BEMIDJI STATE TO BE BULLDOGS' HOMECOMING GUESTS THIS SATURDAY
Thursday, October 18, 2012
The University of Minnesota Duluth will look to add another notch to its 37-game Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference home winning streak this Saturday (Oct. 20) when the Bulldogs play host to North Division rival Bemidji State University in their annual Homecoming game. Opening kickoff is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. at James S. Malosky Stadium (4,500 capacity/artificial turf) on the UMD campus.
THE RECORDS: UMD, the four-time reigning NSIC champions, is 6-1 both overall and league play this fall while Bemidji State, which has won three straight, sports a 4-3 record.
HOW THEY RANK: Here is how UMD and Bemidji State stacked up in this week's American Football Coaches Association Division II and the D2Football.com polls.
UMD No. 7 (tie) No. 9
BSU NR NR
THE BROADCAST: The Bulldog-Beaver matchup will be carried on 1490 The Fan (KQDS-AM) with Jeff Papas handling the play-by-play responsibilities and former University of North Dakota offensive lineman and Superior Stampede assistant coach Gregg Swartwoudt providing color. The broadcast can also be heard on KQ 105.5 FM in Grand Rapids/Hibbing , KQ 106.7 FM in Ely/Virginia and at: www.fan1490.com.
IIn addition, My9 (KBJR DT 6.2/KRII DT 11.9) is televising all UMD home games during the 2012 season, including the one Saturday afternoon against Bemidji College. Veteran sportscaster Tom Hansen former long-time UMD defensive coordinator Vince Repesh are scheduled to serve as the on-air talent. The telecast, which is also available locally on Charter and Mediacom cable, will be videostreammed as well and can be accessed for free at: www.nsic.nmtvsports.com.
THE COACH: The numbers certainly speak for themselves. Two NCAA II national championships, five NSIC titles (including the last four in a row), three perfect 11-0 regular seasons, five NCAA II playoff appearances, 96 victories and a .793 overall winning percentage. Bob Nielson has accomplished all this -- and much more -- in his nine-plus seasons of head coaching activity at UMD.
Last fall, Nielson directed his charges, which included 15 All-NSIC picks and a quartet of All-Americans, to an 11-3 overall record and a quarterfinal round berth (their fourth in as many years) in the NCAA II playoffs before bowing out to eventual national runnerup Wayne State University. In 2010, the Bulldogs did something no other NCAA II club had ever been able to do – finish 15-0 for a second time. Along the way, UMD brought home the school’s second NCAA II title and third consecutive NSIC crown (a program first), amassing a 10-0 league mark for the third time in as many years. For his efforts, Nielson was bestowed with two of the most prestigious national coaching honors in Division II football – the American Football Coaches Association DII Coach of the Year and the Liberty Mutual DII Coach of the Year awards – in addition to being selected for that same honor by Don Hansen’s Football Gazette and the NSIC.
Nielson returned to the UMD sidelines in 2008 following a four-season hiatus and proceeded to oversee one of the most impressive one-year turnarounds in NCAA Division II history, taking a club which had gone 4-6 in 2007 and molding it into a national champion. Along the way, his Bulldogs rolled up a 15-0 overall mark (only the third NCAA II team to ever accomplish that feat), set or equaled 50 team and individual records, captured the NSIC title and turned out a whopping nine All-Americans. He followed that up two years ago by going 11-2 in all games and advancing to the quarterfinal round of the NCAA II playoffs.
Named the 2008 NCAA II Coach of the Year by American Football Monthly magazine, D2Football.com, and the Football Gazette, Nielson now owns a dazzling 96-25 overall record at UMD (that .793 winning percentage is far and away the best mark in the program’s storied 80-year existence) and is 166-58-1 (.740) in his 20 seasons of coaching at the collegiate level.
Nielson, a three-time NSIC Coach of the Year honoree (2010, 2008 and 2002) whose first tour of duty with the Bulldogs ran from 1999-2003, was officially appointed to his old post on Jan. 3, 2008. (He continues to also serve as UMD’s athletic director, a position he’s held since 2003-04). During his five previous years with the Bulldogs, Nielson helped marshal the UMD program to new heights. In 2002, for example, his Bulldogs posted their second unbeaten, untied regular season record at that time (11-0), advanced to the NCAA II playoffs for the first time ever and captured the NSIC championship. Nielson's resume also includes directing UMD to its inaugural post-season appearance (the 2001 Mineral Water Bowl in Excelsior Springs, Mo.) and the school's second greatest one-year turnaround to date (the Bulldogs went 7-4 in 2000 after managing a 3-8 mark the previous fall).
The runnerup for the 2002 American Football Monthly magazine NCAA II Coach of the Year award, Nielson, 53, joined the UMD staff in the spring of 1999 after he had guided the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire to a share of the 1998 Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title (its first since 1983) and an initial berth in the NCAA III playoffs. He amassed a record of 22-11 in three years with the Blugolds, including a 10-3 mark in his farewell season when Wisconsin-Eau Claire notched a team standard for victories. Nielson, the Football Gazette’s 1998 Division III Coach of the Year, also was employed for five years as the head football coach at his alma mater, Wartburg College, where he strung together five successive non-losing seasons and attained a pair of back-to-back NCAA III playoff berths (1993 and 1994), and for two years at Ripon College (1989-90).
NIELSON BY THE NUMBERS
Record at UMD (Year) 96-25 (10th)
Overall Coaching Record (Year) 166-58-1 (20th)
Career NSIC Record 74-15
Career NCAA II Playoff Record 11-3
Career Home Record (UMD) 50-8
Career Away Record (UMD) 46-17
vs. Bemidji State (Overall) 8-1
vs. Bemidji State (UMD) 8-1
THE SERIES: Saturday's clash will mark the 52nd meeting ever between UMD and Bemidji State. The Bulldogs hold a commanding 40-10-1 lead in the all-time series, which began back in 1931 -- the second year of intercollegiate football at UMD -- and have posted 10 straight wins over their long-time intrastate rivals. One year ago (Sept. 24), the Bulldogs held off then-24th ranked Bemidji State 26-23 as senior placekicker David Nadeau booted a school-record tying four field goals while quarterback Chase Vogler completed 17 of 21 passes for 199 yards. UMD outdid the host club in almost all statistical categories, including total offense (384 yards to 215), passing yards (199 to 74), rushing yards (185 to 141) and first downs (22 to 13). The Bulldogs also held the ball for nearly twice as long as Bemidji State (39:35 to 20:25) and kept it for all but 5:36 of the 30-minute first half.
LAST WEEK: The Bulldogs, behind a pair of rushing touchdowns from running backs Brian Lucas and Logan Lauters, overwhelmed Minot State University 44-6 in the first-ever confrontation between the two clubs. After being forced to punt on their opening possession, the Bulldogs proceeded to score a touchdown, including two by Lucas, in each of their ensuing four series to go up 27-0 at the end of the first quarter. Lauters raced 17 yards for his second touchdown of the game with 3:33 to go before half and senior free safety Cameron Harper returned an interception 75 yards for another six points a little less than three minutes later to make it 41-0. UMD extended its lead to 44-0 on freshman Andrew Brees's third-quarter field goal from 26 yards out and came within 35 seconds of posting their first shutout in two years before the Beavers struck with a six-yard scoring pass. The Bulldogs finished with 288 yards on the ground, over a third of which was generated by Austin Sikorski (106 yards and one touchdown on just nine carries). Freshman inside linebacker Brent Stiglich came off the bench to figure in on a team-high 10 total tackles while junior strong safety Travis Nordhus was credited with eight stops.
Bemidji State notched its third victory in as many weeks by grounding out 23-6 victory over Northern State University. Running back Justin Kroeplin ran 26 times for 112 yards and scored once to pace the Beavers offensively.
THIS IS YOUR CAPTAIN SPEAKING: The Bulldogs' team captaincy responsibilities this fall are being shared by a quintet of seniors -- injured defensive end Joe Akey, free safety Cameron Harper, offensive guard Garth Heikkinen, tight end Ben Helmer and quarterback Chase Vogler.
ANOTHER FAVORABLE NSIC FORECAST: In their annual preseason poll, the NSIC coaches again picked the four-time defending league champion Bulldogs to top the 2012 standings. This is nothing new for UMD, which has been tabbed the NSIC preseason favorite in each of its last six years of league membership (2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008 and 2003). St. Cloud State was targeted for a runnerup finish behind the Bulldogs while reigning South Division kingpin Minnesota State University-Mankato was slotted third in the expanded 16-team NSIC.
NOT IN OUR HOUSE: UMD is a perfect 16-0-0 lifetime versus Bemidji State at Malosky Stadium, the Bulldogs' football home since 1966, and hasn't lost to Bemidji State anywhere in Duluth in 71 years (34-0 on Oct. 10, 1941). That translates into an 18-game winning streak.
SPEAKING OF HOME ...: The Bulldogs have won 37 straight NSIC home engagements going back to a 37-27 loss to Concordia University-St. Paul on Oct. 7, 2000. Throw in NCAA II playoff and non-conference games and UMD is an even more impressive 42-0 overall against NSIC schools at Malosky Stadium during that stretch
ON THE RUN: UMD continues to pace the NSIC and in rushing with a 246.7 yards per game average. The Bulldogs, who as a team are averaging 5.9 yards a carry this fall, have produced a 100-yard rusher in five of their seven games to date including:
Date Player (Opp) Att. Yards TD
Aug. 30 Logan Lauters (SMSU) 9 104 1
Sept. 8 Austin Sikorski (WSU) 16 113 2
Sept. 15 Chase Vogler (CSP) 10 100 2
Sept. 29 Chase Vogler (SCSU) 14 120 2
Oct. 13 Austin Sikorski (MSU) 9 106 1
SOMETHING SPECIAL: True sophomore Aaron Roth owns the second best kickoff return average in the country at the moment (39.0) and is the first Bulldog in 12 years (since Cash Langeness) to bring back two kicks for touchdowns in the same seasons (he hit pay dirt in each of the Bulldogs' first two home games). Freshman Justin Fowlkes is eighth nationally in kickoff return average (30.6 ypr) and has one touchdown to his 2012 credit.
CUT TO THE CHASE: Senior Chase Vogler, who last month was selected the D2Football.com National Offensive Player of the Week for his exemplary night at Concordia University-St. Paul, currently ranks 16th in the country -- and second in the NSIC -- in passing efficiency (154.55). The Inver Grove Heights, Minn., native will head into this weekend still holding down the No. 3 spot on UMD's all-time charts for both passing yardage (6,729) and total offense (9,092 yards). In 49 career appearances with the Bulldogs, Vogler has completed 62.7 percent of his throws and has also run for more yards (2,363 for a 5.3 yards per carry average) than any UMD field general. He's also a remarkable 42-5 as a starter since assuming that role three years back as a first-year freshman. Those 42 victories are not only a UMD record, but they are the tops among all current NCAA II quarterbacks.
JUST WIN, BABY: Since the start of the 2008, no NCAA II program in the country has amassed more victories (58) or a better winning percentage (.906 off a 58-6 record) than UMD. Northwest Missouri State University is next in each of those categories (56-9, .861).
CHART CLIMBER: Third-year starting free safety Cameron Harper, who is one of three Bulldogs to take part in all 49 games over the past three-plus seasons (quarterback Chase Vogler and offensive guard Garth Heikkinen are the two others), now stands eight on UMD's all-time tackles list with 254 stops. Harper's one-time defensive mate, inside linebacker Kiel Fechtelkottter (2007-10) occupies the No. 7 spot on that same chart with 255 stops while cornerback Jeff Sajdak (257 tackles from 1982-85) and inside linebacker Marc Achterkirch (261 from 1991-94) sit at No. 6 and No. 5, respectively.
NATIONAL NUMBERS: Here is how UMD ranks among NCAA II schools in a variety of statistical categories at the moment:
Kickoff Returns 1st 30.5 ypr
Scoring Offense 3rd 47.5 ppg
Rushing Offense 12th 246.7 ypg
Sacks Allowed 14th 0.8 spg
Passing Efficiency 15th 155.28
Rushing Defense 17th 99.9 ypg
THE DRIVE FOR FIVE: The 2012 Bulldogs have their collective sights on becoming the second school ever -- and first in nearly 60 years -- to lay claim to five consecutive NSIC titles. UMD, the league's first four-peat champions since 1978 (the University of Minnesota-Morris) is looking to join St. Cloud State (1951-55) in that exclusive group.
THE GIFT OF GRAB: Wide receiver Zach Zweifel, UMD's pass reception leader one year ago as a true freshman, paces the Bulldogs in that same department this fall with 26 catches for a team-leading 425 yards (just 22 yards shy of his rookie league total). The 2011 All-NSIC second team pickThe 2011 All-NSIC second team pick and is one of two Bulldogs (freshman Justin Fowlkes is the other) to come away with a reception in all seven games to date.
BULLDOG BITS: Beginning with this Saturday, the Bulldogs will be home for three of their final four outings of the 2012 regular season ... Redshirted freshman Andrew Brees, who spent last season watching David Nadeau put the finishing touches on the most prolific placekicking career in UMD history, missed the first extra point attempt of his fledgling career last Saturday at Minot State and now is 43-of-44 in point afters. Earlier this year in UMD's 70-24 throttling of Concordia-St. Paul, Brees matched a Bulldog single-game record by nailing 10 extra point kicks ... After opening the season with a school-record six straight night games, UMD was exposed to afternoon football for the first time in 2012 last Saturday in Minot, N.D.
... UMD has outscored the opposition 206-77 in the first half this season and 84-20 in the opening 15 minutes of play ... Senior free safety Cameron Harper's 75-yard pick six against Minot State last Saturday was the first of his collegiate career ... While the Bulldogs have done a terrific job of protecting the football (just three picks and no lost fumbles in six outings thus far) they have created a mere six turnovers of their own -- two fumble recoveries(by sophomore nose tackle Buma Foncham versus Minnesota State-Moorhead and junior free safety Travis Nordhus against Winona State University) and four interceptions (by Cameron Harper last Saturday at Minot State, junior cornerback Chris Blake at St. Cloud State, junior inside linebacker Colby Ring versus Augustana College and junior cornerback Kenny Chowa at Southwest Minnesota State University) ... Cornerback Darion Fletcher, who has made three starts this season, is UMD's only true freshman to see playing time thus far in 2012 ... The Bulldogs are now 95-2 in the last 96 outings they've been ahead after three quarters -- a run which dates back to November 2001. One of those two losses occurred just three Saturdays ago at St. Cloud State... UMD has scored at least five touchdown in all seven of its games thus far ... The 2012 season marks the first time in the 80-year history of UMD football that the entire regular season schedule consists of conference games only ...With the exception of two occasions (Sept. 19, 2011 and Oct. 31, 2011), UMD has cracked the Top 10 in every AFCA II poll since Sept. 29, 2008. It did maintain the top spot in that ranking from Nov. 2, 2010 until after its 7-0 loss to Wayne State College (Sept. 17), when it tumbled to No. 11 ... Chase Vogler's 45-yard completion to sophomore Aaron Roth in Saturday's 44-6 triumph over Minot State was the longest pass play from scrimmage for UMD this fall .. The 2012 Bulldogs have already equaled a team single-season record for kickoff return touchdowns with three, matching the marks set by the 2009 and 2001 clubs ... All-American senior offensive guard Garth Heikkinen will make his school-record 50th straight start this Saturday, having cracked the starting lineup in every outing since the start of the 2009 season.
A GOOD CAUSE: As part of this Saturday's bout with Bemidji State UMD will be raising funds for junior defensive end Jordan Bauman, who is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatment for Stage II Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Proceeds from the sale of specially-designed rally towels -- as well as 20 percent of sales from the UMD Stores, Cold Stone Creamery and Famous Dave's concession stands at Malosky Stadium -- will go to the Jordan Bauman Benefit Fund and the Tackle Cancer Foundation.
ON TAP: The Bulldogs will partake in their final regular season road assignment of 2012 on Oct. 27 against NSIC North Division comrade University of Minnesota-Crookston.
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