The Northern State University football team had their opportunities in against No. 25 Bemidji State in their second NSIC North competition of the season, however fell 31-28 in overtime. The overtime loss marks the second of the season for the Wolves as they fall to 3-3 overall and 1-1 in the division.
Northern scored first just five minutes into the game, as Nicholas Truen ran for a one yard touchdown after a 12 play drive for the Wolves. Truen followed just six minutes later with his second score of the quarter a 15 yard reception from Christian McAlvain, giving the Wolves the 14-0 lead after the first.
The two teams traded downs to drives to open the second, however the Beavers broke through for their first score of the game with three minutes remained. The two teams entered the locker room at halftime with the Wolves up 14-7, however Bemidji State tied things up at the five minute mark in the third.
Truen continued a solid offensive day for the Wolves notching his third touchdown of the game to end the third quarter. Despite a blocked PAT the Wolves held a 20-14 lead. BSU nabbed their first lead of the game in their opening drive of the fourth as the scoreboard read 21-20. Conner Doherty and the Wolves quick regained the top spot with a three yard reception on three plays. Doherty had opened the game with a pair of receptions bringing his all-time career reception yardage over 2,000. He ended the day with 2,056 yards in his career. To lengthen the lead, Northern successful notched a two point conversion, as McAlvain connected with Taylor Houchin in the end zone.
With 27 seconds remaining on the clock, the Beavers tied things at 28 all leaving the Wolves with the ball. Channing Barber returned the kickoff 24 yards to give the Wolves the ball at their own 34 yard line. Two complete passes to Zech Culbreath and Chaka Kelly and the Wolves were within striking distance on the Beaver 34. McAlvain found Houchin in the open field with just seconds remaining on the clock and Northern quickly called their final timeout of regulation. As the clock read two seconds, the Northern State field goal squad took the field as Nathan Shaw attempted a 30 yard kick. The junior’s ball was blocked by the Bemidji defense as time expired and the game headed into overtime.
The Wolves opened the overtime period with the ball on the Beaver 25, however were only able to record one first down and turned the ball over on downs. The Beavers started at the Northern 25 and gained four yards as they attempted a 38 yarder on fourth and six. Hoffer connected and Bemidji State took the game with a score of 31-28.
McAlvain led the NSU offense with 294 yards passing and 51 yards rushing. The senior complete on 19-of-37 attempts, however gave up an interception on a potential scoring play in the end zone. He connected with Zachery Barber for the game long of 55 yards. Barber was second on the team with 81 yards receiving, while Taylor Houchin led the Wolves with 84 yards, averaging 16.8 per catch. Truen tallied three of the team’s four touchdowns in the game, and ran for 81 total yards. The junior averaged 3.0 yards per carry and added 15 yards receiving.
Chad Stoterau led the Northern defense with eight tackles in the game, including a sack for a total loss of four yards. The Northern big man was followed by Brendon Hoellein, Trever Heining, and Tanner Lopez with seven tackles apiece. Lopez also notched a sack with Stoterau and tallied one of the team’s three interceptions. Channing Barber led the team with four pass break-ups, holding the Beavers leading receiver Juwaan Richard to just one reception for 13 yards. Richard was averaging 51.0 yards per game.
Josh Coyle, Conner Sheehan, and Joe Parsley grabbed the teams three other interceptions in the game, while Tyson Zemlicka and Marcus Marcellus each nabbed a solo sack. A total of 14 Wolves recorded multiple tackles in the game, while nine others notched one tackle each.
The Wolves will remain on the road next week for their third North Division match-up if the season. NSU will face off against Minnesota Duluth at 1 p.m. next Saturday.