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FOOTBALL: Beavers trust Brandon Alt to keep on slinging it in ‘risk-reward’ attack

Through four games, Brandon Alt has 13 passing touchdowns and 1,353 passing yards, which respectively rank second and third in Division II. He’s also led his team to 36.3 points per game, best in the NSIC, and leads the conference in most all quarterback categories.

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Bemidji State junior Brandon Alt makes a pass in the third quarter against Minnesota State on Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022, at Chet Anderson Stadium.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer
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BEMIDJI -- In the backyards of Cottage Grove, a soon-to-be quarterback of the Bemidji State football team established his gunslinging roots.

“It was kind of like recess ball,” said Brandon Alt. “You have your good buddies, and you guys play catch at home all the time. … He runs deep and you chuck it. It’s one of those ‘pick a receiver and throw it’ kind of offenses. You just learn to love to play that backyard, freestyle ball. It’s a lot of fun.”

Now on a brighter stage, Alt has carried that same joy with him to the college level.

“Growing up, being a quarterback, the coaches knew I had a strong arm by just playing catch with friends,” he said. “I fell in love with it from a young age.”

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Bemidji State junior quarterback Brandon Alt (10) claps during a team stretch on the first day of fall practice on Monday, Aug. 8, 2022, at Chet Anderson Stadium.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

Fast forward a few levels, and the Beavers’ junior signal-caller is picking up right where he left off last season. Through four games, Alt has 13 passing touchdowns and 1,353 passing yards, which respectively rank second and third in Division II. He’s also led his team to 36.3 points per game, best in the NSIC, and leads the conference in most all quarterback categories.

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None of that, mind you, surprises those in the locker room.

“He’s a great weapon,” BSU head coach Brent Bolte said. “If you could build your franchise or college team around a quarterback, that’s what you’re looking to do. … He’s a great team leader, he’s a great captain and we’re just happy to have him. Hopefully he continues to have a good year.”

But, at times, the bad comes with the good. Alt has thrown nine interceptions this year -- including at least two in every game -- for a total that’s second-most in the country. His sling-it mentality benefits Bemidji State more often than not, but he also knows that cutting down on picks will take the offense to the next level.

“Interceptions are huge. You never want those,” Alt said. “You take away those, and some of those games are ours, and some of those games are blowouts. … It is a risk-reward, passing a lot. But you’ve got to trust your quarterback, and I truly believe that this offense does. They trust me to get the job done, and I trust the guys just as much.”

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Bemidji State junior Brandon Alt (10) hands off the ball to Jalen Frye (1) during the second quarter against Winona State on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022, at Chet Anderson Stadium.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

Alt’s latest aerial showcase will come at 1 p.m. today, Oct. 1, against Minot State in Minot, N.D. And Bolte has no plans on holding back his QB.

“You don’t want to (limit) one of your best weapons on offense. We’re not going to do that. He’s just got to protect the ball,” Bolte said. “You’ve just got to let a good quarterback play his style. … I have a lot of faith in that kid, and so does everybody else.”

Briefly

  • Starting left guard Zach Ott left last week’s game with an injury and is not listed as a starter on the team’s Week 5 depth chart. Starting right guard Bill Ketola is now listed as the starting left guard for Week 5, and Connor Kovas is listed as the starting right guard.
  • Head coach Brent Bolte broke a tie with Chet Anderson for the third-most coaching victories in program history last week. Bolte’s head coaching record is now 44-18, and only Jeff Tesch (126) and Jolly Erickson (53) have more coaching wins in BSU history.
Micah Friez is the sports editor at the Bemidji Pioneer. A native of East Grand Forks, Minn., he joined the Pioneer in 2015 and is a 2018 graduate of Bemidji State University with a degree in Creative and Professional Writing. Follow him on Twitter at @micahfriez for Lumberjack and Beaver updates.
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