After tasting defeat for the first time in the Missouri Valley Conference this season, the University of South Dakota football team is back on the road when they travel to Youngstown State, Saturday (October 20).

The Penguins (2-4/1-2 MVFC) are coming off a lopsided loss at South Dakota State, which saw them win the time of possession battle, but give up more than 250 yards rushing and turn the ball over twice to the Jackrabbits.

YSU has one of the top running backs in the league. Senior Tevin McCaster has topped 100 yards in a game three times this season. He ranks fourth in the MVFC with an average of 99 yards per game.

McCaster ran for four scores in a 31-28 loss at South Dakota last season.

Quarterback Montgomery VanGorder, a transfer from Notre Dame, is a dual threat, throwing for the third most yards in the conference while running for over 150 yards. He's been inconsistent at times throwing the football with 11 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

As a team, the Penguins are minus-six in turnovers and have put the ball on the ground 12 times in six games, losing only two.

Defensively, Bo Pelini's team is led by linebacker Armand Dellovade and safety Chrispin Lee, who both rank in the top 12 in tackles in the league.

Dellovade had two sacks against USD in last year's meeting.

Kickoff is 5:00 PM, Saturday in Youngtown, Ohio.

Last weekend (October 13). the Coyotes (3-3/2-1 MVFC) had a two-game winning streak snapped with a 42-28 home loss to Northern Iowa.

USD missed two opportunities in the first half to score touchdowns, instead settling for field goals and an early 6-0 lead.

The Panthers scored 21 of the next 31 points, including a pair of long touchdown drives and a third which was set up by a Coyote fumble on a kickoff, giving UNI the ball on the USD four-yard line.

South Dakota pulled even in the second half after an acrobatic catch from Dakarai Allen set up a score which was punctuated by a leaping grab by Allen for a two-point conversion.

Northern Iowa answered with a touchdown drive of their own and then forced a pair of fourth-quarter turnovers to seal the win.

I talked with Coyotes head coach Bob Nielson about the Northern Iowa loss and the match-up with Youngstown State:


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