Coyotes maul MSU Moorhead 51-3

Coyotes maul MSU Moorhead 51-3 USD running back Travis Mlady (32) breaks free from a MSU Moorhead defender for open ground on the DakotaDome gridiron Saturday afternoon. He totaled 128 yards on 14 carries and two TDs. Mlady, who had his first career start on Saturday, now has three straight 100-yard-plus rushing games this season. The University of South Dakota football team moved to 3-0 with a 51-3 nonconference football win over Minnesota State Moorhead (0-3) before 4,486 at the DakotaDome on Saturday.

Overall, South Dakota now has a four-game winning streak, dating back to a 56-7 win to end the 2003 season. South Dakota's offense was in full throttle again with 487 yards in total offense on 66 plays.

The Coyotes rolled up 348 yards on 46 rushing attempts and had 139 yards passing. It was the third straight game that USD has totaled more than 300 yards rushing.

With its 51 points against the Dragons, USD now has 156 points this season which is a school-record for a three-game span to open the season. The previous mark was held by the 1996 Coyote team which had 142 points.

USD sophomore running back Travis Mlady of Bloomfield, NE, totaled 128 yards on 14 carries and two TDs. Mlady, who had his first career start on Saturday, now has three straight 100-yard-plus rushing games this season. Quarterback Wesley Beschorner (Lohrville, IA) had another solid game with 61 yards rushing on eight carries and a TD. He also completed 8-of-15 passes for 108 yards, a TD and an interception. Beschorner has now accounted for 10 TDs this season, including seven passing TDs and three rushing scores. Tyler Evans (Stewart, MN) added 49 yards rushing on seven carries while backup quarterback Sean McLaughlin (Omaha, NE) had 42 yards rushing on four attempts and completed 3-of-5 passes for 31 yards and a TD.

Chris Mikkelsen, a senior from Gregory, caught four passes for 66 yards with a TD.

South Dakota opened the scoring on Mlady's two-yard TD run at the 13:17 mark of the first quarter. With Cody Butler's PAT, USD led 7-0.

Shortly thereafter, MSU Moorhead put up its only points of the day on a 31-yard field goal by Clint Greet at the 9:08 mark of the first quarter.

The Coyotes answered swiftly. USD scored three more TDs in the first quarter. Sophomore wide receiver Derek Gearman (Lennox) scored on a 13-yard reverse at the 8:38 mark and with Butler's kick, USD took a 14-3 lead.

Mlady scored his second TD of the day and fifth of the season on a 35-yard run at the 4:34 mark of the first quarter. With Butler's PAT, USD led 21-3. A few minutes later, Mikkelsen hauled in a 33-yard TD pass from Beschorner at the 1:49 mark. With Butler's PAT, USD took a 28-3 lead.

Butler added a 23-yard field goal with 3:12 to play in the second quarter to cap a 13-play, 82-yard drive as USD led, 31-3. With 33 seconds to play in the first half, Beschorner scored on a six-yard run. With Butler's PAT, USD led 38-3 at halftime.

Butler, who did not have a field goal try in the first two games, added his second and third field goals of the game in the third quarter. Butler connected on a 37-yard field goal at the 13:03 mark and hit a 48-yard field goal at the 7:51 mark of the quarter as USD led, 44-3. The Coyotes closed out the scoring on McLaughlin's 10-yard TD pass to freshman Alex Perkowski (Hinsdale, IL) at the 14:48 mark of the fourth quarter. It was Perkowski's first career TD. With Butler's PAT, USD took a 51-3 lead.

The Coyote defense had another solid day, allowing MSUM just six first downs and 108 yards in total offense on 50 plays. The Dragons had 62 yards rushing on 37 attempts and just 46 yards passing. The Coyotes had five more quarterback sacks to give them 13 on the season. Tim Schellhammer (Chatfield, MN) had two sacks and four tackles, including two tackles for loss. Sophomore linebacker Ryan Hedden (Fairmont, NE) led USD with five tackles. Sophomore Chris Reid (Hills, MN) had two interceptions.

MSUM was led offensively by Dere Blackburn who had three receptions for 31 yards. Quarterback Sean Belmont completed 5-of-11 passes for 46 yards with two interceptions. Tim Zupke led the rushing attack with 26 yards on seven carries. Matt Asuma led the Dragons' defense with 11 tackles, while Matt Wandersee had eight tackles.

Next for South Dakota is a matchup on Sept. 18 with Wisconsin-LaCrosse at 2 p.m. in the DakotaDome. USD will honor former USD Athletic Director Carl Miller during the Wisconsin-LaCrosse game.

Games Notes

* South Dakota running back Travis Mlady now has 438 yards rushing on 41 attempts with five TDs. He is averaging 146 yards per game and 10.7 yards per rush. All-NCC running back Stefan Logan did not play against Minnesota State Moorhead.

* Sophomore wide receiver Derek Gearman has had six receptions and one rush and scored TDs on four of the possessions. He is averaging 34.5 yards per catch. Senior wideout Chris Mikkelsen leads the Coyotes in catches with 11 for 130 yards and a TD.

* Kicker Cody Butler is tied with Mlady for the team lead in scoring. He is perfect on the season, making 21 straight PATs and converting 3-of-3 field goals for 30 points.

* The Coyotes are averaging 327.7 yards rushing per game and have 1,545 yards in total offense or 515 per game. The Coyotes average 7.7 yards per rushing play and 9.4 yards on each pass play. In total offense, USD is averaging 8.2 yards per play. Defensively, the Coyotes are limiting opponents to 1.5 yards per rush and 47.7 yards per game rushing. Opponents are averaging 148 yards per game passes. In addition, opponents are averaging just 195.7 yards in total offense per game.

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