Coyote football ends with 24-3 victory; USD ties for third in conference The emotions of winning may never be better expressed than through the words and actions of Josh Stamer after he and his Coyote teammates won their eighth game in 11 tries with a 24-3 win over Minnesota State, Mankato in the DakotaDome Saturday afternoon before nearly 3,000 in attendance.
As Stamer walked off the DakotaDome field up to the post-game press conference, he said that this win worked perfectly in his plans for today and this season.
"It will be a while before I take this (uniform) off. This victory means a lot," said Stamer, who had seven tackles, including five solo stops, three tackles for a loss (for eight yards) and a pass breakup.
Despite the fact that the Coyotes will not move on to the 2000 NCAA Division II postseason playoffs, Stamer knows the Coyotes made huge progress in 2000. His efforts and those of 20 other seniors set the example for the other team members to strive forward and taste success.
After a 4-7 season a year ago, the Coyotes' remarkable turnaround to 8-3 clearly is a major accomplishment for this football team. This is the first time South Dakota has gone 8-3 since 1995.
On Saturday afternoon, the defense never let an explosive Minnesota State offense gain any momentum. The Coyotes limited the Mavericks to 18 yards rushing and 66 yards passing for 84 total yards. South Dakota had three interceptions, registered two sacks, 12 tackles for a loss (for 48 yards), and 10 pass breakups.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Mavericks grabbed a 3-0 lead on a 37-yard field goal by Paul Barenz following an interception by Dewey Reilly, who returned the ball to the Coyotes' 26-yard line.
After one first down on three T.J. Schraufnagel runs, the Coyotes defense stiffened and forced the visitors to a field goal at 13:29 of the second quarter. Neither team mounted a scoring drive during the remainder of the opening half.
USD mounted their initial scoring drive on the opening possession of the second half. A 15-yard pass from Ryan Justice to Dustin Sagedahl and a 14-yard run by Dusty Stamer moved the ball to the Mavericks' 38-yard line.
Two runs by Stamer moved the ball to the 33-yard line and set up a 50-yard field goal attempt by senior Adam Hicks, who knocked home his 17th field goal of the season to notch the score at 3-3 at 11:21 of the third quarter.
The Coyotes grabbed the lead for good when Justice hit Stamer with a short pass that the freshman running back turned into a 77-yard touchdown at 5:46 to play in the third quarter.
USD jumped to a 17-3 lead by driving the ball 89 yards in 11 plays to score at 8:19 on a five-yard scoring toss from Justice to fullback Mike Weister. It was the duo's second scoring connection in two weeks. Then after a three-and-out by Minnesota State, the Coyotes put the game on ice when Justice threw his third scoring toss of the game and the second to Stamer.
The 26-yard scoring toss culminated a nine-play, 59-yard scoring drive at 2:16 of the fourth quarter. Stamer, who had 127 yards rushing and 109 yards receiving, had 13 yards running in the drive. This was Stamer's third straight game rushing for over 100 yards (126, 242, 127). It is his first game with both 100 yards rushing and receiving.
Justice threw for a career-high 253 yards and a career-high three touchdown passes as he completed 16 of 31 passes with one interception.
Overall USD, who held a 16-6 advantage in first downs, had 168 yards rushing and 253 passing for 421 total yards of offense.
The Coyote kicking game was outstanding during this season and again on Saturday. In the Minnesota State game, Hicks broke two records and tied another as he had 6 points, including his third 50-yard or better field goal this season. His three extra points gave him 29 (out of 30) on the season which established a new PAT record.
Hicks' third quarter field goal gave him 17 on the season, which set a new field goal mark in a season. Complimenting Hicks was the play of junior punter Filip Filipovic, who had a solid day with six punts for 260 yards (43.3 avg.) and a long of 56 yards.
Others placed their names in the Coyote all-time records. Senior cornerback Russel Burwell picked off his eighth pass, which places him second all-time for interceptions in a season. Rory Triplett picked off his sixth pass that places him in the top 10 for interceptions in a season.
Verick Gray had another solid game for USD with nine tackles including three tackles for a loss (for eight yards) and his first pass interception of the season. Sophomore defensive tackle Bill Gassen was spectacular in the center of the defensive line with five tackles including three tackles for a loss (for 16 yards) and a sack.
Minnesota State (3-8, 3-5 in the NCC) received 39 yards rushing from Schraufnagel while quarterback Ryan Dutton was nine of 28 for 61 yards and two interceptions. Dutton had 10 punts for 512 yards and an incredible 51.2-yard average. He had a 74-yard punt.