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Beavers left out; football season is over

The Bemidji State football team did not qualify for postseason play despite its 8-3 overall record and 7-3 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference mark.

The NCAA Division II Tournament field was determined Sunday and the selection committee picked St. Cloud State and Minnesota-Duluth from the NSIC.

St. Cloud and Minnesota-Duluth shared the NSIC regular season title with Minnesota State, Mankato with 8-2 NSIC records. SCSU and UMD had one more non-conference win than the Mavericks.

On Monday, the Mineral Water Bowl announced Mankato and Northeastern State of Oklahoma as the two teams that will compete in the Dec. 3 game in Excelsior Springs, Mo.

The Mineral Water Bowl is the only postseason opportunity for NSIC teams outside of the NCAA Tournament. The game pits the top teams from the NSIC and the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Conference not to make the NCAA Tournament.

Had Mankato qualified for the NCAA Tournament, the Beavers would have had a strong case for the Mineral Water Bowl berth. BSU finished in a three-way tie for fourth place in the NSIC standings with Winona State and Wayne State, but had one more win in non-conference play due to the season-opening home win against Minot State.

The Beavers lost in the Mineral Water Bowl in 2006 to Pittsburg (Kan.) State and the program has yet to qualify for an NCAA Tournament.

Despite not making the postseason, the 2011 season will be remembered as one of the most successful seasons under head coach Jeff Tesch at BSU.

The 2011 season marked the fourth season with eight wins under Tesch (1999, 2004, 2009). Only the 2006 NSIC Championship team won more games (9) since Tesch took over in 1996.

The seven NSIC wins tied the 2009 team as the most in the Tesch era and are second only to the 8-0 NSIC season in 2006.

Bemidji State started the 2011 season with a 6-1 record, which included a 30-27 overtime win over then No. 16 Augustana on the road and a 20-7 homecoming win against 2010 Mineral Water Bowl participant Concordia-St. Paul in the homecoming game. The 26-23 loss to Minnesota-Duluth in the fourth week of the season was the only defeat during that span.

BSU lost two road games at the end of October to U-Mary and Northern State. Those defeats ultimately cost BSU a shot at the postseason.

The Beavers bounced back from those losses to defeat No. 6 St. Cloud State 19-14 in the final home game, but it was not enough to make a difference for the postseason and the season ended Saturday with a 31-12 win at Minnesota-Crookston.

Bemidji State made the American College Football Assocation's Top 25 national poll three times this season. BSU was ranked No. 20 after the 6-1 start and it was the highest ranking in the history of the program.

NCAA Tournament

First Round

Saturday, Nov. 19

Albany State (Ga.) (8-3) at North Greenvile (9-2), 11 a.m.

Elizabeth City State (8-3) at California (Pa.) (9-2), 11 a.m.

Concord (7-3) at Kutztown (10-1), 11 a.m.

North Alabama (8-2) at West Alabama (8-3),12 noon

Northwest Missouri State (9-2) at Missouri Western (9-2),12 noon

Abilene Christian (8-2) at Washburn (9-2),12 noon

Saginaw Valley (7-3) at Minnesota-Duluth (9-2),12 noon

Wayne State (Mich.) (10-1) at St. Cloud State (9-2),12 noon

Second Round

Saturday, Nov. 26

Concord-Kutztown winner at New Haven (10-1), TBA

Albany State (Ga.)-North Greenville winner at Mars Hill (8-2),12 noon

Elizabeth City State-California (Pa.) winner at Winston-Salem (11-0),12 noon

North Alabama-West Alabama winner at Delta State (9-2),12 noon

Northwest Missouri State-Missouri Western winner at Midwestern State (10-0),12 noon

Abilene Christian-Washburn winner at at Pittsburg State (9-1),12 noon

Wayne State (Mich.)-St. Cloud State winner at Nebraska-Kearney (10-1), 1212 noon

Saginaw Valley-Minnesota-Duluth winner at Colorado State-Pueblo (11-0), 1 p.m.


Saturday, Dec. 3

To be determined


Saturday, Dec. 10

To be determined


Saturday, Dec. 18

At Braly Municipal Stadium

Florence, Ala.

Semifinal winners