BEMIDJI, Minn. – Bemidji State trailed by a touchdown early before scoring 31 straight points Saturday to beat the University of Mary 45-19 in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.
A blocked punt and touchdown set the tone for the second half in which the Beavers (2-0 NSIC North, 4-2 overall) outscored the Marauders 28-6 to win their third straight game. U-Mary (0-2, 0-6) has lost 10 straight games dating back to last season.
“That’s where the game changed and we were never within two scores,” U-Mary coach Josh Kotelnicki said. “Their kids made a fantastic play or we didn’t have a very good snap, but that had a huge impact on the game, unfortunately.”
BSU quarterback Jared Hein threw for 194 yards and three second-half touchdowns and ran for another score. He threw a 6-yard TD to Andrew Lackowski (his third TD of the game) during a stretch of seven scoring drives in eight possessions.
Hein added a 27-yard toss to Christian Lunde and 28-yarder to Jake Anderson.
Lackowski ran 20 times for 163 yards and two touchdowns in the first half as the Beavers took a 17-13 lead into the break. Tahi Nomane added 100 yards and a score on 14 attempts.
“Bemidji is not a bad team,” Kotelnicki said. “The preseason conference north offensive player of the year (Hein) is certainly a good player … We’re playing against a lot of really, really good players.”
The Marauders held their own early.
Sophomore quarterback Garrett Weissinger got his second career start. He ran 19 times for 24 yards and scored two touchdowns and tossed a 72-yard TD pass to DeShawn Gay.
Weissinger guided a 12-play, 71-yard drive after the ensuing kickoff. He pulled the Marauders within 7-6 on a 5-yard quarterback sneak straight up the middle with 10:37 left in the half. But Aaron Brennan’s PAT was wide.
Five minutes later, Weissinger scored on a keeper from inside the 1-yard line to cap an eight-play, 50-yard drive with 5:20 remaining in the half. This time, Brennan’s PAT was good for a 13-7 lead.
The lead proved short-lived as the Beavers stormed back to go 62 yards in nine plays in just 2:57 to go back on top 14-13. Lackowski, who opened the scoring on a 3-yard run, scored his second touchdown on a 1-yard run with 2:15 left. Aanerud broke the tie with a PAT.
Aanerud extended the Beavers’ lead to 17-13 with a 41-yard field goal as time expired in the first half, and BSU was just getting started. It scored 31 straight points to win going away.
The Marauders’ first possession after halftime set the tone for the half. BSU’s Jeff Harris blocked Bailey Meyer’s punt out of bounds at the U-Mary 12. On third down, Tahi Nomane scored on a 3-yard run for a 24-13 lead.
“Sometimes those big plays are enough to get your playmakers going and get them confidence,” Kotelnicki said. “Their best players played pretty well the second half.”
Meyer averaged 47 yards per punt, including an 82-yard kick in the first quarter.
U-Mary averaged just 1.1 yards per carry in the second half and had 94 total yards. Of that, 72 came on Gay’s long TD reception with 11:03 left.
U-Mary was just 2-for-12 on third down conversions and 0-for-7 in the second half.
BSU, meanwhile, found its stride.
Lackowski’s third touchdown, a 6-yard pass, with just seven seconds left in the third quarter made it 31-13. Christian Lunde’s 27-yard diving grab with 11:21 left made it 38-13.
Gay’s 72-yard TD catch stopped the Beavers’ scoring streak but Hein responded with a TD pass to Anderson to close out the scoring with 8:56 to play.
Bemidji State outgained U-Mary 478-215 in total yards.
“I see progress week to week,” Kotelnicki said. “We’ve got to clean up some things on special teams and not turn the bll over. That’s the bottom line.”
U-Mary plays host to Minnesota Crookston on Saturday.