Coyotes win penalty-filled game 15-10; USD's defense shines over Augustana It was the defense that shined in the Coyotes' 15-10 win over Augustana College in North Central Conference football on Saturday night before a crowd of 5,722.
The Coyotes (3-2, 1-2) earned their first conference win of the season by hounding Augustana quarterback Eric DeGraff and limiting the Vikings' strong passing game to just 222 passing yards and 296 yards of total offense.
The defense continually forced DeGraff to scramble from the pocket and make quick decisions as half of his passes fell incomplete. He completed 19 of 38 passes on the night.
On Dave Triplett Day, the Coyotes showed the defense reminiscent of the Triplett years as they intercepted two passes and recovered a fumble and recorded a safety in the first quarter by redshirt freshman Shawn Kenworthy.
South Dakota limited Augustana to just 74 yards rushing and had two sacks, both by Kenworthy. Senior cornerback Kaseem Gaines had one interception, returning it 37 yards, and Rory Triplett had his third pick of the season on a night his dad was being honored.
Kenworthy stepped up big time with five tackles including three tackles for 15 yards in losses and the two sacks.
Augustana (3-2, 1-2) jumped off to a 3-0 lead when Casey Coulter knocked through a 41-yard field goal to cap a nine-play, 62-yard drive. After the Vikings got the ball back, Kenworthy bulled his way into the backfield and trapped DeGraff in the end zone for a safety, which drew the Coyotes within a point at 3-2.
On the Coyotes' next possession, Ryan Justice scored on a 23-yard run that gave the Coyotes the lead at 9-3. The offense was effective on the drive moving the ball 64 yards in seven plays.
The Vikings regained the lead early in the second quarter when the DeGraff and Matt Holmlund struck paydirt for the 11th time this season. Holmlund hauled in a beautifully thrown pass in the right corner of the end zone to move the Vikings back on top, 10-9.
At that point, it looked like the offenses would have a shootout. But, scoring became very difficult after the Viking score.
The Coyotes rallied to take the lead just before half when Adam Hicks connected on a 19-yard field goal. Justice led the team down the field with timely conversions on third down, moving the ball 62 yards in 10 plays to take a 12-10 lead.
The Coyotes, who had 15 penalties for 104 yards, had a second and one at the Vikings' 10-yard line but consecutive penalties moved the ball back to the 20. Two plays later South Dakota settled for the field goal.
After a scoreless third quarter, the Coyotes put up the final points of the game when Hicks hit a 37-yard field goal with 6:10 to play. However the Coyotes very nearly had a touchdown when a Justice pass to Charles Johnson, who had four receptions for 45 yards, was broken up at the last moment by Augustana defensive back Lucas Van Gilder.
While the Coyotes showed an effective running game with 178 yards and had 128 passing yards for 306 total yards, time and time again penalties hurt the Coyotes.
Freshman running back Dusty Stamer had a solid game for the Coyotes by rushing 19 times for 95 yards while Justice had eight rushes for 39 yards and Mike Weister added 29 yards on eight rushes. Stamer also had three catches for 26 yards. Justice was 12-24 for 128 yards and one interception.
Kenworthy had a brilliant game with the five tackles, three for losses, and two sacks. Linebacker Ryan Winters led the Coyotes in tackles with nine and had two passes defended while Triplett and defensive lineman Bill Gassen had six tackles.
Augustana's Holmlund had five catches for 37 yards and Ryan Nodland had four catches for 75 yards including a 41-yard reception. Viking running back Ed Schumann had 10 rushes for 48 yards to lead the Augustana rushing attack.
During halftime of the game, former head coach Dave Triplett, who recorded the second most wins by a head coach in Coyote history, was honored by USD. More than 80 players and members of the Triplett family were in attendance for the ceremony.