South Dakota’s Joe Glenn on Northern Iowa Win, Illinois State Game
The last three weeks have been historic ones for the University of South Dakota football team.
First it was Missouri Valley Conference win number one, when the Coyotes beat Missouri State, October 5th.
October 12th it was the first ever back-to-back Missouri Valley wins, with a victory over Indiana State.
This past weekend, it was USD's biggest win since joining the Missouri Valley, a 38-31 double overtime triumph at Northern Iowa. Not only a third straight win, but a win against a Top 25 FCS team, and the Coyotes first road victory of any kind, since the program's marquee win at Minnesota in 2010.
Head coach Joe Glenn told me this win ranked right up there with the Gopher game in its significance for USD football:
All three Coyote wins during this streak have been in come-from-behind fashion. None bigger than the game at the UNI Dome Saturday, where USD trailed 28-7 with under six minutes to play in the third quarter. Coach Glenn used the word 'courage' after the game Saturday to describe his team:
An old problem continued to plague the Coyotes in Cedar Falls, bad snaps on special teams. A pair of errant snaps in punt formation on consecutive possessions in the third quarter led to a pair of UNI touchdowns, and forced the USD coaching staff to abandon the playbook the next time the Coyotes were forced to punt, opting instead to snap the ball to running back Trevor Bouma, who proceeded to launch a 67-yard kick with no return. The play was the brainchild of special teams coach Tim Triplett:
The kicking woes weren't just limited to the put team. Field goal kicker Miles Bergner missed two kicks from inside 32 yards during regulation, leaving his coach with more than a little trepidation when he called on Bergner to try to tie the game in the first overtime with a 23 yarder:
The USD defense did their best to keep their team in it until the offense could get things going. The 31 points allowed was a bit misleading, considering the short fields the Panthers had following the turnovers on the kicking game. Still, there were plenty of performances on the defense to make Coach Glenn proud:
Last week, Coach Glenn told me quarterback Kevin Earl 'could be better'. Saturday the sophomore was as good as he's ever been; passing for a career-high 370 yards and accounted for five touchdowns (3 pass, 2 rush), while picking up Missouri Valley Conference offensive player of the week honors. Early on though, Coach Glenn says it didn't seem like it was going to be Earl's day:
Also honored for his play this week was freshman wide receiver Riley Donovan, who is the conference newcomer of the week after catching 9 passes for 178 yards and two touchdowns.
Also solid on offense Saturday was Trevor Bouma, who ran the ball for 149 yards with a a little extra motivation in his home state:
Next up, a trip to Illinois State Saturday. The Redbirds are 3-4 overall, 2-2 in conference play. All three of their wins have come at home, where they are outscoring opponents on average, 40-17:
Defensively, the Redbirds are especially tough against the pass, 4th best in the conference, allowing 173 yards through the air. Last week against Indiana State, they notched 7 quarterback sacks:
Heading into another tough Missouri Valley Conference road test Saturday, the two biggest things South Dakota has going for it right now can't be found on a stat sheet: confidence and momentum:
Kickoff is 1:00pm Saturday afternoon in Normal.