The Golden Eagles will look to bring home the “Hub Cap” trophy for the first time since 2013.
The University of Minnesota Crookston football team will trek 88 miles down U.S. Highway 2 for their second rivalry game of the year. The Golden Eagles will look to bring home the “Hub Cap” trophy for the first time since 2013. The game kicks off at 4 p.m. from Chet Anderson Stadium in Bemidji, Minn. The Golden Eagles have never won in the NSIC era at the stadium located right on Lake Bemidji.
Previewing the Golden Eagles
The Golden Eagles have shown signs in their first two games of the season but have yet to sustain a full game. Minnesota Crookston has trailed by no more than 13 points at the half in both games. A key for this week will be shutting down Bemidji State for four quarters.
The Golden Eagle offense comes in averaging 251.5 yards per game. Junior college transfer Jalin Scott has been an instant impact at quarterback. Scott can make plays happen with his arm and his legs. Scott is 17-of-32 for 226 yards with a touchdown through two games. On the ground, he has rushed for 94 yards and a touchdown.
Minnesota Crookston will look to get their running game going in week three. The Golden Eagles are currently averaging just 96.0 yards per game on the ground. In addition to Scott, Elijah Todd has 18 carries for 86 yards for 4.8 yards per carry.
In the pass game, Minnesota Crookston has several big play threats. Andy Groebner is coming off a strong second game of his career, as the Andover, Minn., native had six catches for 162 yards, including a 70-yard touchdown grab. Groebner will look to have a follow up performance this week. In addition, All-NSIC Second Team pick Rod Stewart comes in with five catches for 63 yards and a touchdown. Stewart needs just 89 yards to surpass Minnesota Crookston Hall of Famer Mark Olsonawski for third all-time in receiving yards.
Defensively, the Golden Eagles have given up 471.5 yards per game. The key for the Golden Eagles after last week is limiting the big play. St. Cloud State had three plays of 30 or more yards in the game.
Joe Warner has been key at defensive tackle with 16 tackles, three tackles for loss and a sack. Skyler Quinn has also had an impact for the Golden Eagles with 11 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and a half sack. At linebacker, Julian Jackson leads the team with 22 tackles, while Ali Alkhatib comes in with 11 tackles. In the defensive backfield, look for Will Cole and Trevor Long, Jr. to continue to lead the way.
In special teams, Stephen Day comes in averaging 39.8 yards per punt with four punts over 50 yards and three punts inside the 20. At kicker, Jared McLemore has one field goal of 22 yards this season. In the return game, Rod Stewart, a Don Hansen All-America Honorable Mention pick, is poised to break a big return. Stewart is averaging 16.3 yards per return.
Previewing the Beavers
Bemidji State has started the year with a 2-0 mark with wins over UMary and Northern State. The Beavers are averaging 550.0 yards per game on offense. Bemidji State has a relatively new offense with young players at key positions and a new offensive coordinator in Karson Pike. The Beavers are led by redshirt freshman quarterback Brandon Alt, who is 17-of-32 for 348 yards with six touchdowns. He has also rushed for 71 yards.
The key to the offense though has been the run game, where they are averaging 348.0 yards per game. Redshirt freshman Jalen Frye has been a major factor with 38 carries for 236 yards and one touchdown. Senior Andrew Lackowski missed last week’s game, but has 12 carries for 141 yards and one touchdown, while freshman Sage Booker has rushed 15 times for 176 yards two touchdowns.
In the passing game, Central Washington University transfer Landon Jones has been the key with six catches or 189 yards and two touchdowns. In addition, Mannie Kugmeh has four catches for 42 yards and two touchdowns.
Defensively, the Beavers are limiting foes to 318.5 yards per game. Bemidji State is led by safety Gunner Olszewski with 23 tackles and an interception. Gabe Ames enters Saturday with 16 tackles and four tackles for loss. On the defensive line, look for pressure to come from Alex Hoffman with two tackles for loss and a sack. In addition, Vamougne Kanneh had 11 tackles and a sack.
In the kicking game, Isaac Aanerud is 2-of-2 with a long of 35. In the punt game, Aanerud is averaging 39.8 yards per game.
1. Can the Golden Eagles limit the run game for Bemidji State?
2. Can Minnesota Crookston get a running game going?
3. Can the defense force turnovers by a young Bemidji State offense?
4. Can Jalin Scott make plays happen with his feet and by extending plays?
5. Will special teams be a major factor in the game?