FAYETTE, Iowa - The Minot State University football team moved the ball better than it had all season Saturday, but it wasn't enough.
Six turnovers nullified what otherwise would've been the Beavers' best offensive performance, and Upper Iowa held off an MSU rally for a 26-20 win.
MSU had 23 first downs compared to 18 for UIU. The Beavers also outgained UIU through the air, 320-286, but the Peacocks edged MSU in total yards (431-428).
It was a case of lost opportunities for the Beavers (0-4) as they continually drove into Upper Iowa territory but struggled to score.
MSU junior Glyn Borel gave the Beavers an early lead as he took the opening kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown. The Beavers failed to score the rest of the half, despite numerous chances, including a fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line.
Upper Iowa coach Tom Shea called the MSU front seven "probably the best" in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. The Beavers held the Peacock ground game to 145 yards. Chris Smith, the reigning NSIC Offensive Player of the Year, was limited to 85 yards on 20 carries.
UIU (2-2) used a 47-yard bomb to get on the scoreboard early in the first quarter, knotting the game at 7-7.
Another UIU long pass led to a field goal, and a 93-yard punt return gave the Peacocks a 16-7 halftime lead.
MSU drove into UIU territory seven times in the second half, but only converted twice.
The Beavers went 48 yards in nine plays with freshman quarterback Zac Cunha hitting redshirt freshman receiver Porter Sturm with a beautiful 20-yard pass to close the gap to 26-14 with three minutes left in the third quarter.
Minot had a drive in the third quarter stopped by a fumble inside the UIU 10-yard line.
After a UIU touchdown early in the fourth quarter, Minot took just over two minutes to retaliate with a seven-play, 83-yard drive, capped by another Cunha-to-Porter completion for 22 yards. Sturm caught 11 passes for 199 yards, both career highs.
The MSU offense got the ball back, but UIU's fourth interception of the game stopped the drive.
MSU senior running back Blake Eggl rushed for 71 yards on 21 attempts, both season highs.
Junior linebacker Josh Weidler led the Beavers with 10 tackles, junior Uepati Fatilua added seven tackles and the first MSU sack of the season and junior Jeff Buchert snagged the team's first interception.
The Beavers host the University of Mary on Saturday at Herb Parker Stadium. Game time is 6:07 p.m. with live coverage on NBC North Dakota.