South Dakota Preview: Coyotes at Northern Colorado
After missing out on several opportunities to secure win number one of the 2019 season, South Dakota is back on the road this week matching-up with a team they beat in Vermillion a year ago.
The Coyotes travel to Northern Colorado this weekend.
The Bears (0-3), out of the Big Sky Conference, are also looking for their first win of 2019 after opening the season with three straight on the road, including a pair against FBS teams (San Jose State and Washington State).
They are led by quarterback Jason Knipp, a grad student who set all kinds of records as a freshman in Greeley, but has been battling injuries since. He threw for 331 yards and a touchdown against the USD defense last year in a 43-28 Coyote win.
The two teams combined for more than 1,000 yards of total offense in that game a year ago. Northern Colorado reminds South Dakota head coach Bob Nielson a lot of the last two opponents:
Kickoff is 3:00 PM Central Time in Greeley, Saturday (September 21).
The Coyotes (0-3) are off next week, before opening Missouri Valley Conference play at home with Indiana State, October 5.
Last week in a 53-52 loss to Houston Baptist, the Coyotes and Huskies combined for more than 1,000 passing yards and more than 1,200 yards of total offense.
USD quarterback Austin Simmons had his best day in a Coyote uniform, going 48-of-65 for 537 yards and four touchdowns, earning him Missouri Valley offensive player of the week honors.
South Dakota also got big contributions from the defense, with a pair of interceptions from Phillip Powell and a red zone pick from Elijah Reed.
But the USD special teams couldn't contain HBU kick returner Gamar Girdy Brito, who set up a number of Husky scoring drives with long kickoff returns.
The Coyote offense missed chances as well, driving the ball deep into Houston Baptist territory three times in the first quarter alone, but only coming away with ten points in the first 15 minutes. Neilson says USD's first drive, which ended with a Simmons fumble on the Husky 19, was part of a bigger problem:
That lead was short-lived as Brito gave HBU good field position with a 30-yard kickoff return and the Huskies took advantage, scoring nine plays later to pull to within one. At that point, they decided to play for the win and were successful on a trick play for a two-point conversion. Neilson says in that situation, the Coyotes were not surprised by the visitors' decision to roll the dice:
The loss kept the Coyotes winless so far in 2019 but Nielson says there is still time to turn things around with nine games still to play: