USD defense defeats offense in Red/White Spring Game

USD defense defeats offense in Red/White Spring Game
The South Dakota defense recorded two sacks and forced three turnovers to record a 26-25 win over the Coyote offense in the Red/White Spring Game on Friday night at the DakotaDome before 2,513 in attendance. The Red/White game ends the spring practice for the South Dakota football team, which is coming off a 9-4 season in 2006, including a berth in the national playoffs for the first time in 20 years.

The scoring system for the Red/White game included the defense receiving six points for a turnover and two points for a defensive stop (three offensive plays without a first down) while the offense received one point for a first down as well as six points for a TD and three points for a field goal. USD place-kicker Frank Leibarth of Yankton, had field goals of 47 and 32 yards while running back Amos Allen of Miami, FL, scored the game's only TD on a three-yard run. The defense forced three turnovers, included a pair of interceptions and a fumble.

"I thought the defense set the tempo early and controlled the play," said South Dakota head football coach Ed Meierkort, whose team is 27-8 during his three seasons at South Dakota. "The defense seemed to play with a high motor tonight. But, it is tough to play offense in a spring game when the defense knows the checks, etc. I saw some good things from the offense," said Meierkort.

"We have to remember this is a spring game. Next year, it will be a spring game. You don't always get the play that you want. But, I know we are a good football team and we will show that next fall," added Meierkort.

The fan support for the Coyote football team is amazing to Meierkort. A year ago, USD finished 11th in attendance in Division II with 8,054 patrons per game. "I was pleased and amazed by the enthusiasm of the fans for this spring game. They were hungry for football. It was great to have them here and showing high energy. This is a tremendous atmosphere at the DakotaDome," he said.

As for the game, the Coyotes' offense generated 278 yards on 56 plays, including 201 yards rushing on 41 plays. USD completed 5-15 passes for 78 yards with two interceptions. The rushing attack was led by Allen, a transfer from Dixie State who will be a senior in the fall. Allen finished with nine carries for 74 yards rushing and a TD. Allen had a 23-yard run and also had carries of 12, 12 and 10 yards. Redshirt freshman Quincy Christie (Pierre) finished with 10 carries for 45 yards, including a 14-yard gallop. Sophomore Matt Lee of Oxnard, CA, finished with 35 yards rushing on eight carries and had a 13-yard run.

Sophomore quarterback Noah Shepard of Thornton, CO, completed 2-of-8 passes for 58 yards and an interception while also rushing four times for 11 yards. Backup quarterback Tyler Robinson of Elkhorn, NE, completed 3-of-7 passes for 20 yards with an interception. Robinson also had four rushes for 13 yards. Fullback Kevin Kruse of Harlan, IA, had five carries for 14 yards and junior Carter Black of South Sioux City, IA, had nine yards rushing. Sophomore wide receiver Dan Skelly of Champlin, MN, had three catches for 56 yards while senior wide out Brooks Little of Castlewood, had one catch for 15 yards.

Defensive lineman Ko Quaye of Brooklyn Park, MN, and linebacker Justiss Scales of Columbus, OH led the defense with four tackles each. Safety Ryan Routh of Sioux Falls, had an interception and two tackles as well as a pass break-up. Sophomore defensive back Mychal Bogan of Los Angeles, CA, also had an interception.

South Dakota will open the 2007 football season with a Thursday night road game at 7 p.m. (CST) against West Texas A&M at Canyon, TX. USD's home opener is the Hall of Fame game with Winona State at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 8.

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