USD defeats St. Cloud State 37-0 On a big day for the offense, it was the defense that again proved impressive in The University of South Dakota's second straight North Central Conference victory, a 37-0 win over the mistake-prone St. Cloud State Huskies on a cold and overcast Saturday afternoon at Selke Field in St. Cloud before 1,950.
Offensively the Coyotes had 242 yards rushing and added 226 yards through the air for 468 total yards in their best offensive outing of the season. But for the second straight week, the defense held the opposition's offense in check. South Dakota (4-2, 2-2) recorded their first shutout since their 21-0 win over Morningside last Oct. 30 at the DakotaDome. The Coyotes forced four turnovers, recorded two sacks and limited St. Cloud (0-5, 0-4) to 222 total yards, including just 72 yards on the ground.
Still it is offense that seems to sell tickets. And the Coyotes' offense was worth the price of admission. Perhaps best exemp-
lifying the outstanding play of the offense was that the NCC's leading punter, Filip Filipovic had just one punt (34 yards). South Dakota recorded 28 first downs (season-high) and had 51 rushing attempts. The Coyotes did not turn the ball over and had a 35:19 to 24:35 possession time advantage.
Heading into Saturday's game, Coyote head coach John Austin, who improved to 8-9 overall at South Dakota, wanted his team to do more when presented with opportunities. In past games, they had struggled at times in the red zone (inside the 20-yard line). On this Saturday, South Dakota, who won their second road game of the season, did just that. The Coyotes turned all four of St. Cloud's turnovers into points.
South Dakota came out ready to play as indicated by their opening drive. The Coyotes jumped on St. Cloud right away by moving the ball 65 yards on seven plays and tallying the first score of the game on an 18-yard scoring run by Dusty Stamer, who had 123 rushing yards on 25 carries. His 123 rushing yards set a new freshman record at South Dakota. With 503 yards after the game, Stamer, of Grand Island, NE, broke the 1978 record of Emmet Huston (480).
After Stamer's fourth touchdown of the year, the defense rose up to create a turnover when St. Cloud was moving the ball. After St. Cloud had driven the ball 56 yards, Coyote defensive back Mark Clackburn, a junior from Moreno Valley, CA, forced St. Cloud running back Bill Stallings to fumble and the Coyotes' Rory Tripplett, a senior from Iowa City, IA, recovered the loose ball at the Coyote 16-yard line.
South Dakota took advantage of the mistake, moving the ball 75 yards on 12 plays, keyed by a 25-yard run by Stamer, to go up 10-0 on a 26-yard field goal by Adam Kicks at the 3:59 mark of the first quarter. On the ensuing possession, Coyote sophomore defensive lineman Aaron Dietrich of Emmetsburg, IA, recovered a second Stallings fumble at the St. Cloud State 38-yard line. The Coyotes capitalized on that miscue when sophomore quarterback Ryan Justice of Ankeny, IA hit freshman wide receiver Ronnie McDougle of Pompano Beach with a 12-yard scoring strike. Another St. Cloud turnover led to a Coyote score in the second quarter. Triplett picked off his fourth pass this season, this one by a pass by Kent Heckendorf at the St. Cloud 35-yard line that set up a 37-yard field goal by Hicks at 2:41. The Coyotes limited St. Cloud to 40 yards rushing in the first half and just 87 passing yards.
Like the first half, the remaining two quarters was all South Dakota. After a shanked punt by St. Cloud early in the third quarter, the Coyotes scored again. After 12-yard and seven-yard runs by Stamer and two runs by Mike Weister for nine yards, Justice threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to junior tight end Dustin Sagedahl, of Spicer, MN, with 10:45 to play in the third quarter. The final Coyote points came on a 21-yard field goal by Hicks at 1:65 of the third quarter and on a 36-yard interception return by senior defensive back Greg Schmidt of Ireton, IA, with 18 seconds to play in the game.
Justice, who had two passing touchdowns, completed 17 of 29 passes for 167 yards and had no interceptions. He also rushed for 44 yards including a 21-yard jaunt. Sagedahl had five receptions for 50 yards and a touchdown while Jeremiah Charlson, a senior wide receiver from Brookings, had four catches for 39 yards and McDougle had three receptions for 39 yards and a score. On a tough day for kickers, Hicks, a senior from Sioux Falls, converted kicks of 26, 37 and 21 but missed from 31 and 30 yards.