Carignan’s kick return goes viral, Beavers fall to No. 14 Duluth

DULUTH, Minn. — Dubbed the “College Football Highlight of the Year” by former Daily Beast and Deadspin writer Timothy Burke, Minot State true freshman Cory Carignan turned heads Thursday with an improbable 104-yard kick return touchdown.

Burke, who has 56,400 followers on Twitter (@bubbaprog), shared the jaw-dropping play and Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports), with 1.7 million followers, followed suit a few minutes later.

The exposure on social media didn’t exactly help Minot State on the scoreboard. No. 14-ranked Minnesota Duluth still rolled to a 52-7 victory in the season opener for both teams at the James S. Malosky Stadium.

Duluth (1-0) scored on its opening possession, 3:35 into the contest. Junior quarterback John Larson threw up an 8-yard fade to the corner of the end zone for Zach Ojile.

MSU (0-1) nearly answered right back on its next drive. A pair of third-down catches by senior Lavante Bushnell, including a flashy one-handed grab, plus a 13-yard scramble by junior quarterback Ben Bolinske put the Beavers in field goal range.

Senior kicker JoseLuis Moreno lined up from 42 yards, but had his kick blocked by Justic’e King.

Duluth marched back down the field and scored again on a 5-yard run from Wade Sullivan. Larson ran in for two more points to push the score to an unconventional 15-0.

On the ensuing kickoff, true freshman Carignan took a terrible blunder and turned it into a highlight-reel play. He muffed the catch, retreated into his own end zone to retrieve the ball and was greeted by a host of Duluth tacklers.

Carignan refused to go down and somehow escaped a dogpile. He got to the sideline and found a caravan of Beaver blockers.

Ali Mohamed flattened Duluth’s Austin Kurylo with a heads up block at the end of the play.

Carignan raced the whole length of the field for a memorable kick return touchdown for the Beavers’ first points of the season.

Duluth took the sucker punch and delivered one in return.

With 8:26 left in the second quarter, Larson connected with Quincy Woods on a 38-yard touchdown pass while facing third-and-17.

The Bulldogs second two-point conversion failed, 21-7.

With a 12-yard run up the middle, Cazz Martin found the end zone once more for Duluth before halftime. The Bulldogs were pressing for another score in the final seconds, but Geordie McDougall picked off Larson.

Duluth expanded its lead in the third quarter with another Sullivan rushing touchdown, a 19-yard field goal by Dan Branger and a 60-yard touchdown toss from Larson to Woods.

Bolinske threw a pick-six into the arms of Eric Schmitz with 8:47 remaining to increase the Bulldogs’ lead to 52-7.

Duluth outgained MSU 552-161 in total yardage.

Mohamed was the Beavers leading rusher with 89 yards on 14 carries. Bolinske went 8-for-21 for 43 yards and threw two interceptions. Bushnell caught three passes for 39 yards.

Minot State hosts Northern State in its home opener on Sept. 14 at Herb Parker Stadium. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.

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