South Dakota Beats #11 Northern Iowa in Overtime
The University of South Dakota football team rallied from a 21-point second half deficit to beat #11 Northern Iowa and snap an 18-game road losing streak, as the Coyotes won 38-31 in overtime.
Both teams started well on offense.
The Panthers took the opening kickoff and needed just four plays to go 78 yards, as Sawyer Kollmorgen finished the drive with a 34-yard touchdown pass to Chad Owens.
The Coyotes had a quick answer, three plays and a Kevin Earl 48-yard touchdown pass to Riley Donovan to tie the game at 7 less than three minutes into the game.
After the two teams traded punts, UNI had a chance to retake the lead, but Tyler Sievertsen missed a 41-yard field goal attempt and it stayed 7-7.
Next it was USD's turn to try and score but after nine plays and 41 yards, the Coyotes turned it over on downs on the Panther 36.
Northern Iowa took advantage of the turnover with two runs for 42 yards from David Johnson and then Evan Williams ran the ball three straight times, the third carry winding up in the end zone for a 14-7 UNI lead early in the second quarter.
USD, looking for the equalizer, drove the ball to the Panther 11 on the following drive, but came up empty when Miles Bergner missed a 28-yard field goal attempt.
But the Coyote defense had a big play of its sleeve, as UNI was driving to close out the first half, Dyllon Knox picked off Kollmorgen in the end zone and returned it to the Panther 46. To add the USD's good fortune, a UNI personal foul on the play moved it all the way to the Northern Iowa 31 with :32 left in the half.
But again the special teams failed to take advantage, as Bergner missed wide right from 32 yards as the half expired. 14-7 Northern Iowa at intermission.
On the Coyotes first possession of the second half, the return of a problem that has plagued the special teams all season, bad snaps. This time on a punt attempt from the UNI 39, as Bergner lost 18 yards trying to track down the arrant snap.
The Panthers needed six plays to take advantage of the short field, as Williams ran it in from 4 yards out to make it 21-7.
Next Coyote drive - similar ending as another bad snap on a punt sent Bergner scrambling, and set up the Panthers for yet another short field touchdown, a David Johnson 7-yard touchdown run to make it 28-7 with 5:54 left in the third quarter.
But with their backs against the wall, the Coyotes came out swinging.
On the next possession, quarterback Kevin Earl orchestrated a 75 yard drive, with the final 43 coming through the air to Riley Donovan to cut the Panther lead to 28-14 after three.
In the fourth quarter, Earl was picked off by UNI, by the USD defense came up with an interception of their own when Jarrid Bryant interception at the Coyote 43, returning it to the Northern Iowa 38.
It took the offense just four plays to convert, as Earl ran it in from 8 yards out to make it a seven point game at 28-21.
It stayed that way until the 1:17 of regulation, when the Coyotes got the ball on on their own 42 yard line, needing a touchdown to tie it.
Completions of 18 and 24 yards on the second and third plays moved it to the UNI 16, Then a defensive pass interference call put the ball on the 4 with time running out.
A one yard run and two incomplete passes later, USD had it fourth and goal from the 3, when Earl hit Terrance Terry for the game tying score with :05 left, forcing overtime tied at 28.
Each team converted field goal chances on their first possessions to push it to 31-all.
When the Coyotes got the ball next, a pair of passes from Earl to Tyler Wilhelm and Trevor Bouma got it down close, and Earl finished the drive off moments later with a 1 yard run to give USD its first lead of the day at 38-31.
Now it was up to the defense.
In three plays, Kollmorgen had the Panthers at the USD 6. But on 4th and 3 from the 6, Kollmorgen couldn't find anyone open and tried to scramble for the first down, only to be met by Emilious Davis who dragged him down, setting off a celebration the Coyotes had been waiting for since 2010 at Minnesota, the last time they won on the road.
The 38-31 win moved USD to 4-3 on the year, 3-1 in Missouri Valley play.
Earl passed for a career-high 370 yards and accounted for five touchdowns (3 pass, 2 rush). Donovan had two touchdowns and nine catches for 178 yards - the most by a Coyote since 2008.
USD plays at Illinois State next Saturday at 1:00pm.