The Northern State University football team fell to Bemidji State 38-17 in the 2018 season opener on the road. The Wolves brought things within seven in the third quarter; however the Beavers broke things open in the final 16 minutes of action.
Bemidji State scored first to open the game, notching a field goal and touchdown by the 7:30 mark in the quarter. The Wolves cut the lead to seven, as Mitch Tschakert sent is first field goal of the year, a 35-yard attempt, through the uprights. BSU added a touchdown as the clock wound down in the second quarter, and held a 17-3 lead at the half.
The Wolves opened the second half scoring, and cut the Beaver lead to seven for the second time in the game with a 1-yard rushing touchdown by Gerald Maxwell. The touchdown was the first of Maxwell’s career. BSU answered the score early and often with two rushing scores and one passing in the closing seconds of the third quarter, and opening minutes of the fourth. Jacob Streit added the final touchdown of the evening for the Wolves, a 15-yard pass from Hunter Trautman.
Streit led the Wolves receivers in his first career start with 86 yards, including a 26 yard long. Maxwell and Robert Vomacka were second on the team with 27 receiving yards apiece, while Dakota Larson and Spencer Johnson notched 24 and 22 respectively. Trautman threw for a game high 202 yards, completing 20-of-43 attempts, however gave up the only interception of the game. Chaka Kelly led the Wolves rushers with 72 yards, followed by Maxwell and Trautman with 66 and 46 respectively.
Noah MacPherson led the Wolves defense with 14 tackles in the game, including eight solo stops. Alex Gray followed with eight tackles of his own, including a team leading 1.5 tackles for a total loss of three yards. Preston Droessler and Landon Hoellein notched six tackles each, while Etienne Ezeff, Brayden McNeary, Brady Thielges, Josh Coyle, and Jacob Cross recorded four apiece. Droessler tallied the lone pass break-up of the evening, and likewise, Coyle notched the long sack for a total loss of 11 yards.
Jacob Wiedrich punted for 238 yards, with a 47-yard long and 39.7 net punt average. The senior also tallied 190 yards on four kickoffs with two touchbacks. Tschakert connected for 1-of-2 field goals, and hit both PATs.
As a team, the Wolves tallied 27 first downs to the Beavers 19, and converted on 11-of-25 third downs. NSU combined for 173 yards rushing and 202 yards passing, for 375 yards of total offense. Northern also converted on 2-of-4 fourth downs, and scored on 3-of-4 chances in the red-zone. A total of 13 Wolves notched multiple tackles in the loss, combining for 5.0 tackles for a loss of 23 yards.
The Wolves return home next Thursday, September 6 for the fourth annual InsuraCrop Ag Bowl. Northern will face off against Minot State at 7 p.m. in the NSIC/MidcoSN Game of the Week.