BEMIDJI — Emmett Enright is barely a month into his tenure as the starting quarterback for the Bemidji State football team and already he’s written his name in the program record book.
The redshirt junior passed for 435 yards in a 38-14 senior-day win over St. Cloud State last Saturday, the third-most passing yards by a Beaver quarterback in a single game since 1975. Only Nathan Sannes (500 yards at Chadron State in 2004) and Scott Longenecker (439 yards against Wisconsin-Superior in 1977) have thrown for more passing yards in a game over the last 44 years.
The Madison, Wis., native credited his teammates for the outing.
“I think it comes down to our game plan and our execution. I think the execution was pretty good all game,” said Enright, who made his fifth career start — all in a row — due to injuries to the team’s first two quarterbacks. “And then it comes down to blocking. Those big guys up front really played well. Receivers got open; we have athletic, durable receivers.”
Enright completed 75 percent of his passes, finishing 27-for-36. He aired it out for gains of 15 yards or more on 12 of those completions, the longest going for 62 yards to Brendan Beaulieu, the team’s leading receiver with 177 yards on 11 receptions.
“When you hit a couple passes in a row, things kind of start to flow,” Enright said. “It’s a good sign as a quarterback.”
“He played well. I think it’s, again, the game slows down the more reps you get,” BSU head coach Brent Bolte added. “Having a veteran O-line and getting (Brandon) Frankfurth back at center was a nice addition to that group.”
On the defensive side of the ball, the Beavers capitalized on linebacker Gabe Ames’ return to the lineup after missing the previous week’s game, helping force seven three-and-outs while limiting SCSU to two late-game touchdowns. BSU ranks sixth in the nation in red zone defense, allowing just 13 scores on 22 trips for a .591 red zone defense percentage.
“Coming down to it, I think it starts up front again,” linebacker Zollie Kaplan said. “We have different packages in the red zone, a lot of heavier bodies.”
The Beavers (6-3, 4-1 NSIC North) travel to division rival Minnesota State Moorhead (5-4, 4-1 NSIC North) for Saturday’s 1 p.m. clash for the Battle Axe trophy.
They’ll have to contend with another quarterback coming off an explosive week.
Jakup Sinani put up a school-record 513 passing yards and four touchdowns while completing 40-of-51 attempts in MSUM’s 49-20 win at Minot State last week, earning the junior NSIC Offensive Player of the Week. Sinani had missed six weeks due to injury prior to the game.
“That was an eye-opener when he was back. We weren’t sure if he was going to be back,” Bolte said. “They’re certainly going to chuck the ball around on offense.”
Bemidji High School graduate Ryan Bieberdorf, now a freshman receiver for the Dragons, recorded career highs in the win with 13 receptions for 153 yards to go along with a touchdown.
Bemidji State will look to reclaim the Battle Axe in enemy territory after MSUM snatched it away with a 31-26 win one year ago at Chet Anderson Stadium. The trophy has changed hands in each of the last four seasons.
“We’d love to take that axe back,” Enright said. “It’s kind of been a little back and forth. Getting that axe back, kind of controlling this rivalry, is what we’re striving to do on Saturday.”
At a glance
Who: BSU at MSU Moorhead
When: 1 p.m. Saturday
Radio: Beaver Radio Network/92.1 FM