South Dakota Looking to Rebound after Kansas State Loss, Prepares for UC Davis
After winning just twice last season, the South Dakota Coyotes were hoping to start the 2015 on a positive note as they played at Kansas State last weekend. Any potential good vibes were shattered right away in Manhattan, when K-State's Morgan Burns returned the opening kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown, as the Wildcats went on to beat the Coyotes 34-0.
The return was just one of several special teams miscues for USD Saturday. The Coyotes gave up 52 yards on a trio of punt returns, had one punt travel just 13 yards, fumbled away a punt return of their own, and missed a pair of field goals.
There were some bright spots on offense, where junior quarterback Ryan Saeger completed 18 of 30 passes for a career-high 205 yards and no interceptions, connecting with Eric Shufford six times for 79 yards, while Brandt Van Roekel had a career-best 56 yards on four catches.
The Coyote ground game was bottled up by the Wildcats all day, with USD picking up just 61 rushing yards.
Defensively, the Coyotes allowed just two touchdowns on the Wildcats' five trips into the red zone. The defensive highlight of the day belonged to safety Tyson Graham, who forced a fumble near the goal line midway through the first quarter and defensive end Andrew Van Ginkel recovered at the 1. Head coach Joe Glenn says there was plenty to be encouraged about, despite the final score.
This Saturday, USD hopes to turn the page with a trip to UC Davis. The Coyotes and Aggies know one another well, going head-to-head for the fifth time in seven seasons. South Dakota has won the last two against Davis, although neither team has ever grabbed a victory of more than four points in the series.
The Aggies also lost on the road in week one, falling at Nevada 31-17. Davis played catch-up the entire way after falling behind 21-0 midway thru the second quarter. That forced the Aggies to essentially abandon the running game, opting to throw the ball 47 times against the Wolf Pack. Quarterback Ben Scott completed 32 of 47 passes for 238 yards, with running back Manusamoa Luuga's making eight catches for 42 yards, leading five Aggies with at least four receptions. Davis did not turn the ball over in the game. Coach Glenn says he expects a much more balanced attack from their Big Sky opponent this week.
Defensively, the Aggies struggled to maintain Nevada's running game, allowing 232 yards on the ground, but they did register a pair of quarterback sacks.
Kickoff in Davis is 8:05 PM Central time Saturday night.
Here's my entire interview with Coach Glenn: