The Bemidji State football team was handed a crushing 49-21 loss on the road last Saturday at U-Mary.
Little went right. BSU started out flat and the game snowballed out control in the second quarter.
“We got spanked pretty good in most areas: in the trenches where that hasn’t happened in a long time, we turned the ball over with our skill people, gave up big plays with our skill people on defense and it was a thorough beating on all sides,” said BSU head coach Jeff Tesch.
Bemidji State was left to pick up the pieces in practice this week as it prepared for today’s game at Northern State in Aberdeen, S.D. at 2:30 p.m.
“We went back to the drawing board,” Tesch said. “As frustrating as it was, the guys worked their tails off this week to prove they are better than that and moved back to fundamentals. We’ve had a good week of practice.”
Bemidji State’s (6-2, 5-2 NSIC) national playoff hopes took a hit with the loss to Mary. The Beavers dropped out of a first place tie and are now in a tie for fourth place with Wayne State. Sharing first place entering the weekend are St. Cloud State, Minnesota-Duluth and MSU, Mankato.
The first NCAA Super Region III rankings were released by the NCAA Division II Football Committee this week and the Beavers stand at No. 10
The Region III rankings are comprised of teams in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athleti Conference and the NSIC. Minnesota-Duluth (No. 3) and St. Cloud State (No. 5) are the only other NSIC teams in the rankings.
The top six teams in the regional rankings reach the playoffs at the end of the regular season, so with three games left to play the Beavers must win out for any hope of postseason play. The Beavers play St. Cloud State next Saturday at Chet Anderson Stadium and conclude the regular season Nov. 12 at Minnesota-Crookston.
Up first for the Beavers is a Northern State (2-6, 1-6 NSIC) team with only one win since the second week of the season, a 45-21 victory at home over Minnesota-Crookston two weeks ago to snap a five-game losing streak. The Wolves lost to Minnesota-Duluth 37-6 last week in Duluth.
Tesch said Northern State plays a “fast-break” style offense similar to Mary and expects the Wolves to play aggressively on defense to generate turnovers.
The BSU defense hopes to return to form against Northern State. It entered last week’s game against Mary as the top rated scoring defense in the conference and also one of the best at stopping the run.
The Marauders broke that defense by running for 193 yards and passing for 379 yards.
BSU cornerback Larry Miller said seniors Brody Scheff and Dusty Sluzewicz were vocal at practice this week to help restore discipline to the defense.
“We know we’ve got to come back and forget that happened,” Miller said. “We’re going to come aggressively. Coach has really been working us hard with tackling drills and every day we’ve been running hard to get to the ball. We want to get back to ‘Gang Green’ football.”