The University of Sioux Falls Football Team (3-0), which is ranked #24 in the most recent American Football Coaches Association Poll, continues to be among the leaders in NCAA Division II on both offense and defense.

Through three games, the Cougars sit ninth nationally and second in the league in total defense. The Cougars have allowed just 3.68 yards per play (200 plays, 735 yards) and 245.0 yards per game.  

USF’s defense also ranks 10th in scoring defense and second in the league at 11.0 points per game while the rushing defense is 13th nationally and first in the league with just 80.0 yards allowed per game. Opponents are averaging just 2.26 rushing yards per carry against the Cougars, which has also been stingy on allowing first downs. USF has allowed just 39 first downs in three games, a total that ranks first in the NSIC and 11th in NCAA DII. 

To this point in the season, opponents have had just two red zone opportunities. The Cougars rank 18th nationally and fourth in the NSIC in opponent’s third down conversion (27.1 percent).  In addition, USF ranks 22nd nationally in turnover margin 1.33 per game and ninth in team pass efficiency defense at 80.30.

On offense, the Cougars are also making noise. In scoring, USF ranks third in the NSIC and 16th in NCAA DII with 43.0 ppg.  USF is averaging 463.7 yards per game, which is 38th nationally and seventh in the league. In rushing offense, the Cougars are 43rd with 200 yards per game. They rank eighth in the nation and first in the league with 81 first downs. Also, USF quarterbacks are 20th nationally and first in the NSIC in completion rate at 65.7 percent (71-of-108). Sophomore quarterback Luke Papilion has hit 62.5 percent (40-of-64-499-4 TDs) while sophomore Matt Young is at 71.4 percent (30-42-287-TD).

For the second straight game, senior running back Nephi Garcia recorded over 100 yards rushing. Garcia, who now has nine career 100-yard rush games, had 30 carries for 121 yards and two TDs in the 36-0 win over St. Cloud State. For the season, he has 77 carries for 344 yards and seven TDs. The seven TDs rank tied for fourth most in DII while the yardage is 26th.

The Cougars will travel to face Minnesota State-Moorhead (1-2) on Saturday at 2 p.m.

(All Via USF Athletic Department and Dan Genzler)

** YOU CAN EMAIL JEFF THURN AT JT@ESPN991.COM AND FOLLOW HIM ON TWITTER @JTESPN991