USD football drops 20-13 decision Saturday

USD football drops 20-13 decision Saturday The South Dakota football team (4-1, 0-1) dropped a 20-13 decision to Nebraska-Omaha in its North Central Conference opener before 6,700 and a regional televised audience (South Dakota and Nebraska Public Television) at Al F. Caniglia Field in Omaha, NE, on Saturday, Sept. 25.

South Dakota grabbed a 13-12 fourth quarter lead but could not hold off UNO, which drove for the winning TD midway through the fourth quarter. Nebraska-Omaha (3-2, 1-0) defeated South Dakota for the ninth straight time and cut USD's overall series lead to 23-22-1.

Both teams moved the ball at times but neither could consistently sustain drives and either had to settle for field goals or punt the ball to try and gain a field position advantage. USD, which came into the game ranked fifth in the country in scoring and rushing offense, had 293 yards in total offense on 60 plays. USD had 158 yards rushing on 36 carries and generated 135 yards passing. Both teams had just one turnover.

Leading the way for the Coyotes was USD junior quarterback Wes Beschorner (Lohrville, IA), who completed 16-of-24 passes for 135 yards. Backup running back Travis Mlady (Bloomfield, NE) led USD with 59 yards on nine carries and a TD, and had a 23-yard run in the fourth quarter. Sophomore running back Stefan Logan (Miami, FL) had 56 yards on 12 carries and also caught three passes for 20 yards.

Derek Gearman (Lennox) led the USD receivers with five receptions for 30 yards and also had a 54-yard run. Senior tight end Paul Tschetter (Sioux Falls) caught four passes for 58 yards, including a 25-yard reception. Senior Chris Mikkelsen (Gregory) caught four passes for 27 yards.

Nebraska-Omaha was led by Jamar Day, who had a game-high 133 yards on 31 carries with two TDs. Quarterback Brian Masek had 48 yards rushing on 14 carries and completed 7-of-13 passes for 139 yards and one interception. UNO had 324 yards in total offense on 62 plays, including 185 yards rushing on 49 carries.

Early on South Dakota took a 3-0 lead with 10:52 to play in the first quarter, after a 27-yard field goal by Cody Butler (Hastings, NE). The score by Butler was set up by a 54-yard run by Gearman on a reverse that gave USD a first-and-goal opportunity. Nebraska-Omaha answered with its defense recording a safety at the 7:16 mark to cut USD's lead to 3-2. Later in the first quarter, UNO took the lead on a seven-yard run by Day. With Andy Severson's kick, UNO led, 9-3.

In the second quarter, both defenses buttoned up the offenses until USD was able to cut into the UNO lead late in the half. Butler's career-best 52-yard field goal at the first half horn cut the Maverick's lead to 9-6.

UNO built its lead to 12-6 at the 8:20 mark of the third quarter after Severson connected on a 25-yard field goal.

Early in the fourth quarter, the Coyotes put together its only touchdown drive, going 80 yards in nine plays and using 3:50 of the clock to grab the lead. Mlady, who had a 23-yard run on the drive, scored on a one-yard plunge with 10:54 to play in the game. With Butler's conversion, the Coyotes re-took the lead, 13-12.

UNO answered on its next possession with the final score of the game. Day, who had a pair of 20-plus yard runs, scored on a two-yard run with 6:46 to play. The Mavericks added the two-point conversion on a Masek run and took a 20-13 lead.

The Coyotes moved the ball to the Maverick 40-yard line but a quarterback sack and a penalty killed the Coyotes drive. USD had trouble with penalties, picking up nine flags for 53 yards. After the USD punt, UNO was able to convert a fourth down quarterback sneak and then run out the clock.

UNO's defense had a strong game, incluidng eight quarterback sacks. Nebraska transfer Randy Stella led the Mavericks with 11 tackles and four quarterback sacks. UNO linebacker Taiwo Onatolu also had 10 tackles and a quarterback sack.

USD also had a solid defensive effort, led by linebacker Ryan Hedden (Fairmont, NE), who had a career-best 12 tackles and a tackle for loss. Linebacker Alex York (Guthrie Center, IA) added nine tackles and Tim Dacy (Gregory) had eight tackles. Chris Reid (Hills, MN) had his third interception of the season.

Next for South Dakota is its Dakota Day game with the Augustana Vikings on Saturday, Oct. 2. The homecoming game between the Coyotes and Vikings will start at 2:05 p.m. The game will be televised on KELO-TV.

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