USD second in NCC after Saturday win

USD second in NCC after Saturday win USD�s Stefan Logan (3), weaves his way through heavy traffic for a rushing gain Saturday in the DakotaDome. Logan accounted for 206 all-purpose yards in the Coyotes� win over St. Cloud State in the DakotaDome. Junior quarterback Wes Beschorner accounted for four TDs and threw for a career-best 221 yards to help lead the 18th-ranked South Dakota Coyotes football team to a 37-21 upset win over sixth-ranked St. Cloud State on Saturday at the DakotaDome before 7,537 in attendance on Family/Faculty and Staff Appreciation Day.

With the win, South Dakota has opened 7-1 for the first time since the 1987 team accomplished the feat. USD is 3-1 and sits in second place in the NCC with Nebraska-Omaha in first with its 6-2 and 3-0 NCC mark.

Beschorner sparkled in the biggest game of his career at USD. A junior from Lohrville, IA, Beschorner completed 14-of-20 passes for 221 yards with one interception and three TD passes and a nine-yard TD run. He had 47 yards rushing on nine carries.

USD senior wideout Chris Mikkelsen had a career-day with eight catches for 139 yards and two TDs. The catches and receiving yardage were career bests for the Gregory native. He is just two receptions away from tying all-time receptions leader Rod Tweet (140, 1982-85). Stefan Logan, a sophomore running back from Miami, FL, had his fourth straight 100-yard plus game, rushing for 174 yards on 30 carries. He also had two receptions for 32 yards and a 26-yard TD reception.

Logan had his second straight game of more than 170 yards rushing (177, MSU, 10-9-04), and his third straight game of 150 yards or more. He accounted for 206 all-purpose yards.

Overall, South Dakota totaled 475 yards in total offense on 73 plays, including 254 yards rushing and 221 yards passing. St. Cloud State had 284 yards in total offense, including 231 yards passing but just 53 yards rushing. Matt Birkel, who was averaging 138 yards per game, had 66 yards on 19 carries. Ed DeShazer caught six passes for 123 yards and had a 22-yard TD reception. St. Cloud State quarterback Daniel Kaczor completed 16-of-25 passes for 231 yards and a TD.

Perhaps the key to the game was USD's control of the ball. USD won the time of possession battle, 37:12 to 22:48 for St. Cloud State.

South Dakota jumped to a quick lead with a 12-yard pass from Beschorner to Mikkelsen, capping a six-play 73-yard drive. Cody Butler's PAT gave USD a 7-0 lead at the 8:46 mark of the first quarter. The Coyotes added to its lead when Beschorner scored on a nine-yard run at the 2:57 mark. Butler added the conversion as USD led, 14-0. USD covered 73 yards on eight plays and used 3:34 of the clock on the scoring drive.

The Coyotes built its lead again when Logan took a 26-yard swing pass from Beschorner to the end zone and with Butler's kick, USD had a 21-0 lead with 9:47 to play in the second quarter. The Coyotes' scoring drive covered 72 yards on six plays in 2:56.

St. Cloud State answered the Coyote offensive surge with a six-play, 80-yard scoring drive in 2:18 when Ed DeShazer hauled in a 22-yard TD reception from Kaczor.

Unlike a year ago when the Coyotes let a 21-7 lead slip away, this year's USD team refused to allow a repeat of that performance. With four seconds left in the first half, Mikkelsen hauled in his second TD of the game when he and Beschorner connected on a one-yard scoring pass play. With Butler's kick, USD took a 28-7 lead into halftime.

The Coyotes built its lead to 31-7 when Butler connected on a 40-yard field goal with 10:13 to play in the third quarter. The USD drive covered 59 yards on nine plays and used 4:47 of the clock.

Then, the Huskies answered quickly, putting up a pair of scores. First, Birkel scored on a two-yard TD run at 6:42. However, the Coyotes blocked the PAT, its third block of a conversion in 2004. The St. Cloud drive covered 79 yards in 10 plays and used 3:31 of the clock, as the Huskies closed to within 31-13. On the ensuing Coyote possession, the St. Cloud defense forced a turnover and the Huskies were in business at USD's eight-yard line. At 4:09 of the third quarter, Kaczor scored on a three-yard run and converted a two-point conversion pass to Ryan Koch as St. Cloud State closed the lead to 31-21.

The Huskies picked off a Beschorner pass with 2:02 left in the third quarter and had an opportunity to cut into the Coyotes' lead with their possession starting at their own 46-yard line. However the Huskies failed to move the ball and were forced to punt.

USD responded with an 11-play, 62-yard scoring drive, culminated by a 42-yard field goal at the 9:39 mark of the fourth quarter. On the ensuing kickoff, USD's Steve Schermerhorn (Yankton) recovered a misplayed kickoff return and the Coyotes were in business at the St. Cloud State 16-yard line. Four plays later, Butler added his third field goal of the game by converting a 26-yard field goal with eight minutes to play and giving USD a 37-21 lead.

Senior linebacker Mike Meekins (Superior, NE) led the Coyotes' defense with nine tackles. Defensive back Jordan Davis (San Antonio, TX) had five tackles, including a tackle for loss (-3 yards). Tim Schellhammer (Chatfield, MN) had five tackles, including two tackles for loss, forced a fumble and had 1 1/2 quarterback sacks which gives him 10 1/2 on the season, which ranks sixth in the nation.

Mitchell Denne led St. Cloud State with 11 tackles and he had an interception. Ross Olson had nine tackles and three tackles for loss.

Next for the 18th-ranked Coyotes is a game with Upper Iowa in Fayette, IA, at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 23.

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