SIOUX FALLS, SD -- The combination of Eric Anderson and a suffocating defense proved to be more than Bemidji State could handle, as the University of Sioux Falls (4-0) rallied from a 5-0 halftime deficit to defeat the Beavers (1-3) by the score of 21-5.

Trailing 5-0 with four minutes left in the third quarter, Anderson intercepted Beaver quarterback Alex Hass at the Bemidji 29-yard line. Anderson saw nothing but open space and he ran into the endzone to give USF a lead that it would not relinquish.

USF went on to score 21 unanswered points to improve its record to 38-1 at Bob Young Field.

The Cougars began their first drive of the day on their own one-yard line after forcing a fumble but Kristian Porter was tackled in the endzone by Beaver Connor Quinn to give BSU the safety and 2-0 lead with 7:41 left in the first quarter.

USF forced a punt and marched down to the BSU seven-yard line on the ensuing drive but came up empty as Perkins was picked off on first-and-goal. The Cougars failed to convert on their next two red zone opportunities because of a fumble and a loss of downs on fourth-and-seven at the BSU 15.

Following a Cougar punt, the Beavers orchestrated a six-play, 32-yard drive that ended with a 31-yard field goal and they took a 5-0 lead into the half. It was the first time the Cougars had been shut out in the first half since falling 31-17 on the road at McNeese State (9/17/11).

The Cougars were driving at the start of the third quarter but failed to score when Braden Wieking sent a 26-yard field-goal attempt wide right. The teams traded punts and BSU started its ninth offensive series on its own 29-yard line. Hass had his first-down pass land in Anderson’s waiting arms, who took it to paydirt to put USF up 8-5 after Perkins found Austin VanHove for the two-point conversion.

BSU coughed up the ball again on the next drive and this time the Cougars found red zone success as Perkins connected with Jeremiah Oates for a 15-yard strike.

The Beavers were held scoreless the rest of the way as the Cougars held the visitors to 68 yards of offense after halftime.

Wieking booted kicks of 23 and 27 yards through the uprights to create the final margin.

Perkins tossed one touchdown and completed 11 of 25 passes for 178 yards. He threw one inception and was sacked twice.

Oates finished with three catches for 84 yards and a score. He has scored in five games straight, dating back to last season, and 16 times in 13 contests as a Cougar.

Carrington Hanna hauled in six balls for 87 yards.

The Cougars gained 84 yard on the ground and Jordan Taylor rushed for a team-high 54 yards on 12 carries. Porter had 12 carries for 46 yards.

USF was penalized just three times for a total of 15 yards.

Time and time again, the Cougar defense made huge plays that offset an uneven offensive performance. BSU was limited to just 210 yards of total offense and 85 yards in the air.

The senior linebacker trio of Anderson, Nick Bonte and Matt White shined on Saturday. Anderson finished with 10 total tackles (one for loss) and one interception return for a touchdown. Bonte also recorded 10 total tackles, four for a loss of eight yards. He also soared for a second quarter interception and forced a fumble. White finished with eight tackles.

The Cougars will host Southwest Minnesota State on Saturday, Sept. 29, with kickoff scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

Courtesy:  University of Sioux Falls