Shepard receives NCC football honor

Shepard receives NCC football honor
Noah Shepard, a redshirt freshman quarterback for the 13th-ranked South Dakota football team (7-1, 5-0 NCC), has been named the North Central Conference Co-Offensive Football Player of the Week, according to an announcement made Oct. 23 by the league office. Shepard was honored with Nebraska-Omaha's Zach Miller.

In his second career start, Shepard of Thornton, CO, accounted for four TDs in leading South Dakota to a 38-14 win over Augustana in NCC football on Saturday (Oct. 21) before 9,798 at the DakotaDome. Shepard completed 6-of-12 passes for 121 yards and three TDs.

He also had 78 yards rushing on eight carries and an eight-yard scoring run. He threw TD passes of 43 and 34 yards to Rico Hatter and also completed a 24-yard TD pass to Alex Perkowski.

Shepard set up USD's first score with a career-best 41-yard run. Then on a third down play, he found Perkowski in the end zone to help forge a 7-7 tie with the Vikings.

Midway through the second quarter, Shepard connected with Hatter on a 43-yard TD pass to again draw USD even with Augustana at 14-14. He scored on an eight-yard run that gave USD its first lead of the game at 21-14 with 2:14 to play in the half. Then, he had a 21-yard run that helped set up a USD field goal by Frank Leibfarth as time ran out in the half and give USD a 24-14 lead.

In the second half, his 34-yard TD pass to Hatter provided USD with a 38-14 advantage with 10:22 to play in the third quarter.

Shepard, who leads the NCC in passing efficiency at 175.78, was very efficient against Augustana. He completed six passes with three going for TDs.

He is now 2-0 as a starter and while in that role has helped USD average 40 points per game in two NCC wins. USD scored 42 points a week ago against Western Washington on the road and countered with 38 points this week.

Overall, he has completed 48-of-83 passes (57.8 pct.) for 844 yards with 10 TDs and three interceptions. In addition, Shepard has rushed 40 times for 248 yards, or 6.2 yards per carry, and two TDs.

With this week's honor, Shepard became USD's fifth NCC weekly honoree this season. On Oct. 9, senior defensive end John Barker (Sioux City, IA) and junior wide receiver Brooks Little (Castlewood) earned their first-ever NCC Player of the Week honors.

Barker was USD's third defensive player (Jordan Davis, Sept. 5; Blake Hojer, Sept. 18) to earn the NCC honor in 2006. Shepard and Little are the two Coyotes on offense to pick up NCC honors this fall.

Shepard and his nationally-ranked Coyote teammates will travel to face Minnesota State at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 28 at Blakeslee Stadium in Mankato, MN.

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