USD Coyotes maul UM-Crookston 66-6

USD Coyotes maul UM-Crookston 66-6
The pieces aren't exactly as they were a year ago, but things are fitting nicely for the 12th-ranked South Dakota football team (2-0), which recorded its 15th consecutive home win with a 66-6 nonconference decision over Minnesota-Crookston (0-2) before 5,211 in attendance on Hall of Fame Saturday, Sept. 9 at the DakotaDome.

A year ago, the Coyotes averaged 583.3 yards in total offense per game. Through two games of the 2006 season, the Coyotes are putting up 554 yards in total offense per game and scoring at 62.5 points per game clip.

After an early slip-up on defense, the Coyotes, which won its 13th straight nonconference game, had 66 unanswered points to handily win the game against UM-Crookston. The Coyotes rolled up 531 yards in total offense on 61 plays for an 8.7 per yard average. USD had 398 yards rushing and another 133 yards passing.

Leading the charge offensively was All-American Stefan Logan, a senior from Miami, FL, who had 199 yards on 15 carries (13.3 yard average) and three rushing TDs. Logan had his 26th career 100-yard rushing game. Senior wide receiver Desmond Allison (Tampa, FL) had five receptions for 55 yards and a TD. Seven Coyotes rushed for at least 20 yards in the game, including third-string quarterback Dan Skelly (Champlin, MN), who had two rushes for 73 yards and a 65-yard TD run.

USD rolled up a 42-6 halftime lead and added another 24 points in the second half. The USD defense had two defensive scores to help lead the Coyotes to the win.

"Our offense played very well tonight," said third-year head football coach Ed Meierkort, whose overall record moved to 20-4 at USD. "We didn't start real well on defense but adjusted and had a solid effort," he said.

"Our quarterbacks made the right reads and had solid performances," said Meierkort. "We are doing many things right."

UM-Crookston opened the scoring when Bryan Dean caught a 21-yard TD pass from Chris Zellmer. USD blocked the kick and trailed, 6-0, just 12:58 into the game.

From that point, South Dakota took control of the game. The Coyotes scored 21 first-quarter points with its initial score coming on a two-yard run by Travis Mlady (senior, Bloomfield, NE) at the 11:09 mark. Mlady's score capped a five-play 61-yard drive which was sparked by Logan's 40-yard run.

At the 7:44 mark, Logan scored the first of his TDs on an eight-yard run which finished off a two-play 48-yard drive. Then, T.J. Simmons (sophomore, Houston, TX) picked off a pass and sprinted 75 yards for the first of two defensive scores for the Coyotes.

With Frank Leibfarth's (Yankton) extra point, USD led, 21-6, with 4:46 left in the opening quarter.

Logan scored again at the 14:41 mark on a 49-yard TD scamper at the 14:41 mark. Logan's TD capped a six-play, 80-yard drive which took just 2:35 off the clock.

At the 7:35 mark, Logan scored on a 31-yard scoring jaunt to give USD a 35-6 lead.

Just before halftime (1:09), Allison caught a two-yard TD pass from Noah Shepard (redshirt freshman, Thornton, CO) as USD took a 42-6 lead into the break.

With 9:53 to play in the third quarter, Leibfarth hit his second field goal of the season from 33 yards out as USD led, 45-6.

USD's defense again stepped up with its second defensive score of the game as redshirt freshman Ryan Routh (Sioux Falls) took an interception 52 yards for a score. It was Routh's first career interception and TD of his Coyote career.

Skelly scored on a 65-yard run with 18 seconds left in the third quarter to build the lead to 59-6. USD's final TD of the game was a three-yard run by Darnell Pitts (senior, Sioux City, IA) at the 8:29 mark of the fourth quarter. The nine-play, 63-yard drive took 4:52 off the clock and gave USD a final margin of 66-6 over UM-Crookston.

Defensively, the Coyotes had three interceptions and a fumble recovery along with three sacks and eight tackles for loss. USD was 5-of-5 in red zone scoring. Junior linebacker Josh Sprecher (Huron) and sophomore safety Tyler Spease (Rapid City) led USD with five tackles. Eric Wiemann (senior, Howells, NE), John Morales (junior, Martinez, CA) and Kommonyan Quaye (redshirt freshman, Brooklyn Park, MN) all recorded quarterback sacks.

Sophomore safety Joel Gentile (Council Bluffs, IA) also had an interception for the Coyotes. The Coyote defense held the Golden Eagles to 37 yards rushing on 25 rushing attempts.

USD quarterback Carter Black (junior, South Sioux City, NE) completed 6-of-10 passes for 69 yards while Shepard was 3-of-6 for 54 yards with one TD and an interception.

UM-Crookston was led on defense by Gerald Biggers and Mitch Dolfuss, who both recorded eight tackles. UM-Crookston quarterback Chris Zellmer completed 9-of-16 passes for 150 yards with two interceptions and a TD. Reggie Frazier led the visitors with 13 yards rushing on eight carries. Jordan Grafsgaard had four receptions for 31 yards.

South Dakota will open the NCC season with a home game against unbeaten Minnesota-Duluth (2-0) at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 16 at the DakotaDome.

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