MARSHALL – Not very often does a player get to open his senior season of college on the same field he played on in high school. That’s exactly the opportunity presented to University of Minnesota Duluth senior Beau Bofferding, who played his Marshall High School home games at Mattke Field.
That’s where UMD opens the 2016 season, as the Bulldogs will face the Southwest Minnesota State University Mustangs tonight at 7 p.m.
Bofferding graduated from MHS in 2012 after a senior season that included 1,423 rushing yards, 431 receiving yards and 37 total touchdowns for the 9-1 Tigers.
“It’s always fun to get a chance to go back home to where football started for me,” Bofferding said. “And to get a chance to play in front of some family and friends I don’t necessarily play in front of every Saturday it’s gonna be fun!”
Just as he showed his versatility on the field for Marshall, Bofferding brought that skill set to the Zenith City.
The senior plays both running back and wide receiver for the Bulldogs.
As a senior, he’s taken a bigger leadership role. That includes his role as a team captain; a position he’s really taken to.
“Being a senior captain, it’s been an absolute honor to be a part of the UMD football program for five years,” Bofferding said. “I just wanna go out and lead this team the best I can day in and day out and give my all both on and off the field. To be a senior captain of a college football team is something I’ve always dreamed about, to be honest. That time is finally here and I couldn’t be more excited about it.”
Entering the season, Bofferding has amassed career totals of 528 rushing yards on 67 carries, 73 receptions for 953 yards and 24 total touchdowns at UMD.
“He’s a natural tailback that worked his way into being a big-time wide receiver at the slot position,” UMD head coach Curt Wiese said. “He’s a versatile player, so we’re gonna find every way we can to try to put the ball in his hands.”
That includes on special teams, where Bofferding has worked as both a kick returner and punt returner for UMD.
Maybe his biggest play came in the second round of the 2014 NCAA Division II playoffs against Ouachita Baptist, when he returned a kickoff 96 yards. He was tackled on the 1-yard line on the play, but the play set a UMD record for longest kick return in program history.
Record books are not unfamiliar territory for Bofferding. He ended his Marshall High School career as the record-holder in rushing yards (3,141), rushing touchdowns (59), receptions (58) and total touchdowns (72), while also holding single-season marks in rushing yards (1,423), rushing scores (34) and total touchdowns (37).
Most of those records still stand today, but some may be in jeopardy soon thanks to the early success of Jefferson Lee V as a sophomore in 2015. Lee did already top the single-season rushing record with 1,474 yards. Lee’s 27 rushing touchdowns came in second to Bofferding’s 34 scores as a senior.
Bofferding isn’t concerned about his records.
“I’ve always thought growing up that records are meant to be broken,” Bofferding said. “That’s what they’re there for. For him to come close and chase (my records), I’m very excited for him.”
Tonight will be the first time Bofferding has played on Mattke Field since high school.
When UMD was last in town in 2012, it was the year he sat out as a redshirt.
“I understand everyone in Marshall is a Mustang fan, but it’ll be fun to have some family and friends cheer for me and the Bulldogs if they want,” Bofferding said. “That’s something I’m looking forward to.”