South Dakota Preview: Coyotes Host Weber State
After an inconsistent performance in their opener with New Mexico, the University of South Dakota football team gets to play in front of the home folks for the first time in 2016, as the Coyotes welcome Weber State to the DakotaDome, Saturday afternoon.
The Wildcats (0-1) bring in a defense that was number one in the Big Sky Conference last season and number two against the run. But that defense was pushed around in the 2016 opener, as Utah State ran for 428 yards and scored on six rushing plays, in a 45-6 win.
All-Conference linebacker Tre'von Johnson had ten tackles for the Wildcats defense, including two-and-a-half for losses. Safety Josh Burton also added ten tackles.
Linebacker Emmett Tela and cornerback Taron Johnson were pre-season All-Big Sky selections.
Offensively, Weber State is deep at wide receiver as six different players caught passes from quarterback Jadrian Clark in the opener. Andrew Vollert led the way with five receptions for 70 yards.
The Wildcats feature four running backs who have topped the 100-yard mark in a game in their career. Sophomore Treshawn Garrett ran for 96 yards against Utah State.
Weber State's offensive line is anchored by a pair of pre-season All-Big sky players, guard Cameron Young and tackle Calvin Steyn.
The Coyotes (0-1) look to even their record after opening the season with a 48-21 loss at New Mexico.
USD's defense gave up a 75-yard touchdown run to the Lobos' Teriyon Gipson on the opening play of the game, but the offense responded with a 55-yard touchdown run from quarterback Chris Streveler to tie the game at 7.
Then a forced fumble by Adam Harris (recovered by Jon Maag) set up another Streveler scoring run, to give the Coyotes a 14-7 lead with 5:50 to play in the first quarter. Streveler was USD's leading rusher with 131 yards on the ground.
But Gipson was back in the end zone less than a minute later, this time from 84-yards away, and New Mexico wouldn't stop until they had scored 31 unanswered points. Gipson finished the day with 181 yards rushing.
During that stretch, USD turned the ball over twice, once on an Austin Simmons fumbled punt return and another on a Streveler sack.
Tacari Carpenter led USD receivers with three catches for 59 yards and a touchdown.
On special teams, All-Missouri Valley Conference punter Miles Bergner averaged better 55 yards a punt.
Defensively, linebacker Jet Moreland led the USD defense with 12 tackles.
The Coyotes were only penalized twice.
Kickoff in Vermillion is 2:00 PM, Saturday.
I asked Coyote head coach Bob Nielson about the New Mexico loss and what adjustments need to be made for Weber State: