Kickoff is noon at Ed Widseth Field.
BEMIDJI STATE (2-0, 2-0 NSIC)
AT MINNESOTA CROOKSTON (0-2, 0-2 NSIC)
SAT.,, SEPT. 21 | 12 P.M. C.T. | CROOKSTON, MINN.
ED WIDSETH FIELD
Radio: 1260 KROX AM/105.7 (Leo Blavin)
Live Stats: https://goldeneaglesports.com/sidearmstats/football/summary
1. Can the Golden Eagles capitalize on opportunities offensively?
2. Can the Minnesota Crookston defense get takeaways?
3. Can the Golden Eagles limit Bemidji State’s running game led by Frye and Kpahn?
4. Can the defense continue to get to the opposing quarterback as they have eight sacks through two games?
5. Can Special Teams pin the Bemidji State offense deep?
GOLDEN EAGLE TIDBITS
1. Minnesota Crookston has been outstanding on getting to the quarterback this season. The Golden Eagles are currently tied for second in the NSIC with eight sacks on the year for a loss of 53 yards. Minnesota Crookston had just 14 sacks on the 2018 season. The Golden Eagles are making opposing defenses work, led by two sacks from Joe Warner. In addition, Austin Steele, Osayi Onaghinor, Skyler Quinn, Trevor Long, Jr., Jamar McDaniel, and Ben Branscom all have sacks for Minnesota
2. The Golden Eagles are currently in the middle of the conference in total defense as they have improved vastly from last season. Minnesota Crookston allowed 432.5 yards per game in 2018. Thus far, the Golden Eagles are allowing just 375.5 yards per game, ranked 10th in the NSIC. The Golden Eagles are allowing just 4.9 yards per play and have allowed just 751 yards of offense to MSU Moorhead and St. Cloud State. The defense will be key again this week against Bemidji State, who currently ranks sixth in the NSIC in total offense with 399.5 yards per game.
3. Bemidji State has claimed the last five wins in the Hubcap Game to commemorate the only 88 miles between the two universities on U.S. Highway 2. The Golden Eagles last picked up a win 16-14 on Oct. 5, 2013 at Ed Widseth field. The game was played on a cold, wet, and windy day in early October.
4. The Golden Eagle offense is looking to get on track as they come in averaging just 192.5 yards per game. Minnesota Crookston has been able to move the ball at times, but inopportune penalties and turnovers have plagued the squad through two games. Minnesota Crookston will look to get more on the ground this week, as they have tallied just 68.0 yards per game in the run game.
5. The Golden Eagle offense has been led by both quarterbacks in Jalin Scott and Tristan Robbins. Scott is accounting for 69.5 yards per game offensively, while Robbins has tallied 102 yards per game offensively for Minnesota Crookston.
6. Minnesota Crookston’s receivers have faired well this season. Jonattan Mudd has been the top target thus far for the Golden Eagles with seven catches for 99 yards and two touchdowns. Nathan Coy has also been effective with six catches for 77 yards, while Wyatt K. Shedrick, III has two grabs for 53 yards, including taking one to the house 41 yards against MSU Moorhead in week one.
7. Minnesota Crookston is looking to get their running backs more involved in the offense. Boyce Harr has paced the Golden Eagles with an average of 3.9 yards per carry with 10 carries for 39 yards. Alex Folz, a high school quarterback, has continued to work into the mix. Folz has three carries for 11 yards, while Joseph Eubanks has four touches for five yards.
8. The linebacking corps has been crucial for the Golden Eagles. Will Cross has been huge for Minnesota Crookston, as the senior captain missed most of last year due to injury. Cross has been the leader on defense with a team-high 22 tackles with 3.5 tackles for loss. Austin Steele has also been crucial for Minnesota Crookston, as he has 15 tackles with 2.5 tackles for loss. Trevor Long, Jr., has also made a major impact after moving up from safety. Long was a high school linebacker, who is back in his comfort zone this season.
9. The special teams will look to change field position this week against Bemidji State. Nathan McRoberts improved from week one and is tallying 35.4 yards per punt for the Golden Eagles. He has four punts inside the 20 with a long of 49.
10. The Golden Eagles gave up just 10 points in the first half against St. Cloud State, limiting the Huskies to just 140 yards of offense in the first stanza.
11. Minnesota Crookston is looking for their first win at Ed Widseth Field since a 45-14 win over Minot State University Sat., Nov. 7, 2015. The Golden Eagles last home win in September came Sept. 22 with a 33-28 homecoming win over Southwest Minnesota University.
13. The Golden Eagles have possessed the ball for 25:20 this season compared to 34:40 for their opponents. Minnesota Crookston will look to keep the ball for longer as they look to give their defense breaks against Bemidji State Saturday.
14. Mark Dufner and Brent Bolte are both long-time assistant coaches turned defensive coordinators who rose to the head coaching gigs at their respective universities. Dufner is in his 18th season on staff and his third as head coach. Bolte is in his 20th season on staff and his third as head coach.
11. Minnesota Crookston has been strong in the first half, being out-scored by an average of just 15.5 to 3.0 in the opening half. The Golden Eagles will look to improve in the second half as they have allowed an average of 25.5 points in the second stanza.
BEMIDJI STATE NOTES
1. Bemidji State has been the top team in the NSIC for pass efficiency with a rating of 197.2 with 451 yards throwing for nine touchdowns and no interceptions.
2. The Beavers are averaging 42.5 yards per game offnesively with an average of 399.5 yards per game. Back-up quarterback Jared Henning stepped in last week and is throwing for 191 yards and four touchdowns this season. In the run game, the 1-2 punch of Jalen Frye and Sherrod Kpahn has been effective. Frye is averaging 5.3 yards per carry with 165 yards overall, while Kpahn is notching 4.4 yards per carry with 106 yards overall. In the pass game, Malik Williams leads the way with eight catches for 64 yards with two touchdowns. Brendan Beaulieu has been crucial with six grabs for 96 yards and a touchdown, while H-Back Bryce Duffy has been a utility player with four catches for 74 yards and three touchdowns.
3. Defensively, the Beavers have limited their foes to just 244.5 yards per game while scoring just seven points per contest. Bemidji State has seven sacks on the year led by 1.5 sacks by Colbey Wadsworth. Lukas Ruoss has led the team with 10 tackles. The Beavers have gotten an interception by Gabe Ames, and fumble recoveries by Matt Gross, Beaulieu, and Gunnar Feldhege.