It's been an all-too-familiar script for the University of South Dakota football team the past three seasons: compete hard against a quality opponent, but come up just one play or one possession short, thanks to a defensive breakdown, untimely penalty, costly turnover, or botched special teams play.

It happened last season in Flagstaff, where the Coyotes fell on the road by six points at Northern Arizona, who comes to Vermillion this Saturday for a rematch.

That blueprint has also been duplicated three years in a row now against Montana, most recently last weekend, in a 28-20 loss to the Griz in Missoula.

After trailing a Top Ten team just 7-3 at the half, the USD defense gave up three touchdowns in the first four possessions of the second half, before the offense put things together for 17 second half points, to fall just shy against Montana for the third straight year.

I asked USD head coach Joe Glenn about what went wrong, and what went right, in Missoula:

This weekend, the Coyotes return home for their final non-conference game of the season, when they host Northern Arizona at the DakotaDome.

Last season in Flagstaff, USD gave the Lumberjacks an early cushion before turning it on in the second half, and nearly upsetting a team that eventually made the FCS Playoffs.

NAU has had to fill a lot of holes from last season's team, but they've managed to start 2014 2-1.

I asked coach Glenn about Saturday's match-up:

Kickoff in Vermillion is 2:00pm CDT Saturday.

The Coyotes then have a bye week before opening Missouri Valley Conference play at Southern Illinois, Saturday, October 4th.