USD football program announces fall schedule

USD football program announces fall schedule
The University of South Dakota football team, which went 9-4 last fall and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division II playoffs for the first time in 20 years, has put together an aggressive 2007 schedule that includes three conference champions and five playoff teams, according to head coach Ed Meierkort.

The Coyotes will face 10 Division II squads, as well as Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) opponent McNeese State, which USD will play for the first time. McNeese State won the Southland Conference in 2006 and participated in the FCS national playoffs. Nine of USD's opponents posted winning records a year ago. South Dakota will face D-II playoff teams West Texas A&M, Winona State, Nebraska-Omaha and North Dakota.

South Dakota, which finished 2006 ranked 13th in the AFCA poll and ninth by, will open its 11-game 2007 schedule with a 7 p.m., Thursday night road game on Aug. 30 against Lone Star Conference champion and NCAA D-II playoff participant West Texas A&M at Canyon, TX. The Coyotes will host Winona State at 7 p.m. in its home opener on Saturday, Sept. 8 on Hall of Fame Day at the DakotaDome. Overall, the Coyotes have five home games, including four against North Central Conference opponents. The Coyotes will open its final NCC season with a road game at Minnesota Duluth at 6 p.m. on Sept. 15. A week later, the Coyotes host St. Cloud State at 2 p.m. at the DakotaDome in its NCC home opener in week four. On Sept. 29, USD will face McNeese State in a road game at Lake Charles, LA., at 7 p.m.

The Coyotes, who will return 17 starters, including 10 on offense and six on defense, will visit Central Washington on Saturday, Oct. 6 at 3 p.m. (CST) in Ellensburg, WA, before returning home for its annual Dakota Days game on Oct. 13 against Western Washington at 2 p.m. in the DakotaDome. A week later, the Coyote will face Augustana at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 20 at Howard Wood Field in Sioux Falls, South Dakota will host two of the final three regular season games, including an Oct. 27 match-up with Minnesota State at 2 p.m., at the DakotaDome. After a road game at 2006 NCC co-champion Nebraska-Omaha at 1 p.m. on Nov. 3 in Omaha, NE, the Coyotes will host 2006 NCC co-champions North Dakota at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 10 on Senior Day at the DakotaDome.

"We have worked hard to put together an aggressive 11-game schedule which is probably the most challenging in our time at USD," said Meierkort, whose Coyotes have a 27-8 record and 14-6 mark in NCC play in three seasons. "Counting last season and the beginning of the 2007 season, we will play six consecutive Division II playoff teams. In all, we have five D-II or FCS playoff teams on the 2007 schedule. This is arguably one of the toughest schedules in the nation," Meierkort said. "But, I believe our team will be up to the challenge and excited about playing these quality teams," he said.

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