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FOOTBALL: Bemidji State ‘piranhas’ pounce on Minot State in 59-14 bash

“When the ball got rolling, these guys are like piranhas,” BSU head coach Brent Bolte said. “If there’s blood in the water, they feed off of big plays on offense and defense.”

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Bemidji State Beavers
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MINOT, N.D. -- The Beaver Bash became a blowout in a hurry.

The Bemidji State football team scored three lightning-fast touchdowns in the final 2:25 of the first half on Saturday, soaring past their Beaver counterparts from Minot State en route to a dominant 59-14 victory in Minot, N.D.

“When the ball got rolling, these guys are like piranhas,” BSU head coach Brent Bolte said. “If there’s blood in the water, they feed off of big plays on offense and defense.”

Saturday’s win is Bemidji State’s 18th consecutive victory over MSU, a streak that dates back to 2003. BSU (3-2, 1-0 NSIC North) produced its most points in a game this season while also allowing its fewest.

“It’s always gratifying to go on the road and play well,” Bolte said. “It’s good to see everybody get out there. We should be winning these games. We’ve got a good team.”

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MSU (0-5, 0-1 NSIC North) stuck around deep into the second quarter, hanging within 14-7 and threatening again in the red zone. But Jarrett Klein intercepted a pass at the 3-yard line, plucking it out of the air just above the turf, and the BSU offense immediately made it count.

Brandon Alt zipped a pass to Bryce Duffy for a 13-yard TD with 2:25 to go in the half. After a Minot State three-and-out, Dhel Duncan-Busby caught a short pass and weaved through the defense untouched for a 62-yard score on BSU’s next play from scrimmage. And following another MSU three-and-out, Jalen Frye added a final touchdown just before halftime on a 1-yard rush.

What had been a prolonged one-possession game suddenly erupted into a 36-7 romp within 133 seconds.

“We can score in bunches if we get the ball back to our offense, especially when they’re playing hot,” Bolte said. “You can rack up 21 points pretty quick.”

Earlier in the first half, Duncan-Busby opened the scoring with a 36-yard TD catch just inside the pylon. Later in the first quarter, Jake Hill got loose in the end zone on fourth-and-12, and Alt found him for a 22-yard score and a 14-0 lead.

Minot State ended the first quarter with just 15 yards of offense, but they finally strung together a drive that ended on a 27-yard touchdown reception for Erik Palmquist early in the second frame. Alt threw an interception on Bemidji State’s ensuing drive that allowed MSU to march near the goal line, but Klein’s red-zone pick was a decisive blow that flipped momentum for good.

“They had a nice drive to close the gap, and then we had a turnover,” Bolte said. “All of a sudden, shoot, we’ve got a dogfight. But the momentum got back on our side after Klein made that big play.

“You’ve got to have some good players. It was a really nice play by Klein back there, making a play on the interception. … Then we got the ball back and made some big plays.”

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BSU added heavy hitters in the third quarter, too. Caleb Young jumped a route for an 80-yard pick-six -- tied for the fourth-longest interception return in program history -- and Brendan Beaulieu piled on with a 55-yard touchdown catch and run after backup QB Sam McGath went under center.

In the fourth quarter, Sage Booker added a 2-yard rushing score, and Maximo Rodriguez kicked a late field goal to put BSU ahead by 45.

Alt finished with 298 yards on 15-for-27 passing with four TDs and two interceptions before leaving the game early in the third quarter. Duncan-Busby (136 yards) and Beaulieu (130) fueled the receiving corps, while Frye gained 100 rushing yards on 16 carries.

Zollie Kaplan led the Bemidji State defense with two sacks, while Ryan Schnobrich had a team-best four tackles for loss.

“That’s what we have to do as we get to the middle part of the season, especially within the North (Division),” Bolte said. “We’ve got to build momentum to keep winning big games and have a chance to defend our championship in the North.”

BSU will return home to host Concordia-St. Paul at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 8, at Chet Anderson Stadium.

Bemidji State 59, Minot State 14

BSU 14 22 14 9 -- 59

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MSU 0 7 0 7 -- 14

First quarter -- BSU TD, Duncan-Busby 36-yard catch from Alt (Rodriguez PAT missed), 6-0 BSU; BSU TD, Hill 22-yard catch from Alt (2-pt. conversion good), 14-0 BSU.

Second quarter -- MSU TD, Palmquist 27-yard catch from Macleary (Fedor PAT), 14-7 BSU; BSU TD, Duffy 13-yard catch from Alt (Rodriguez PAT), 21-7 BSU; BSU TD, Duncan-Busby 62-yard catch from Alt (Rodriguez PAT), 28-7 BSU; BSU TD, Frye 1-yard rush (2-pt. conversion good), 36-7 BSU.

Third quarter -- BSU TD, Young 79-yard interception return (Rodriguez PAT), 43-7 BSU; BSU TD, Beaulieu 55-yard catch from McGath (Rodriguez PAT), 50-7 BSU.

Fourth quarter -- MSU TD, Lamoureux 58-yard pass from Macleary (Fedor PAT), 50-14 BSU; BSU TD, Booker 2-yard rush (Rodriguez PAT no good), 56-14 BSU; BSU FG, Rodriguez 20-yard kick, 59-14 BSU.

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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