Coyotes win in dramatic fashion

Coyotes win in dramatic fashion
The game-winning field goal by Leibfarth, a redshirt freshman from Yankton, was his first attempt and conversion of the season. Liebfarth, an honors student at USD who spent the past summer on a fellowship at Columbia University in New York City, was a happy Coyote after the game.

"I feel great," Leibfarth said in a post-game interview with Jeff Culhane of the Coyote Sports Network. "I am still shaking but I am happy that I could help the team. It was a tough game but we fought through it and we were able to pull it out in the end," he said.

"I am just trying to get out of town," said USD head coach Ed Meierkort told Culhane. "The team bailed us out by fighting to win this game right to the end. We were a little tired in the fourth quarter but we found a way to win. The quick start we had was important but we were hurt by penalties. However, we are 4-0 and ready to come back home and get started again."

USD opened up a 20-0 first quarter lead and led, 41-13, late in the third quarter before Colorado School of Mines made a furious fourth quarter comeback to tie the game at 41-41. The Orediggers scored 28 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to send the game into overtime. With 3.5 seconds to go, the Orediggers' Justin Gallas caught a "Hail Mary" pass and the PAT by Aaron Abel tied the game.

With the win, South Dakota won its 10th straight nonconference game and now has a match up with nationally-ranked Nebraska-Omaha on Hall of Fame weekend next Saturday at 2 p.m. in the DakotaDome.

South Dakota quarterback Wes Beschorner of Lohrville, IA led the Coyote offense with another outstanding game. He accounted for five TDs, including four by pass. Beschorner, who now has thrown for four TDs in four straight games, completed 20-of-28 passes for 302 yards and one interception.

He had TD passes for 6, 4, 80, and 12 yards. Beschorner also rushed for 74 yards on 14 carries and had a seven-yard TD run. He set a career-best with 374 yards in total offense.

Junior running back Stefan Logan of Miami, FL had his 10th straight 100-yard rushing game. He finished with 124 yards on 22 carries and had a four-yard TD run in the first quarter.

The USD receiving corps were led by the tandem of Derek Gearman of Lennox, and Brooks Little of Castlewood. Gearman had five catches for a career-best 151 yards and a TD. Little caught seven passes for 74 yards and a TD.

Overall, USD had 574 yards on 78 plays of total offense. USD had 272 yards on the ground and 302 yards through the air. Meanwhile, Colorado Mines had 436 yards in total offense on 78 plays, including 367 yards passing. Danny Medina, who took over for starting quarterback Garrett Mehl in the second half, completed 17-of-22 passes for 242 yards and two TDs. Gallas had 10 receptions for 116 yards and a TD. Florendo, who had 30 yards rushing and three rushing TDs, caught five passes for 115 yards and a TD.

After USD recovered a fumble on the opening kickoff, the Coyotes quickly jumped on top as junior running back Stefan Logan scored on a four-yard run with 14:06 to play in the first quarter. USD's defense immediately stepped up to help USD build on its lead. USD linebacker Alex York of Guthrie Center, IA, intercepted a pass to give USD possession inside the Orediggers' 30-yard line. Seven plays later, Beschorner connected with sophomore tight end David Cronin of Holstein, IA, on a six-yard TD pass with 10:35 to play in the first quarter. With Leibfarth's kick, USD took a 14-0 lead.

At the 5:26 mark of the first quarter, Beschorner threw another TD pass, a seven-yard scoring play to senior tight end Nick Cunningham of Albert Lea, MN. The extra point kick failed and USD led, 20-0.

The Orediggers cut the lead to 20-3 on a 30-yard field goal by Aaron Abel with 59 seconds to go in the first quarter.

After the Oredigger's score, the Coyotes answered quickly. Beschorner connected with Gearman on an 80-yard TD pass play on the first play of the drive. The two-point conversion pass by Beschorner failed as USD built a 26-3 lead with 47 seconds left in the first quarter.

Colorado Mines answered with a 35-yard field goal by Abel to cut USD's lead to 26-6 at the 12:28 mark of the second quarter.

South Dakota added another score on a six-yard Beschorner TD run with 5:23 to play in the second quarter. Beschorner hit Cronin on a two-point conversion as USD led, 34-6. USD moved the ball 51 yards in eight plays and used 3:03 of the clock on the scoring drive.

Late in the second quarter (1:12), Colorado Mines scored on a one-yard TD run by Bryan Florendo to draw the Orediggers within, 34-13.

Neither team mounted very much offense in the third quarter until the Coyotes scored with 4:08 to play. Beschorner threw his fourth TD pass of the day, hitting Little for a 12-yard score and giving USD a 41-13 lead.

From that point, Colorado Mines responded with a furious rally. First, Florendo scored on a 69-yard pass play from Medina to cut the lead to 41-20 at the 13:34 mark of the fourth quarter.

After the Coyotes fumbled the kickoff, the Orediggers again cut into the Coyotes' lead. Florendo scored his third TD of the game with 10:34 to play as USD's lead was dwindled to 41-27.

After USD failed to move the ball, Florendo scored on a one-yard run as the Orediggers drew within, 41-34, with 3:21 to play in the game. The Orediggers moved the ball 80 yards in 11 plays and used 4:25 of the clock.

After the Orediggers' kickoff, USD managed to pick up a first down on offense but was forced to punt with 30 seconds to play in the game. Colorado Mines responded with a three-play, 64-yard scoring drive as Gallas caught a 27-yard pass from Medina at the end of regulation. With Abel's kick, the Orediggers and Coyotes were tied, 41-41.

USD won the coin toss in overtime and elected to play defense. After gaining one first down, the Orediggers came up short on a third-down play inside the Coyote 10-yard line and opted to try a field goal. Abel's kick was offline which gave USD possession. USD's offense moved the ball to the 16-yard line and elected to kick a field goal on fourth down. At that point, Leibfarth shook off a time out by Colorado Mines and connected on his game-winning field goal.

USD's defensive leaders were Jordan Davis of San Antonio, Texas, and Ricardo Sorrell of Las Vegas, NV, who each recorded seven tackles. John Barker of Sioux City, IA, had six tackles and a quarterback sack. York and Tim Dacy of Gregory had interceptions while Alan Flyger of Hurley had a fumble recovery.

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