Coyote football falls to St. Cloud State St. Cloud State (5-2, 3-1) answered an early offensive charge by South Dakota (4-3, 2-2) and took a 33-21 win in North Central Conference action at Selke Field in St. Cloud, MN, on Saturday, Oct. 18. The win moved the No. 20 Huskies into a second-place tie in the NCC race.
Things looked good for South Dakota early as it scored on its first three possessions for the first time all year. However, USD failed to add any more points and the Huskies were able to rally for the victory. The Coyotes lost their third straight to St. Cloud, the preseason favorites for the NCC title.
The Coyotes jumped to a quick 14-0 lead when Matt Taylor caught an eight-yard touchdown pass with 8:14 to play in the quarter. Then Taylor had a career best 68-yard touchdown reception at the 5:08 mark.
USD moved ahead 21-7 a short time later when freshman halfback Stefan Logan scored on a 62-yard run with just 1:01 left in the first quarter. But that is all the offense that South Dakota could manage on this day.
The Huskies took the lead for good when All-American quarterback Keith Heckendorf completed his second touchdown pass of the day to Tim Greene at 13:58 of the fourth quarter. The Huskies added another fourth quarter score on an eight-yard touchdown pass by Heckendorf to Ryan Koch with 4:22 to play and a 33-21 lead.
Overall, the Coyotes had 369 total yards, including 156 yards on the ground. Freshman halfback Stefan Logan had a career-high 141 yards on 29 carries, including a career-best 62-yard scoring run. USD sophomore quarterback Wesley Beschorner completed 10-of-16 passes for 213 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Taylor had three receptions for a career-best 103 yards, all in the first quarter.
Chris Mikkelsen had three receptions for 82 yards and moved into third place on the all-time receiving yards list (1,473).
While USD moved the ball throughout the first half, its second half efforts were limited. USD had just 86 total yards in the second half. Meanwhile St. Cloud rallied behind the arm of Keith Heckendorf, who threw for 259 yards, completing 23-of 30 passes, including four TD throws. He continually came up with big plays on third down.
On their first possession, the Coyotes moved the ball 79 yards in 11 plays in 5:06 to take the first quarter lead. The drive was culminated by an eight-yard touchdown pass from Beschorner to Taylor, his first TD reception of the season. USD had two key plays in the drive, first, when Taylor hauled in a 23-yard pass and next, when Logan had a 10-yard gain to the Huskies' eight-yard line, which set up the score. On the drive, Taylor had two catches for 31 yards. Logan had 30 yards rushing on six carries.
Then after holding St. Cloud State, the Coyotes struck quickly when Beschorner again connected with Taylor, this time a season's best 68-yard scoring play. After Cody Butler's PAT, USD took a 14-0 lead at the 5:08 mark of the first quarter.
The Huskies answered with an 80-yard, eight-play drive to cut the lead in half at 14-7 when St. Cloud's Heckendorf connected with Tim Greene on a 14-yard scoring play with 1:20 to play in the quarter.
It didn't take USD eight plays to score, just one. After Mikkelsen returned the kickoff to the 38-yard line, Logan went the distance on USD's first play from scrimmage for a 62-yard scoring play. With Butler's scoring play, USD led 21-7 with 1:01 left in the first quarter.
The pace of the game slowed down until the home standing Huskies scored at the 2:41 mark of the second quarter on a Heckendorf two-yard run.
On the ensuing possession, USD had an opportunity to build on their lead. Mikkelsen pulled in a season-best 54-yard pass from Beschorner as the Coyotes moved the ball deep in Husky territory. However on a third and one play from the SCSU 17-yard line, Beschorner had a pass picked off at the four-yard line.
At the halftime break, USD held a 21-14 lead.
In the first half, Logan led a Coyote rushing game with 110 yards on 12 carries. USD had 166 yards passing as Beschorner completed six of eight passes with two touchdowns.
Taylor had a career-high 103 yards receiving and two scores while Mikkelsen had two catches for 61 yards.�
In the opening 30 minutes, St. Cloud was led by Josh Williams, who had 70 yards rushing and finished the game with 149 yards on 31 carries. Heckendorf completed 11 of 17 passes for 100 yards and a TD in the opening half.
After USD was unable to sustain a drive on their opening possession of the second half, the Huskies got a short field and converted the opportunity. After a short USD punt put the ball at the USD 47-yard line, Heckendorf moved the Huskies for a score, a three-yard touchdown�pass to Ryan Koch at the 8:46 mark of the third quarter. However, Schaungel missed the extra point and USD retained a 21-20 lead.
Toward the end of the third quarter, St. Cloud converted a second and 26 and drove the ball deep inside USD territory. On a third and goal from the USD three-yard line, Heckendorf again connected with Greene on a scoring pass play.
SCSU failed on the two-point conversion and took a 26-21 lead at the 14:03 mark of the fourth quarter. Then Heckendorf directed a 78-yard, seven minute scoring drive to put the game on ice.
On defense, USD was led by Josh Gassen, a senior linebacker, who recorded 11 tackles, including his second sack of the season. The Coyotes also got nine tackles from Drew Barns, Steve Schermerhorn and Garrett Hartwig.
Junior defensive end Tim Schellhammer had eight tackles and a pair of quarterback sacks.
Next for the Coyotes is a date with rival SDSU on Hall of Fame day at the DakotaDome on Oct. 25. Gametime is set for 2 p.m. A Hall of Fame brunch and banquet will begin at 11 a.m. at the Commons Dining Hall.