Coyotes claw their way to 34-28 win The University of South Dakota Coyotes celebrate after scoring a touchdown in their season-opening game at the DakotaDome Saturday. South Dakota sophomore Wesley Beschorner termed his first-ever college start and win "fun" and "lots of fun."
Beschorner helped lead South Dakota (1-0) to a come-from-behind 34-28 win over Concordia-St. Paul (0-1) in nonconference football action Sept. 6 at the DakotaDome.
Beschorner, Lohrville, IA, played wide receiver and punt returner a year ago but won the starting quarterback job this fall.
After a rough start, Beschorner helped the offense get on track, accumulating 328 yards in total offense. Beschorner had 30 yards rushing on nine rushes and completed 12-of-18 passes for 203 yards and two touchdowns.
"You always have jitters the first game but I think that helps you. I just want to do whatever helps the team," said Beschorner.
Freshman running back Stefan Logan, Miami, FL, scored on a 15-yard run (14:53, 4th quarter) and Cody Butler's 44-yard field goal with 10:34 to play gave USD a 34-28 lead. Then the Coyotes held off an explosive Golden Bear attack to break a three-game losing streak dating back to the 2002 season. USD won its 10th season opener in the last 12 games.
Concordia St. Paul, which accumulated 452 yards in total offense, grabbed a 7-0 lead when Chris Washington exploded through the line for a 51-yard touchdown run on a fourth down play with 11:40 remaining in the opening quarter. After a 22-yard Cody Butler field goal (14:05, second quarter), the Coyotes went up 10-7 when senior captain and defensive tackle Aaron Dietrich, Emmetsburg, IA, picked off a James McNear pass and rumbled 25 yards for a defensive touchdown at the 13:36 mark of the second quarter.
McNear, who completed 22-of-31 passes for 312 yards and two touchdowns, helped CSP grab back the lead, 14-10, on an eight-yard touchdown scamper with 5:50 to play in the first quarter. USD answered on Chris Meehan's five-yard touchdown reception with :53 seconds left in the first half. The Coyotes covered 70 yards on five plays in 1:35. But, CSP showed its offensive explosiveness by moving 62 yards on three plays and grabbing a 21-17 lead on a McNear to Wesley Hill touchdown pass with just nine seconds left in the half.
In this back and forth affair, USD responded with a six-play 42-yard drive and regained the lead, 24-21, on a 12-yard touchdown pass from Beschorner to junior captain Chris Mickelsen, Gregory, at the 6:24 mark of the third quarter. USD covered 42 yards on six plays to grab the lead.
CSP again responded by scoring on a seven-yard touchdown pass from McNear to Joseph Mapson and led 28-24 with 2:21 to play in the third quarter. The Golden Bears moved 79 yards on 10 plays in 3:57.
Then, USD scored the final 10 points of the game on Logan's TD and Butler's field goal.
"It was a great win," said Coach John Austin, who improved his overall record to 18-26 at South Dakota. "We didn't do as well defensively as we would like. Our plan was to limit their passing but McNear showed his ability to run. We have to avoid giving up that much offense."
Key to the Coyote win was the work of punter Jarrod Edelen, Vermillion, who averaged 44.7 yards on three punts with a long of 48 yards.
But it was Edelen's kick late in the game that was important in the Coyote win. After USD recovered a McNear fumble and was unable to move the ball, Edelen nailed a 48-yard punt and pinned the visitors inside their own three yard line late in the fourth quarter. The Golden Bears were unable to move the ball and punted with 3:10 to play. Then USD picked up a first down to clinch the win.
USD rushed 31 times for 125 yards, led by Logan, who had 47 yards on eight carries. Senior running back Anthony Tharrington, Lubbock, TX, had 37 yards rushing. Logan led the receiving attack with three catches for 79 yards. Meehan, Hartford, had four receptions for 43 yards and a touchdown. Mickelsen had 38 yards on three receptions and a touchdown. USD had 328 yards in total offense.
Senior linebacker Josh Gassen, Rapid City, led the Coyotes on defense with nine tackles. Junior Tim Schellhammer, Chatfield, MN, had seven tackles, two tackles for loss and a forced fumble. Sophomore linebacker Steve Schermerhorn, Yankton, had five stops and two tackles for loss. Defensively, the Coyotes had seven tackles for loss, a quarterback sack, fumble recovery and two interceptions.
For the Golden Bears, Washington had 107 yards rushing on 18 rushes and a touchdown. Joseph Mapson caught six passes for 57 yards and a TD. CSP had 452 yards in total offense but were hurt by 83 yards on 13 penalties. Defensively, Allen Turay had 11 tackles and a quarterback sack while Brian Doyle had 10 tackles, three tackles for loss and a quarterback sack.
Next for the Coyotes is a matchup with nationally ranked Minnesota-Duluth (1-0) on Saturday, Sept. 13 at the DakotaDome. Gametime is 1 p.m