and connected with Tyler Schulte on a 23-yard touchdown reception.
In Warrensburg, Mo., Minnesota State University, Mankato was handled easily by Central Missouri State in a game that was delayed by thunderstorms.
The 7 p.m. scheduled game did not kick off until shortly after 9 p.m. and did not end until after midnight.
Central Missouri State defeated Mankato 29-9. All of the Mavericks points came on Spencer Goff field goals.
Bemidji State hosts Mankato next Saturday in the Shrine Game at Chet Anderson Stadium.
In Bismarck, N.D., No. 9 ranked Chadron State handled the University of Mary 37-17. All of Mary's points came in the second quarter to cut Chadron State's lead to 20-17 at halftime.
In Aberdeen, S.D., Missouri Western State defeated Northern State 38-27. The game was tied at 17-17 at half, but the Wolves could not hold on.
Missouri Western wideout Cedric Houston burned the Wolves with touchdown receptions of 86 and 48 yards.
In Des Moines, Iowa, Upper Iowa battled Division I Drake University tough before falling 17-13. The Peacocks lone touchdown came on an interception return from all-conference player Dominique Jackson.
Week 1 NSIC football continues today with five games on the schedule.
Defending NSIC champion Winona State travels to Houghton to take on Michigan Tech, Wayne State will take on in-state rival Nebraska-Kearney, Minnesota State University, Moorhead travels to Valley City State, Minnesota-Crookston travels to Southwest Minnesota State in a conference match and conference favorite Minnesota-Duluth will close out the day's schedule with a conference night game (6 p.m) at Concordia-St. Paul.
The conference returns to normal Saturday scheduling next week.
The biggest non-conference game of next week will see St. Cloud State on the road to face former North Central Conference team North Dakota, which won its first Dvision I game over Texas A&M Kingsville, 40-14 on Thursday night in Grand Forks.
There will be four conference games on the schedule beginning with the Beavers matchup against the Mavericks.
Moorhead will travel to Wayne State, Mary will travel to Upper Iowa and Northern State will travel to Winona state.
The Northern Sun will have three champions under the new format this season - an overall conference champion, a North Division champion and a South Division champion.
The first three weeks of games are either non-conference or intra-conference games.
Divsional games begin on Sept. 20.