BY TURNER BLAUFUSS
The Minnesota State University Moorhead Dragons failed to put together a complete game on their Homecoming, as they fell to 3-4 with a 42-28 loss to the Bemidji State University Beavers. The Dragons took a 28-7 lead into the locker rooms at halftime on Saturday, but the Beavers came out firing in the second half scoring 35 unanswered points.
“Some penalties that kept drives alive and a few mental errors gave up some quick strikes for big plays and when you put those things together it creates some momentum,” MSUM coach Steve Laqua said.
The Dragons’ penalties often came on 3rd down and limited production from MSUM’s offense contributed to the Beaver comeback.
“At the end of the day we had too many penalties, we extended too many of their drives for them and allowed them to put points on the board,” Laqua said. “Credit them. They made some great plays and kept battling when they were down.”
Playing from behind proved more difficult for MSUM, as the Dragon offense, who surpassed 350 yards in the first half (294 passing, 65 rushing) struggled to answer once the momentum swung to the Beavers.
“We couldn’t stop their momentum, because offensively we never countered their scores,” Laqua said. “Offensively in the first half we started to do some things that were good to see. We were running the ball and had a high percentage of completions, but in the second half we didn’t do that and it was too long of stretches without points.”
The Dragon defense also struggled to slow down Bemidji’s quarterback Jordan Hein, who finished with 372 total yards (280 passing, 92 rushing) and five passing touchdowns.
“(Hein) had himself a great day. He made some plays with his legs and keeping plays alive to make big throws,” Laqua said.
MSUM’s QB also had a productive day, but 294 of Demetrius Carr’s 426 passing yards and all three of his passing touchdowns came in the first half. Carr also had a four-yard rushing TD in the first quarter. The junior quarterback’s favorite target in the first half was sophomore Damon Gibson. Gibson hauled in three passes for 154 yards in the opening half, including a long ball that scored an 82-yard touchdown to put the Dragons on the board.
“I thought Damon played a good game. Especially in the first half, he was able to get open. He provides a deep threat and he’s been a nice addition to our offense,” Laqua said.
Another sophomore receiver, Hunter Braaten, had a big game snagging nine receptions for 115 yards and a 14-yard touchdown.
“I think that’s encouraging for the future. We spread the ball around offensively and our young guys made some plays,” Laqua said.
The Dragons’ (3-4) next game is on the road against Minot State University. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. Saturday.