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Bemidji State football loss ends hopes of post-season berth

Bemidji State's Andrew Eagan, left, and Jake Schmidt, right, tackle St. Cloud State's Mike Walker during the second quarter of Saturday's game at Husky Stadium in St. Cloud. Pioneer Photo/Eric Stromgren

ST. CLOUD - The Bemidji State football team saw its postseason bowl hopes dashed with a 35-14 loss to No. 25 St. Cloud State Saturday afternoon at Husky Stadium.

The Huskies dominated the Beavers early and scored three touchdowns in the second quarter to lead 28-0 at halftime.

"We came into it with high expectations, came in juiced, but the ball just didn't go our way today," Bemidji State wide receiver Justin Lee said. "St. Cloud does a lot of different things really well and we just couldn't get in a rhythm."

Bemidji State saw its season-high winning streak end at three games and fell to 6-4 on the season (5-4 NSIC). St. Cloud State improved to 8-2 overall (8-1 NSIC). The Beavers wrap up the 2010 season next at home Saturday against Minnesota-Crookston at Chet Anderson Stadium.

"We are going to try to let the seniors leave with a victory in the last game ever," Lee said.

Bemidji State's offense, which rolled over Northern State with 350 rushing yards last week, found yards much harder to come by against the Huskies. The Beavers managed just 262 total yards of offense in the loss.

Justin Lee scored both touchdowns for the Beavers in the second half on 17-yard and 9-yard passes from quarterback Derek Edholm.

"It was just a frustrating day," Lee said. "We moved the ball well at times and then we had a few plays that just didn't work out."

Edholm finished 8-of-23 passing for 85 yards. SCSU quarterback Phillip Klaphake was 8-for-14 for 154 yards and one touchdown.

"Our defense played well and didn't give up field position," SCSU coach Scott Underwood said. "That is always a concern when wind is a factor in the game like it was today... Bemidji is a good football team. They could have come back in the second half."

The Beavers entered the game out of contention for a national playoff berth, but were in the conversation for the Mineral Water Bowl postseason game. The Mineral Water Bowl pits the top teams from the NSIC and Mid America Intercollegiate Athletic Association not to make the national playoff field.

But the loss dropped the Beavers out of a three-way tie for fourth place and elevates Winona State and Concordia-St. Paul into the most likely contenders for the bowl game.

St. Cloud State, ranked No. 6 in the NCAA Super Regional rankings, can sew up a national playoff berth with a win on the road at MSU-Moorhead next week.

The first half of Saturday's game was all St. Cloud State. The Huskies racked up 337 yards of offense through the first two quarters, 189 of them on the ground.

"The bottom line is we needed to get off to a start, we had opportunities and we couldn't do it," Bemidji State head coach Jeff Tesch said. "Their quarterback was probably the difference maker in the game. He threw the ball well and was very elusive. Their front really controlled us, too, on both sides of the game."

Damon Treat opened the scoring for the Huskies on a 69-yard touchdown run at 8:58 of the first quarter to make it 7-0 SCSU.

The Huskies broke the game open in the second quarter with three touchdowns. Mike Walker scored on a 1-yard run at 13:35, Fred Williams scored on a 34-yard touchdown reception from Klaphake at 6:42 and Treat scored his second touchdown of the game at the two-minute warning to make it 28-0.

"That was a good football team," Tesch said. "They're only loss was to a heck of a Duluth football team. They're a good football team and we needed to do a few things when we had field position ... I thought the defense played a lot better in the second half and we shored up the offense a little bit. I thought we just didn't make enough plays."