Beschorner leads Coyotes past Upper Iowa 63-17

Beschorner leads Coyotes past Upper Iowa 63-17
South Dakota quarterback Wesley Beschorner threw a school-record six TD passes to lead the 12th-ranked South Dakota Coyotes football team (8-1) to a 63-17 win over Upper Iowa (2-7) in nonconference football at the DakotaDome Saturday, Oct. 22, before 5,817 in attendance.

The Coyotes, which picked up an 11th straight nonconference win, set a school-record by winning its 12th straight home game at the DakotaDome.

The Coyotes led 21-0 after one quarter and built a 56-10 halftime lead. The 56 points in the first half is a season-best total by South Dakota, which broke the school record for points in a season with 462 (418, 2004).

The Coyotes, which set or tied 11 school records on Saturday, surpassed the 60-point mark for the third time this season. Beschorner, a senior from Lohrville, IA, tossed his six TDs on just 10 completions. A candidate for the Harlon Hill Trophy (Division II Player of the Year), Beschorner now has 33 passing TDs on the season, which leads NCAA Division II. He has 39 combined TDs this season.

Saturday, he completed 10-of-15 passes for 167 yards with six TDs and no interceptions. He also improved his nation-leading pass efficiency rating to 236.79.

For the 22nd time in his career, junior running back Stefan Logan of Miami, FL, cracked the 100-yard rushing mark with 148 yards on 14 carries and a TD. He now has rushed for over 100 yards in 14 of the last 15 games he has played at USD.

Logan, who has eight 100-yard rushing games this season, increased his NCC- leading rushing total to 1,366 yards.

South Dakota again had 500-yards-plus in total offense, generating 506 yards on 56 plays or an average of nine yards per play. The Coyotes had 23 first downs, 337 yards rushing and 169 yards passing. USD recorded its first defensive score of the year and forced four turnovers, including a season-high three interceptions. The USD defense limited Upper Iowa to 55 yards rushing on 28 carries as Upper Iowa had 323 yards in total offense.

USD's Derek Gearman, a junior wide receiver from Lennox, had his fourth 100-yard receiving game this season with five catches for 129 yards and three TDs.

Darnell Pitts of Sioux City, IA, who was recognized at halftime for his public service, recorded a career-best 96 rushing yards on 14 carries. Junior running back Travis Mlady of Bloomfield, NE, had four carries for 58 yards and a TD.

In addition, USD defensive end A.J. Schable of Ida Grove, IA, registered three quarterback sacks and set a school record. He now has 16 sacks on the season, which is the most in Division II.

"The win today was very important," said Beschorner. "We had a sense of urgency and we had a solid game on offense. It was good to start fast and stay consistent throughout the game."

USD offensive coordinator Glenn Caruso echoed Beschorner's comments. "Our players came out today with a lot of confidence. They took it upon themselves to make plays. When you do that, the game can take on a feeding frenzy," he said.

Schable led the defense with seven tackles, including six solo stops and four tackles for loss, which gives him 19.5 this season. Alex York of Guthrie Center, IA, had six tackles and an interception while Ricardo Sorrell of Las Vegas, NV, and Steve Schemerhorn of Sioux City, IA, also picked off passes.

It did not take the Coyotes long to open the scoring against Upper Iowa on Saturday. Mlady scored on a 31-yard run at the 12:35 mark to cap a six-play, 65-yard scoring drive. USD built the lead to 14-0 when Logan scored on a 14-yard run at the 7:12 mark as USD moved the ball 64 yards in six plays. Then at the 4:16 mark, Gearman hauled in a 34-yard TD pass from Beschorner as USD led, 21-0. The Coyote scoring drive covered one play and 34 yards in 11 seconds.

Upper Iowa answered the Coyotes' scores as Carlos Perez-Villa's made a 25-yard field goal at the 14:18 mark of the second quarter.

USD quickly responded with a score of its own as Gearman and Beschorner connected on a 33-yard pass with 11:29 to play in the second quarter. The USD scoring drive covered 62 yards in seven plays and used just 2:39 of the clock.

At the 7:20 mark, Beschorner threw a six-yard TD pass to Desmond Allison (Tampa, FL) to cap a six-play, 60-yard scoring drive that used 2:29 of the clock. With Leibfarth's kick, USD led 35-3. Less than two minutes later, USD took advantage of an interception to build the lead to 42-3 as Beschorner connected with tight end Nick Cunningham on a two-yard scoring pass play (5:49).

South Dakota's lead grew to 49-3 when Ricardo Sorrell (Las Vegas, NV) picked off a pass and returned it 21 yards for a TD at the 4:57 mark. The defensive score was USD's first of the season.

Upper Iowa responded with a seven-play, 49-yard scoring drive as Dwayne Croker, who had 12 receptions for 138 yards, caught a 29-yard TD pass from Jay Lehman with 2:22 left in the half.

The Coyotes were not done with its first-half scoring as the Coyotes moved the ball 47 yards in three plays to build the lead to 56-10 with Gearman catching his third TD of the day on a 44-yard TD toss from Beschorner.

The scoring slowed in the second half with each team putting up a TD. Upper Iowa's Nick Baker caught a 24-yard TD pass from Lehman at the 4:30 mark of the third quarter to cut the deficit to 56-17.

Then, Beschorner threw his school-record sixth TD pass of the game when he connected with senior wide receiver Tim Triplett of Iowa City, IA, on a six-yard TD at the 3:06 mark of the third quarter. The USD scoring drive covered 65 yards on just four plays.

Next for South Dakota is a crucial road contest at Minnesota-Duluth at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 29, at Griggs Field in Duluth, MN.

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