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Bemidji State football: Beavers return home to face U-Mary

Derek Edholm and the Bemidji State football team hosts U-Mary at 1 p.m. today at Chet?Anderson Stadium. Pioneer?File Photo/Eric Stromgren

The Bemidji State football team has been a group of road warriors for much of the season.

Today's 1 p.m. game against the University of Mary at Chet Anderson Stadium marks only the third home game of the season for the Beavers, which have played five of its first seven games on the road.

The reward for the road heavy schedule is three of the final four games will be played at home.

"We love being home, it's kind of turning into our weather here," Bemidji State head coach Jeff Tesch said. "Late in the fall we play good this time of the season and we're fired up. It's nice to be home."

Bemidji State enters the game with a 4-3 overall record (3-3 NSIC) and are coming off last weekend's 14-6 road victory over Minnesota State University, Moorhead in the Battle Axe game.

The Beavers relied on defense to beat the Dragons in its homecoming game. The defense limited the Dragons to 202 total offensive yards and when MSUM scored its lone touchdown late in the third quarter, Averey Duncan and Matt Gandrud blocked the extra point.

The Beavers were able to grind out the first NSIC North Division victory of the season and are 1-1 in North Division play entering Saturday's game.

"It's a win," Bemidji State quarterback Derek Edholm said. "It was kind of frustrating and we struggled a little bit. But they (Moorhead) were fired up and played well too ... it was a little bit disappointing the way we played but I'm glad we won."

Offensive scoring has been tougher to come by this season in NSIC play for the Beavers. BSU is averaging 21 points per game this season after averaging 32 points per game last season.

The Marauders enter the game 1-6 overall (1-5 NSIC) with its only win this year against Minnesota-Crookston.

The Beavers have won the last two meetings between the two teams, including a 31-10 victory in 2008 the last game at Chet Anderson Stadium.

BSU and Mary enter the game in the bottom half of the league in scoring offense, so this game could be decided by the team plays better defense.

BSU has the edge there statistically and are ranked third in the league with an average of 16 points allowed per game. U-Mary ranks ninth with an average of 31 points allowed per game.

The Beavers defense will have to cope with injuries this week as defensive captain and senior linebacker George Percak-Dennett, linebacker Luke Knutson and safety Dusty Sluzewicz are all expected to miss today's game.

Despite the injuries, the Beavers are energized to play in front of the home crowd for the first time in three weeks.

"I thought we had a good week of practice," Edholm said. "Overall it's been good, the attitude is well and we're happy to be back home," Edholm said.