USD drops 19-16 decision to Nebraska-Omaha For the third time in four weeks, The University of South Dakota Coyote football team dropped a close, nailbiting decision.
Nebraska-Omaha scored a late touchdown and turned back South Dakota, 19-16 in North Central Conference football action at Howard Wood Field in Sioux Falls on Saturday night, Sept. 22.
It was the Coyotes' third consecutive defeat. South Dakota has lost those three games by a combined 8 points.
Like the previous three games, the Coyotes struggled with turnovers, but a strong defensive effort kept the game close early. The Coyotes lost three fumbles and had an interception in the first half. After South Dakota failed on a fourth down and one play from their own 30-yard line, UNO took advantage, moving the ball 28 yards on eight plays with quarterback Seth Turman scoring on a three-yard run for a 7-0 lead early in the first quarter.
The Mavericks pushed the margin to 10-0 after Chad Geiger intercepted a pass and returned the ball to the USD 18-yard line. However, UNO was unable to move the ball and had to settle for a 35-yard field goal by Troy Severson.
UNO was in business again when they recovered a fumble by James Augustus at the USD 29-yard line. But the Coyote defense rose to the occasion, stuffing the Mavericks on a fourth down play. South Dakota sophomore linebacker Shawn Kenworthy forced a fumble on a fourth down play and the Coyotes rebuffed the Mavericks' scoring opportunity.
In the second quarter, the Coyotes used a 77-yard scoring drive to get back into the game. John Kayl, who in his first career start at tailback, rushed for 120 yards on the night. He was a key player in the drive. He had 24 yards rushing in six attempts on the drive, scoring from one-yard.
A key play in the drive was a 47-yard pass completion to freshman Chris Mikkelsen from quarterback Ryan Justice which gave USD a first down at the UNO nine-yard line. Three plays later, Kayl and the Coyotes were in the end zone. For the first time all season, kicker Filip Filipovic missed an extra point as UNO led 10-6.
Midway through the third quarter, the Coyotes had an opportunity to cut the margin but a bad snap on a field goal attempt led to a pass by Chris Mikkelsen that fell incomplete in the end zone. Then, Derrick Jelks intercepted UNO's Turman and returned the ball to the UNO 11-yard line. The Mavericks' defense kept the Coyotes out of the end zone and Filipovic's field goal attempt from 25 yards was good as USD cut the Mavericks' lead to 10-9.
On the Coyotes' ensuing possession, South Dakota took the lead for the first time all night when Justice and sophomore wide receiver Ronnie McDougle hooked up on a 10-yard scoring play. The Coyotes moved the ball 42 yards on seven plays as South Dakota led 16-10.
Again the Coyote defense stopped the Mavericks but a 51-yard punt by UNO's Kevin Ruch put the Coyotes at their own one-yard line and in a precarious situation. When South Dakota couldn't move the ball, UNO blocked Filipovic's punt, recording a safety as the ball went out of the end zone. After Filipovic's free kick, UNO regained possession at their own 48-yard line.
The Mavericks moved the ball down the field and Turman completed a 16-yard pass to the South Dakota one-yard line, which set up the go-ahead score. On the next play. Turman scored from one-yard out and Severson's kick gave the Mavericks a 19-16 lead.
South Dakota was unable to move the ball on the ensuing possession as UNO took over with 2:50 to play and proceeded to run out the clock.
South Dakota had 265 yards total offense, including 114 yards rushing and 151 yards passing. Justice was 9-27 for 138 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Mikkelsen caught three passes for 85 yards and also had a 13-yard pass completion.
James Johnson led UNO with 89 yards on 30 carries as UNO had 143 yards rushing on 51 rushing attempts. Turman completed five of 14 passes for 49 yards and one interception. UNO had just 192 yards total offense.
Defensively, Josh Gassen, who had 12 tackles including a tackle for loss, led the Coyotes. Korey Ebel had 11 tackles and a tackle for loss while Shawn Kenworthy had six tackles, three tackles for loss and a forced fumble. The Coyotes had seven tackles for loss, and one interception. Abrian Stovall led UNO with eight tackles.