BEMIDJI -- A dip in the frequently frigid waters of Lake Bemidji has become a time-tested homecoming tradition for the Bemidji State football team. Nine straight homecoming victories dating back to 2010 have resulted in nine straight aquatic post-game celebrations by the Beavers.
BSU will attempt to cap a decade of homecoming dominance Saturday, Oct. 5, in this year’s homecoming game against Augustana. To do so, the Beavers will need to overcome their second injury setback of the season at quarterback.
Redshirt-junior quarterback Emmett Enright is in line to make his first career start this week after Jared Henning departed in the first quarter of last week’s 42-7 loss to Minnesota Duluth with a leg injury. Henning is set to join injured week-one starter Brandon Alt on the sideline for this week’s contest.
“We’re figuring it out as we go,” head coach Brent Bolte said. “Obviously, right now it looks like Alt and Jared will be out and we’ll see Emmett get an opportunity, and possibly the true freshman Cade (Baumgardner). … Hopefully those guys have prepared well enough. They’ve been here during camp. Emmett’s been here a while. I don’t think it’s going to change really our identity on offense. We’ve just got to go out and execute.”
Enright made his collegiate debut Sept. 12 late in a 52-7 win over University of Mary. He completed one of two passes, which happened to result in a 68-yard touchdown.
The Madison, Wis., native finished 8-for-24 through the air for 68 yards while throwing two interceptions last week.
“It was definitely unexpected to have a guy like Jared go down, you know, a big sturdy guy like that,” Enright said. “But as the game went on, I did get a little bit more comfortable and things started to flow a little better.”
Enright has been gearing up for his first start.
“It’s been a little different running with the first team offense all week, my first time doing that this season,” he said. “It hasn’t been a huge learning curve, but just getting timing down with the receivers and stuff. It’s been going well.”
Enright and company will go up against Augustana, who comes to town with a 3-1 record, identical to Bemidji State’s.
“They got the big win against Sioux Falls down there last Thursday,” Bolte said. “They’re a good football team. They’re going to be tough to score on and they certainly have enough weapons to put up a lot of points, too.”
The game could potentially be the last the Vikings play in Bemidji. The school announced last year its intent to transition to Division I in the near future.
As far as keeping the homecoming win streak alive, there’s no other option for this senior class. Injuries won’t be an excuse.
“I haven’t lost a homecoming game since high school,” senior wideout Jacob Anderson said, “and I don’t plan on doing that now. We just have to find a way to win. Next guy up. We’re missing guys, but whatever. We have guys who will replace them.”
The streak nearly ended last year until a fourth-quarter touchdown in the final minutes rescued a 25-21 win over Sioux Falls, spawning another lakeside celebration.
“The feeling is just unreal,” senior defensive back Michael Junker said. “It’s one of the greatest traditions in college football, I believe. And it’s just an honor to be a part of that. So I really feel that all the seniors and upperclassmen (know that) especially because they know how special it is. The underclassmen will soon realize what it’s like.”
If you go
Who: BSU vs. Augustana
Where: Chet Anderson Stadium
When: 2 p.m. Saturday
TV: KBSU Ch. 17
Radio: Beaver Radio Network/92.1 FM