Coyotes take 48-21 decision over UMD; players set seven more school records Wes Beschorner (17) had a career-best 268 yards passing in Saturday's game against Minnesota-Duluth in the DakotaDome. The Coyote quarterback capped an eight-play, 61-yard drive by scoring South Dakota's first touchdown of the game. The 10th-ranked South Dakota Coyotes (9-1, 4-1 NCC) continued their march to one of the finest seasons in school history with a 48-21 conquest of Minnesota-Duluth (4-6, 1-4 NCC) in North Central Conference football on Senior Day on Saturday at the DakotaDome.
Led by Stefan Logan's (Miami, FL) career best 219 yards on 20 carries, South Dakota became just the sixth team in school history to record nine wins in a season. USD is just the fourth team (1902, 1968, 1972) to open the season with a 9-1 record. With the win, USD moved into second place in the NCC with a 4-1 mark. Nebraska-Omaha (8-2) is in first with a 5-0 mark.
During a pre-game ceremony, USD honored its 13 seniors and their parents.
The Coyotes set seven school records and now has established 11 school records (season or game) on the season. USD set school records for first downs in a season (228); total offense yards in a season (4,540); points in a season (397); points by a kicker (Cody Butler) in a season (87); TD passes in a season (18); TDs in a season (51); and consecutive 1,000-yard seasons by a rusher (Stefan Logan, two).
South Dakota racked up 496 yards in total offense on 72 plays, utilizing a balanced attack. The Coyotes had 39 rushes for 228 yards and had 268 yards passing. Quarterback Wes Beschorner had a career-best 268 yards passing, completing 19-of-32 passes and throwing for three TDs. It was the third straight game that Beschorner bettered his career-best in a game. For the fourth time this season, Beschorner accounted for four TDs in a game and now has a total of 26 TDs (17 passing, nine rushing) this season.
Chris Mikkelsen, a senior wide receiver from Gregory, caught four passes for 91 yards and a TD. Brooks Little (Castlewood) had four catches for 51 yards and Derek Gearman had three catches for 50 yards. Logan, who had two runs over 50 yards (56, 53), also caught four passes for 35 yards.
Minnesota-Duluth had 287 yards in total offense on 62 plays, including 39 rushes for 194 yards and 93 passing yards. J. Russell led UMD with 132 yards rushing on 23 carries. Greg Aker had five receptions for 51 yards and two TDs. Kyle Opahle completed 9-of-18 passes for 86 yards with two TDs and one interception.
South Dakota jumped to a 24-0 first half lead. First, Beschorner capped an eight-play, 61-yard drive with a seven-yard TD scamper. With Cody Butler's kick (Hastings, NE), USD led 7-0 with 7:58 to play in the first quarter.
Later in the quarter (1:36), Travis Mlady (Bloomfield, NE) scored on a three-yard run and Butler's kick gave the Coyotes a 14-0 lead. At the 9:27 mark of the second quarter, Butler connectd on a 26-yard field goal to provide the Coyotes with a 17-0 lead. Mlady scored again at the 4:09 mark of the second quarter, this time on a one-yard run. With Butler's PAT, USD had a 24-0 advantage. For Mlady, who had 15 yards on six carries, it was his ninth and 10th rushing TDs this season.
The Bulldogs answered with its initial score of the game, just before halftime as Opahle and Aker connected on a 24-yard TD pass. With a Brett Baumann kick, UMD cut the lead to 24-14. UMD drew even closer early in the third quarter when Opahle and Aker connected on an 11-yard TD pass. With Baumann's kick, USD's lead was shaved to 24-14 with 10:40 to play in the third quarter.
South Dakota answered and quickly as Mikkelsen hauled in a 17-yard scoring toss from Beschorner with 7:40 to play in the third quarter. With Butler's PAT, USD grabbed a 31-14 lead. On the drive, USD moved the ball 65 yards on just three plays, using three minutes of the clock.
On the ensuing kickoff, USD's Butler had a successful onside kick, recovered by USD at UMD's 47-yard line. The Coyotes added to their lead five plays later when senior fullback Rob Cupich (Omaha, NE) caught a 14-yard TD pass from Beschorner with 5:25 to play in the third quarter. With Butler's PAT, USD led 38-14.
At the end of the third quarter, Butler connected on a 26-yard field goal to give USD a 41-14 lead. USD's 10-play, 62-yard scoring drive took 3:48 off the clock.
The Coyotes put their final points on the board when Nick Cunningham (Albert Lea, MN) caught an 11-yard TD pass from Beschorner with 11:10 to play. Butler's PAT provided USD with a 48-14 advantage. USD's scoring drive covered 57 yards in eight plays and used 2:37 of the clock.
With 4:52 to play, UMD scored on a blocked punt. Sam Brown picked up the blocked kick and scored on a five-yard return. Baumann's PAT made the final score, 48-21.
Rex McDonald (Iowa City, IA) led USD with eight tackles and Tim Schellhammer (Chatfield, MN) had six tackles. Sophomore cornerback Chris Reid (Hills, MN) had his fifth interception of the season.
Tim Garceau led USD with nine tackles while Russ Rabe, Sam Brown and Trent Scheidecker each had seven tackles. UMD recorded four quarterback sacks.
Next for South Dakota is an NCC road game against North Dakota at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks, ND. The game between USD and UND is scheduled to start at 1 p.m.