VERMILLION, SD -- Two teams striving to gain momentum as they begin the second half of the season meet in Springfield, Mo., Saturday where the Missouri State Bears (0-6, 0-3 MVFC) host the South Dakota Coyotes (1-4, 0-2 MVFC). Game time from Plaster Field is 1 p.m.

It will be the first time these two programs meet on the gridiron. It will also mean the end of a burdensome streak for the victor. At 0-6, the Bears have one of the longest losing streaks in the nation. The Coyotes, meanwhile, are seeking their first road win since beating Minnesota in 2010.

Both teams could point to self-inflicted wounds as a reason for a slow start to 2012. Missouri State has thrown 13 interceptions and lost six fumbles this season. South Dakota has dropped passes, committed untimely penalties and had punts blocked in recent outings.

A win could cure all ills.

Both offenses will be facing 3-4 defenses. The Coyotes will look to run against the Missouri Valley's ninth-ranked run defense in the hopes of setting up the pass. The formula worked well against Illinois State when running back Marcus Sims averaged 8.5 yards a carry. It didn't work so well against Western Illinois when Sims was limited to 40 yards on 14 carries.

"We did not have a great day blocking on the perimeter last Saturday," said USD offensive coordinator Wesley Beschorner. "We didn't stick on our blocks like we had against Illinois State. Every time we have had success, we have run the ball well. That has been the staple of Joe Glenn-coached teams."

The Bears' feature a spread offense based on timing and speed that puts their skill players in position to make plays. Senior wideout Cadarrius Dotson is nearing 1,200 career receiving yards. Redshirt freshman running back Ryan Heaston might be the team's best offensive player. Backup quarterback Kierra Harris has seen more action in recent games, largely in part to the 12 interceptions thrown by starter Ashton Glaser.

"Our goal is to try to limit Heaston's touches as much as possible, be sound of the perimeter and make plays on the outside," said USD defensive coordinator Jason Petrino. "Missouri State will stay in one personnel for most of the game. We will look to matchup, keep our calls simple and let our players react and play fast."

Both defenses have a linebacker and safety who have been hot as of late. For South Dakota, it has been senior inside linebacker Tim Marlette and junior strong safety Devin Taverna. Marlette has had 26 tackles in his last two games. Taverna has an interception in each of his last two games.

The Bears counter with senior outside linebacker Nate Davis and sophomore strong safety Caleb Schaffitzel. Davis has three of Missouri State's 11 sacks. Schaffitzel has averaged double-digit tackles.

"Missouri State returns a lot of defensive players from last year," said Beschorner. "They are good up front and have done well in stopping Missouri Valley teams."

NOTES
* South Dakota's three-game skid is its longest since 2009.
* Five of USD's final six games will be played outside of Vermillion.
* Only 25 players in the nation have more interceptions than Taverna (2).
* Marlette ranks fifth in the MVFC and 26th in the nation with 50 tackles.
* USD is 5-for-26 on third down through two Missouri Valley contests.
* Two of Anthony Williams' last three receptions have gone for touchdowns.

Courtesy:  University of South Dakota