FOOTBALL: Brendan Beaulieu, Beavers burn Upper Iowa in record-setting win
Brendan Beaulieu hauled in five receptions for 100 yards and two wide-open touchdowns for Bemidji State. He broke two program records in the process, leading the Beavers to a 48-22 steamrolling over the Peacocks.
FAYETTE, Iowa -- On two separate occasions on Saturday, Upper Iowa opted to not cover All-American wide receiver Brendan Beaulieu.
It’s a bold strategy, to be sure. Just not a very smart one.
“The last couple weeks, it’s felt like I had five guys around me every time I caught the ball,” Beaulieu said. “Having nobody around me, for the first time in a long time, it felt good.”
Beaulieu hauled in five receptions for 100 yards and two wide-open touchdowns for the Bemidji State football team. He broke two program records in the process, leading the Beavers to a 48-22 steamrolling over the Peacocks in Fayette, Iowa.
“Beaulieu’s a pretty quiet, unassuming kid, but he’s got a dog mentality,” BSU head coach Brent Bolte said. “He is a master of his craft, he works hard, he cares about his teammates. I wish we had 100 of him.”
Beaulieu got his first touchdown when left all alone in the corner of the end zone, and Brandon Alt delivered an easy ball for the 8-yard score just before halftime. Then in the third quarter, Beaulieu burned a stumbling defensive back on a go route, and Alt rewarded him with a 50-yard TD strike.
On the latter play, Beaulieu surpassed the program record for career receiving yards, a mark of 2,677 set by Anthony Schreiber in 2007. Beaulieu ended the game at 2,708 career yards.
Additionally, Beaulieu reached the 100-yard plateau on Saturday with his second touchdown grab. It gives him 11 such performances in his career, also a new program record.
“It hasn’t really set in for me. It’s such a crazy thing,” Beaulieu said. “I don’t know when I ever will wrap my mind around that. But I’ve got to thank the coaching staff and (offensive coordinator Karson) Pike for trusting me the last four, five years I’ve been with him. Then Brandon and all the other quarterbacks who have put me in this position.”
“It’s pretty special when you think back about how many great players we’ve had in this program over its history,” Bolte added. “It’s a big honor to have the opportunity to coach the kid and see him be so dominant in the NSIC.”
Bemidji State’s special teams also shined. Stephen Hoffman, Marcus Hansen and Tyler Shaver all blocked a punt -- with Shaver scooping his up for a touchdown -- as the Beavers bullied Upper Iowa in all three phases. It’s the first time since 1999 that BSU has blocked two or more punts.
“I thought we decisively won that battle,” Bolte said. “We made some blocks, got some free points -- kind of what we had been giving to other teams. All of a sudden, it roller-coastered on our side and got things rolling.”
Bemidji State (2-2) got off to a hot start. First, Alt dropped a pass into the breadbasket for Dhel Duncan-Busby in the opening quarter, good for a 19-yard TD in the corner of the end zone and a quick 10-0 lead.
But then Alt ran into trouble, slinging interceptions on back-to-back drives that the Peacocks converted into a pair of touchdowns. Upper Iowa (0-4) suddenly boasted an unexpected 14-10 lead, but there was still no panic on the sideline.
“We stayed cool,” Beaulieu said. “We’ve been down in games before this year. We were still cool on the sideline. We had to make a couple checks and get back into it, but everything was still fine on the sideline there.”
The Beavers responded through Joey Baron, who scored his first career touchdown on a 9-yard pass from Alt, and Beaulieu got his first score with less than a minute to go in the opening half.
Bemidji State held a 24-14 lead at halftime, and it only grew from there. Beaulieu snagged his record-breaking reception in the third quarter, while Shaver scooped up his touchdown on the ensuing Upper Iowa drive.
Jarrett Gronski added a late touchdown rush for the icing on the cake, helping the Beavers post their highest point total of the season.
Alt finished with 231 passing yards and four TDs on 17-for-30 passing. Jalen Frye led the ground attack with 88 yards on 14 rushes, and Gronski followed with 78 yards on 12 carries. Defensively, Spencer Wehr had a team-high seven tackles, while a Princeten Harris interception stood as the team’s lone takeaway.
Bemidji State will begin NSIC North play next week, facing Minot State at 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1, in Minot, N.D.
Bemidji State 48, Upper Iowa 22
BSU 10 14 14 10 -- 48
UIU 0 14 0 8 -- 22
First quarter -- BSU FG, Rodriguez 24-yard kick, 3-0 BSU; BSU TD, Duncan-Busby 19-yard catch from Alt (Rodriguez PAT), 10-0 BSU.
Second quarter -- UIU TD, Phillips 18-yard catch from Orr (Seefeldt PAT), 10-7 BSU; UIU TD, Kamara 10-yard catch from Orr (Seefeldt PAT), 14-10 UIU; BSU TD, Baron 9-yard catch from Alt (Rodriguez PAT), 17-14 BSU; BSU TD, Beaulieu 8-yard catch from Alt (Rodriguez PAT), 24-14 BSU.
Third quarter -- BSU TD, Beaulieu 50-yard catch from Alt (Rodriguez PAT), 31-14 BSU; BSU TD, Shaver blocked punt return (Rodriguez PAT), 38-14 BSU.
Fourth quarter -- UIU TD, Kinney 6-yard catch from Orr (2-pt. conversion good), 38-22 BSU; BSU FG, Rodriguez 27-yard kick, 41-22 BSU; BSU TD, Gronski 3-yard rush (Rodriguez PAT), 48-22 BSU.