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Eric Stromgren / Forum Communications Co., Published October 15 2011

MSUM falters in second half against Bemidji State

BEMIDJI, Minn. – The No. 23 Bemidji State football team received an unexpected test Saturday from Minnesota State Moorhead at Chet Anderson Stadium.

The Beavers trailed at halftime but rallied behind quarterback Lance Rongstad in the second half to defeat the Dragons 35-10 and retain the Battle Axe trophy.

Rongstad passed for a career-best 226 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 86 yards and one touchdown. His touchdown passes went to Matt Gandrud, Brent Kondziolka and Cameron Abram.

“We came out flat in the first half and Moorhead had more energy than we did,” Rongstad said. “But in the second half we were able to throw, our receivers made plays, we executed and played well. It says a lot about our team. We’re not going to quit and we’re not going to stop fighting.”

BSU (6-1, 5-1 NSIC) maintained pace at the top of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference standings and moved into a tie for first place following Wayne State’s loss to Concordia-St. Paul.

MSUM (2-5, 1-5 NSIC) bottled up Bemidji State’s potent rushing attack early on to keep the game close. The Dragons defense had a fumble recovery in the first quarter and a four-down defensive stand in the last minute of the second quarter.

The Dragons led 10-7 at halftime behind a 24-yard field goal from Wes Kramer in the first quarter and a

1-yard touchdown run from E’Boni Lucious-West in the second quarter.

“I’m happy with the intensity and toughness we had in the first half,” Moorhead head coach Steve Laqua said. “The second half was a different story, and we lacked consistency. That’s been our problem all year. They (BSU) have the size and strength to wear you down, and you just reach a breaking point. I think they are the most physical team we’ve played all year.”

MSUM 3 7 0 0–10

Bemidji State 7 0 14 14–35

MSUM–Kramer 24 FG

BSU–Rongstad 17 run (Pulkinen kick)

MSUM–Lucious-West 1 run (Kramer kick)

BSU–Grandrud 24 pass from Rongstad (Pulkinen kick)

BSU-Kondziolka 4 pass from Rongstad (Pulkinen kick)

BSU–Abram 30 pass from Rongstad (Pulkinen kick)

BSU–Hass 35 run (Pulkinen kick)

TEAM STATISTICS

MSUM BSU

First downs 14 30

Rushes-yards 16-40 328-328

Passing 242 226

Comp-Att-Int 19-41-0 14-23-0

Punts-Avg. 6-34.2 2-36.0

Fumbles-Lost 1-0 2-2

Penalties-Yards 5-29 7-50

Time of Possession 24:01 35:59

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: MSUM, Lucious-West 7-17, Schell 4-6, Koch, 5-3. BSU, Miles 22-93, Rongstad 10-86, Lee 10-59, Kroeplin 9-39, Hass 1-35, Grewe 2-9, Hemling 3-7.

PASSING: MSUM, Koch 19-41-0 242 yards. BSU, Rongstad 14-22-0 226, Miles 0-1-0 0.

RECEIVING: MSUM, Pearson 5-87, Leach 5-63, Hendon, 4-32, Marlowe 2-36, Lucious-West 2-9, Schell 1-15. BSU, Gandrud 4-56, Abram 3-54, Leonhardt 3-49, Lee 2-59, Kroeplin 1-4, Kondziolka 1-4.

Inforum searchword: Dragons

Stromgren writes for the Bemidji Pioneer