USD football rolls to 38-14 win over Augie

USD football rolls to 38-14 win over Augie
The 13th-ranked South Dakota Football Team (7-1, 5-0 NCC) scored 31 unanswered points and continued its mastery in the DakotaDome with a 38-14 win over Augustana (5-3, 3-3 NCC) on Saturday, Oct. 21 before a Family Day crowd of 9,798. After Augustana led 14-7 in the second quarter, USD asserted control and moved to a 24-14 halftime lead. The Coyotes scored the final 17 points of the first half and added a pair of scores in the third quarter to build a safe 38-14 advantage.

The win helped USD improve to 5-0 and first place (tied with Nebraska-Omaha) in the North Central Conference.

With the win, USD won its 18th straight game in the DakotaDome as Coyote head coach Ed Meierkort improved to 17-0 at the Dome in his tenure at USD. The win was USD's third straight this season.

South Dakota rolled up 389 yards in total offense on 50 plays, including 268 yards rushing on 38 carries. USD also had 121 yards passing the ball. Senior All-American Stefan Logan (Miami, FL) had 138 yards rushing on 15 carries.

With his effort, Logan surpassed 1,000 yards for the fourth straight season, which ties an NCAA record held by many. However, he is the first NCC player ever to reach the milestone.

He had 201 all-purpose yards which moved him to 16th place on the NCAA Division II career all-purpose yards list with 6,771 yards. He has 5,322 yards career rushing yards which ranks 16th all-time in D-II.

"I am proud of the milestone," said Logan, who is a Harlon Hill Trophy candidate. "It is all because of the hard work of the offensive linemen, who have been outstanding during my time at USD. It is important to have confidence as we move forward," he said.

With the win, USD retained the Silver Bedpan Trophy which is presented by Sioux Valley Hospital to the winner of the game.

"We knew coming in if we played Augustana's game, we would struggle. Our focus was to play physical and run the ball. I believe we accomplished that today," said Meierkort.

USD quarterback Noah Shepard (redshirt freshman, Thornton, CO) completed 6-of-12 passes for 121 yards and three TDs. Shepard also rushed nine times for 78 yards and a TD in his second career start. Coyote wide receiver Rico Hatter (Long Beach, CA) caught three passes for 82 yards and two TDs.

Augustana opened the scoring as wide receiver Chris Pomerleau hauled in a nine-yard pass from Tommy Flyger to cap a six-play, 66-yard drive that took 2:41 off the clock and provide the Vikings with a 7-0 lead at the 6:17 mark of the first quarter. USD answered quickly when junior wide receiver Alex Perkowski (Hinsdale, IL) hauled in a 24-yard TD pass from Shepard, who was efficient in his passing on Saturday. He had six completions with three going for TDs. Shepard's first TD brought the Coyotes even with Augustana at the 4:36 mark.

USD moved the ball 50 yards in five plays, using just 1:43 of the clock. Shepard engineered two big plays on the drive. First, he had a career-best 41-yard run to set USD up at the Augustana nine-yard line. Then after a 15-yard loss by Logan and an incomplete pass, Shepard completed the pass to Perkowski on a third and goal play.

The Vikings regained the lead with a bit of trickery. On a fourth down play from its own 29-yard line, punter Joe Nordin completed a pass to Jason Donnelly for 30 yards. Five plays later, Jordan Nordquist scored on a one-yard run at the 14:11 mark of the second quarter as the Vikings took a 14-7 lead. The Augustana scoring drive covered 83 yards in 12 plays and took 5:13 off the clock.

From that point, USD took control of the game, scoring 31 unanswered points. USD, which was burned earlier on a special team's play by the Vikings, returned the favor when Nordin's punt was blocked the Coyotes and recovered by USD's Ryan Routh (Sioux Falls) at the Augustana 43-yard line. On the next play, Shepard connected with Hatter on a 43-yard scoring play to help USD into a 14-14 tie at the 6:42 mark of the second quarter.

After forcing an Augustana punt, the Coyotes took its first lead of the game as Shepard scored on an eight-yard run with 3:04 to play in the second quarter. Logan had a 20-yard run to set up the Coyotes in the red zone. USD built the lead to 24-14 when Frank Leibfarth (Yankton) connected on a 24-yard field goal at the halftime horn. Logan had a 17-yard run and Shepard added a 21-yard rush to move the ball deep into Augustana territory and set up the field goal.

USD controlled the game in the second half, scoring 14 points and holding Augustana scoreless. But that has been the trend this season as USD has outscored its opponents, 106 to 31, during the second half of its games. USD built its lead to 31-14 when senior running back Travis Mlady (Bloomfield, NE) scored on a six-yard run at the 12:20 mark of the third quarter.

USD's final score happened on the second TD connection between Shepard and Hatter. This time, Hatter hauled in a 34-yard pass from Shepard at the 10:22 mark of the third quarter as USD built a 38-14 lead.

Next for South Dakota is a trip to Minnesota State on Saturday, Oct. 28 with game time set for 1 p.m. at Blakeslee Stadium on the MSU campus.

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