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Last year, the Bemidji State football team played a home playoff game for the first time in the program's 96-year history.

On a frigid Nov. 19, 2022 — nine degrees above zero with a windchill below zero — at Chet Anderson Stadium on the shore of Lake Bemidji, the Beavers defeated Winona State 31-7.

On Saturday, the Beavers will face Central Washington in the second round of the NCAA Division II playoffs in their second home playoff game.

The forecast isn't quite as foreboding as last year's. The high for Saturday in Bemidji is expected to be 30 degrees.

Both the Beavers and Central Washington advanced to the second round after victories on the road last Saturday. The Beavers defeated Texas-Permian Basin 10-3 in Midland, Texas, while Central Washington reached the second with a 16-13 victory in overtime over Western Colorado in Gunnison, Colo.

The Beavers (9-2) and Central Washington (8-3), which is located in Ellensburg, Wash., have never met on the football field.

Central Washington is a member of the same conference (Lone Star) as Texas-Permian Basin. Texas-Permian Basin defeated the Wildcats 42-14 on Nov. 11 to close out the regular season.

The Wildcats opened the season with losses to FCS-program Weber State (35-10, on the road) and to NAIA program Montana Tech (37-29 at home). The Wildcats then won seven straight before the loss in Permian Basin.

The Wildcats' victory over Western Colorado in the first round was their first playoff victory since 2009.

Augustana's steep challenge

NSIC champion Augustana will play Colorado Mines, the top-ranked team in D-II, on Saturday in Golden, Colo. The Vikings defeated Minnesota State Mankato 51-24 in the first round, while Colorado Mines had a first-round bye.

Division III playoffs

Two WIAC teams will play host to second-round games on Saturday — Wisconsin-La Crosse will meet Aurora (Ill.) and UW-Whitewater will meet Wheaton.

Last Saturday, La Crosse defeated Minnesota Morris 62-7 while Whitewater defeated Bethel 42-14.

Wartburg, which lost in the semifinals of the Division III playoffs last season, will play host to Whitworth in Waverly, Iowa. The unbeaten Knights (11-0) are 24-1 over the past two seasons.