The 15th-ranked Coyotes (8-3) were seeded fifth in the Northwest Region in an announcement of the Division II playoff field by the NCAA on Sunday.
The Coyotes will face fourth-seeded and 21st-ranked Northwood (8-2) at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 18 at Hantz Stadium in Midland, MI. For ticket information, call the USD Ticket Office at 605-677-5959.
"We are obviously pleased to be selected for the playoffs," said third-year South Dakota head football coach Ed Meierkort, whose squad is 26-7 in his three seasons at the school. "This team deserves this opportunity. Despite our loss to North Dakota yesterday (Nov. 11) it is a team that has overcome adversity all season. We were hoping for a shot (at the playoffs). We are very excited to go to Michigan."
Top-ranked Grand Valley State (11-0) is seeded first in the Northwest Region and will receive a first round
bye. Grand Valley State was the champion of the Greater Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) and is the defending NCAA Division II champion.
The winner of the North- wood/South Dakota game travels to Grand Valley State in the second round of the playoffs on Nov. 25. NCC co-champion Nebraska-Omaha (8-2), which lost to USD, 45-28, two weeks ago at the DakotaDome, was seeded second and will also receive a first round bye.
Eighth-ranked North Dakota (9-1), which was the NCC co-champion with UNO, was seeded third and will host sixth-seeded and 20th-ranked Winona State (9-2) of the Northern
Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC). The UND/Winona State winner heads to Omaha, NE, for a second round game with the 17th-ranked Mavericks.
USD and Northwood have never faced each other in the history of the two schools. Northwood finished second in the GLIAC Conference while the Coyotes were 6-2 and third in the North Central Conference.
Both South Dakota and Northwood are run-based squads that also play solid defense.
"It might be a quick game," said Meierkort. "They are an option-run team that is a little different than the teams we see in the NCC. They are like us – we both like to control the ball and the tempo.
"In our three years here, the playoffs have been on everybody's mind," said Meierkort. "We would have liked to win the NCC again but we were beat by a very good North Dakota squad. However, we are in the national playoffs with 23 other teams. Now anything goes and we hopefully can be successful. I know our team is excited and will play lights out."
The last South Dakota team to make the national football playoffs was the 1986 squad that advanced to the NCAA Division II title game. The 1986 Coyote team won a first round game against California-Davis, 26-23, at Davis, CA.
Then, the Coyotes defeated Troy State, 42-28, at the DakotaDome before falling to North Dakota State, 27-7, in the championship game at Florence, AL.