Coyotes fall to NDSU 42-10 in NCC football action

Coyotes fall to NDSU 42-10 in NCC football action For the second year in a row, #2 ranked North Dakota State University (4-0, 2-0 in the NCC) received a strong performance from all-American running back Lamar Gordon to earn a North Central Conference football win over South Dakota.

The Bison scored 21 third-quarter points and took a 42-10 win over the Coyotes (1-4, 0-3 in the NCC) at the FargoDome on Saturday, Sept. 29.

Gordon rushed 18 times for 200 yards and scored three touchdowns, as the Bison remained unbeaten.

Early on things looked good for the Coyotes. South Dakota took the opening kickoff and drove 69 yards in 12 plays to grab a 3-0 lead. Coyote quarterback Ryan Justice completed three passes on the drive, which ended at NDSU's one-yard line.

Three rushes by John Kayl were rebuffed by the NDSU front wall and the Coyotes settled for an 18-yard field goal by senior kicker Filip Filipovic, who converted his fourth straight field goal of the season.

On the ensuing possession, the Coyotes forced a fumble by NDSU but in the scramble for the football, it bounced to Gordon, who found an opening and went 61 yards as the Bison took a 7-3 lead.

As has been the case this season, the defense answered. Mark Blackburn recorded a quarterback sack on an NDSU possession deep in Coyote territory. Then, NDSU kicker Aaron Pedersen missed his second field goal of the half. However, the Coyotes could not move the ball.

While Gordon was chalking up rushing yards, NDSU's wide receiver/punt return specialist Richard Lewis had a big half. He had four returns for 79 yards and his 46-yard punt return in the second quarter set up a one-yard touchdown run by Gordon. The score gave the Bison a 14-3 lead.

The Coyotes' special teams got some payback when Lewis fumbled a punt at his own 14-yard line and Derrick Jelks recovered the loose ball. After a five-yard penalty against South Dakota, Justice found sophomore wide receiver Ronnie McDougle for an 18-yard pitch and catch to the Bison one-yard line.

After failing on two Kayl runs from the one-yard line, Justice threw a one-yard touchdown pass to Dustin Sagedahl on third down. The Coyotes had drawn within 14-10 at the 6:45 mark of the second period.

NDSU added the final score of the half as Lewis, who seemed to be the center of action in the first half, hit quarterback Craig Gorder on a 44-yard touchdown pass on a flea flicker play.

In the second half, a Bison kick returner muffed the opening kickoff and luckily for NDSU, the ball ended up out of bounds near midfield after several Coyotes had shots at recovering. After the break went the Bison's way, the game turned completely to NDSU and Gordon.

The Bison proceeded to score 21 points in the third quarter. First, it was Gordon who scored on a one-yard run as NDSU increased the lead to 28-10. On that opening drive of the second half, NDSU marched 57 yards in seven plays with Gordon running for 40 yards on five attempts.

At the 5:00 mark of the third quarter, DeShawn Perkins scored on an 11-yard run, capping a six-play, 82-yarddrive that took 2:12 of the clock. NDSU increased the lead to 35-10 with the score. The key play in the drive was a 38-yard run by Gordon.

Then, the Coyotes again had misfortune strike. After Justice left the game for South Dakota backup quarterback Chris Mikkelsen threw an interception that Bill Erenberg returned for a score to put the game out of reach. Erenberg's score moved the Bison's lead to 42-10.

Two possessions later, South Dakota moved the ball to the NDSU 21-yard line where Mikkelsen missed on three consecutive passes and Filipovic missed his first field goal of the season, a 38-yard attempt. During the drive, Mikkelsen, who had 52 yards rushing, had a 25-yard gallop.

After that, there was little movement offensively by either squad and South Dakota dropped its fourth straight game of the season.

South Dakota accumulated 285 yards in total offense on 81 offensive plays. The Coyotes had 140 yards rushing and 145 yards passing. Overall, the Coyotes held an edge over NDSU in time of possession (37:13 to 22:47) and first downs, 20-18. South Dakota converted eight of 19 third down conversions and was two of five on fourth down plays.

Mikkelsen, who had four receptions for 22 yards, also completed three of 12 passes for 40 yards and one interception. South Dakota junior running back Kayl had 50 yards on 24 rushes while redshirt freshman Michael Williams had 40 yards on 12 rushing attempts.

Junior quarterback Justice completed 13 of 24 passes for 105 yards, one interception and one touchdown. McDougle led the Coyotes with five receptions for 51 yards while all-NCC tight end Sagedahl had five catches for 43 yards with one touchdown. Filipovic had six punts for 241 yards (40.2 avg.) and a long of 49 yards.

NDSU had 251 yards rushing and 165 yards passing for 416 yards total offense in 54 offensive plays. Gorder completed eight of 16 passes for 99 yards.

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