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FOOTBALL: Brandon Alt leads Beavers to smooth win on record-breaking day

During Saturday’s 48-14 romp over Southwest Minnesota State, Brandon Alt's record-breaking performance cemented his legacy as one of the best to ever go under center in Bemidji State football history.

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Bemidji State quarterback Brandon Alt (10) and Dhel Duncan-Busby (14) celebrate after scoring a touchdown in the first half against Southwest Minnesota State on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021, at Chet Anderson Stadium. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)

BEMIDJI -- As he rehabbed two torn ACLs, Brandon Alt told himself every day, “I can be that guy.”

Now, it’s official: Brandon Alt is that guy.

“It means a whole lot to me after all the injuries I’ve been through ,” Alt said. “I just had to get healthy, and that’s what it took.”

Alt has been a revered passer at Chet Anderson Stadium for years. And, during Saturday’s 48-14 romp over Southwest Minnesota State, Alt cemented his legacy as one of the best to ever go under center in Bemidji State football history.

“The records are one thing, but I’m just so proud of the kid for all the adversity he’s faced in his career,” BSU head coach Brent Bolte said. “It’s not been an easy road for him. We knew how special of a player he was, but I don’t think the NSIC or the rest of D-II quite understood. I can’t be more happy for him.”

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Bemidji State quarterback Brandon Alt (10) throws a pass in the first half against Southwest Minnesota State on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021, at Chet Anderson Stadium. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)

Alt broke the Beavers’ single-season record for touchdown passes on his fourth TD toss of the first half. Not only that, but he added two more air strikes in the third quarter -- the second straight game he’s tied Bemidji State’s single-game record of six touchdown passes .

“It’s not just me out there,” said Alt, who broke Jordan Hein’s previous single-season record of 31 TDs and now has 34. “It’s Brendan Beaulieu, it’s my O-line, it’s Malik Williams, Dhel Duncan-Busby, my running backs. They’re putting me in the spot to break the records, so I give all glory to them.”

The gunslinger from Cottage Grove hit four different receivers for touchdowns on BSU’s first four drives. Beaulieu, Andrew Manuele, Duncan-Busby and Williams all caught balls in the end zone, with Williams’ 33-yard reception standing as the record-breaker midway through the second quarter.

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In the third quarter, Alt found Beaulieu and Jake Hill for more scores. Hill did most of the legwork on his TD, a 19-yard catch and run, and the extra effort gave Alt six touchdown passes in back-to-back weeks.

“Alt had all day to throw the ball around the yard,” Bolte said. “It was fun to see Brandon put up big numbers and spread the ball around to some big-play guys.”

The game itself was never in doubt. The score was 27-7 by halftime, and Hill’s third-quarter touchdown further blew it open at 48-7 on what was Alt’s final pass of the afternoon.

“We were able to execute right away, and that was the key point,” Alt said. “The offense kept rolling, the defense kept rolling and it was a great team win.”

Makaio Harn also added a 4-yard TD rush in the third quarter, which followed Sage Booker’s 66-yard run that catapulted the Beavers into the red zone.

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Bemidji State sophomore Makaio Harn (31) runs the football in the first half against Southwest Minnesota State on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021, at Chet Anderson Stadium. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)

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Alt finished the game with 305 yards on 21-for-30 passing, and his 2,845 passing yards this season are 162 shy of Hein’s program benchmark.

But don’t forget to look beyond the chicken scratch on the rewritten record book for a moment. The game against SMSU (2-7, 1-3 NSIC South) was a good win itself, one that sets Bemidji State (7-2, 4-0 NSIC North) a step closer toward its NCAA Tournament goals.

“You work so hard to get into this position, and now, hey, we’re here,” Bolte said. “You’re 7-2, you have an opportunity. Each and every game from here on out is like a playoff game. You win, you’re in the conversation the following week.”

BSU next meets Northern State, a 7-2 surprise in the NSIC, for its penultimate regular season showdown. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 6, in Aberdeen, S.D.

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Bemidji State senior Gabe Ames (9) tackles Southwest Minnesota State’s Duce Reynolds (6) in the first half on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021, at Chet Anderson Stadium. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)


Bemidji State 48, Southwest MN State 14

SMSU 0 7 0 7 -- 14

BSU 14 13 21 0 -- 48

First quarter -- BSU TD, Beaulieu 25-yard catch from Alt (Hoffer PAT), 7-0 BSU; BSU TD, Manuele 5-yard catch from Alt (Hoffer PAT), 14-0 BSU.

Second quarter -- SMSU TD, Sherwood 1-yard rush (Dicker PAT), 14-7 BSU; BSU TD, Duncan-Busby 16-yard catch from Alt (2-pt. conversion failed), 20-7 BSU; BSU TD, Williams 33-yard catch from Alt (Hoffer PAT), 27-7 BSU.

Third quarter -- BSU TD, Beaulieu 19-yard catch from Alt (Hoffer PAT), 34-7 BSU; BSU TD, Harn 4-yard rush (Hoffer PAT), 48-7 BSU; BSU TD, Hill 19-yard catch from Alt (Hoffer PAT), 48-7 BSU.

Fourth quarter -- SMSU TD, Devlin 11-yard catch from Nava (Dicker PAT), 48-14 BSU.

Micah Friez is the former sports editor at the Bemidji Pioneer. A native of East Grand Forks, Minn., he worked at the Pioneer from 2015-23 and is a 2018 graduate of Bemidji State University with a degree in Creative and Professional Writing.
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