South Dakota Preview: Coyotes Host Western Illinois
One year after qualifying for the FCS Playoffs, the University of South Dakota football team is dealing with the harsh reality of finishing this season with a losing record as they get ready to play in front of their home fans one final time in 2018.
The Leathernecks (5-4/4-2 MVC) have won three straight and still have an outside shot at the postseason if they can run the table the final two weeks.
This is a team that struggled to run the football early in the year, averaging 80 yards on the ground during a 2-4 stretch to start the season. But during their win streak, WIU has doubled that output, running for 163 yards per game behind senior Steve McShane and redshirt junior Max Norris.
Senior quarterback Sean McGuire is throwing for 271 yards a game with 21 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Last season, McGuire threw for 441 yards against the Coyote defense.
Western Illinois' defense is the third best unit overall in the Missouri Valley, tops against the pass. Pressure up front has been the key with the second-most sacks in the league (26) coming in.
Senior Khalen Saunders anchors the defensive line, while linebackers Quintin Moon, Pete Swenson, and Zach Gilson are among the best in the conference.
Kickoff is 1:00 PM, Saturday in Vermillion.
Last weekend (November 3), the Coyotes losing streak reach four games with a 51-48 triple-overtime loss at Indiana State.
South Dakota racked up more than 600 yards of total offense but turned the ball over in the red zone and later had to settle for a field goal after having the ball first-and-goal from the Indiana State one-yard line.
Sycamore quarterback Ryan Boyle hurt the Coyotes repeatedly with his legs and passing arm - running for 187 yards and two scores while throwing for 193 yards and five touchdowns - including three in overtime.
I talked with USD head coach Bob Nielson about the Indiana State loss and the Western Illinois match-up: