South Dakota Preview: Coyotes Host #24 Missouri State
For the first time in nearly a month, the University of South Dakota football team will get to play in front of their home fans in Vermillion for the annual Dakota Days game, Saturday (October 6) against Missouri State.in the second Missouri Valley Conference game for both teams.
The Bears (3-1/1-0 MVFC) are one of the biggest surprises in The Valley so far this season, already equaling their win total from all of last season.
MSU's last two victories have come against Top 25 teams - Northern Arizona and Illinois State - and have vaulted the Bears back into the STATS FCS Top 25 for the first time since 1997.
Missouri State returns 15 starters from last season, including quarterback Peyton Huslig. The junior is a dual threat who has struggled a bit throwing the ball the last two games, with six interceptions and just one touchdown pass.
After a slow start in week one against Oklahoma State, running back Jason Randall has gained more than 250 yards and scored five touchdowns in the last three games.
Defensively, the Bears are in the top ten in the nation with 14 sacks and six recovered fumbles in four games.
Junior linebacker Mcneece Egbim leads the team with 32 tackles. Sophomore tackle Claudio Martin has only appeared in three games but has three sacks.
Kickoff is 2:00 PM, Saturday in Vermillion. The game is sold out.
The Coyotes (2-2/1-0- MVFC) were victorious in the MVFC opener last Saturday (September 29) with a 31-24 win at Southern Illinois.
USD cashed in an early interception from Mark Collins for a first-quarter touchdown but struggled through much of the first half offensively, with six punts and a turnover.
Down 17-10 early in the second half, Coyote quarterback Austin Simmons got hot, going 8-of-9 through the air for 219 yards and three touchdowns in the third quarter alone.
An Andrew Gray interception on the USD 11 set up the final score, a Simmons to Dakarai Allen 89-yard touchdown pass.
Gray and his twin brother Alex led the Coyote defense with a combined 24 tackles.
USD committed 16 penalties in the game.
I talked with Coyotes head coach Bob Nielson about the Southern Illinois win and the match-up with Missouri State: