At the halfway point of the 2014 Missouri Valley Conference football schedule, the University of South Dakota has done something that very few saw coming  - go winless through the first four games.

It's not exactly as if the Coyotes are rolling over against inferior teams; quite the opposite - three of USD's four MVC losses (Southern Illinois, Northern Iowa, and North Dakota State) have come against teams currently ranked in the FCS Top 25.

It doesn't get any easier this week, when the Coyotes travel to Ohio to take on #13 Youngstown State.

Last weekend in Vermillion, USD ran into the best team in FCC three years running now, as North Dakota State beat the Coyotes 47-7 to rack up their 32nd consecutive win.

It was a game that saw South Dakota keep the Bison out of the end zone for the first 18 minutes of the game, but then the combination of NDSU big plays and Coyote turnovers turned the tide quickly.

I asked Coyote head coach Joe Glenn about how the game with the Bison unfolded:

Throughout this four game skid a lack of big plays from the Coyotes on both sides of the ball has been a problem. On offense, a 20-yard pass play was the longest from scrimmage all day against NDSU, while the USD defense came up empty in the takeaway department.

Coach Glenn says some of the credit needs to go to the opposing teams:

BROOKINGS, SD - OCTOBER 25: Zach Lujan #16 from South Dakota State University llooks for a receiver as Duben Nwadiogbu #22 from Youngstown State applies pressure in the first quarter of their game Saturday afternoon at Coughlin Alumni Stadium in Brookings. (Photo by Dave Eggen/Inertia)

Youngstown State are the latest ranked opponent for the Coyotes.  The Penguins used a number of big plays to win in Brookings last weekend, handing South Dakota State a rare home loss.

Unlike USD, YSU has been making big plays on both sides of the ball, amassing seven-and-a-half yards per play against SDSU, while sacking Jackrabbit quarterback Zach Lujan six times.

Coach Glenn says he's impressed by this Youngstown State team:

The winless first half of the conference schedule has taken its' toll on the psyche of this team, and left the coaching staff searching for the right approach heading into the final four games of the season:

Kickoff is 1:00pm CDT Saturday in Vermillion.  The Coyotes are back home next week when they host Western Illinois.