The win for USD is their 20th straight home victory, dating back to the final game of the 2003 season. The Coyotes are now 1-1 on the season.
Amos Allen (Sr., Miami, FL) and Noah Shepard (So., Lakewood, CO) combined to score six of the Coyotes' seven touchdowns in the game. The only touchdown that the USD dynamic duo did not account for was when T.J. Simmons (Jr., Houston, TX) scooped up a WSU fumble and ran it back 22 yards for the score.
Once again the USD ground attack was near impossible to stop, thanks in large to the 5'8, 180-pound transfer from Dixie State. Allen, who one week ago ran for 162 yards and one touchdown against West Texas A&M, compiled 220 yards rushing on 20 carries and found the endzone three times. Shepard also was productive in running the ball for USD as he racked up 50 yards on four carries.
Along with his 50 rushing yards, Shepard also had a big night passing the ball. He completed 17-of-27 passes for 293 yards. He connected with Dan Skelly (So., Champlin, MN) on two touchdown passes and improved his quarterback rating to 166.4 on the season. Shepard's touchdown passes both came on the long ball. His first touchdown connection with Skelly was for 57 yards and the other was 67 yards.
After the first quarter of action it looked as though the two teams were in line for a defensive battle. The Coyote defense came out strong to start the game as they forced WSU into a three and out on their first possession. USD then put together a drive that lasted 10:38 and went 66 yards on 16 plays. South Dakota was unable to come away with any points however, as Frank Leibfarth (Sr., Yankton) just missed a 47-yard field goal. Both Winona State and USD would have the ball one more time in the first quarter, but neither would manage any points.
That would all change in the second quarter as the two teams combined for 28 points in the 15 minutes prior to halftime. The Coyotes got on the board first when Allen punched in his first of three touchdowns. South Dakota moved the ball 92 yards on the scoring drive, mostly thanks to short passes and runs of seven or more yards. Allen finally capped off the drive with his 13-yard touchdown run to put USD up 7-0.
Winona State looked as though they were on their way to getting on the scoreboard on the following possession. Warrior quarterback Drew Aber got their offense moving with a pair of long passes, but gave the ball back to USD when he was intercepted by Byron Bullock (Jr., Inglewood, CA).
Shepard would need just one snap to put the Coyotes in the endzone again. He found Skelly on a play action pass for the touchdown on the very first snap of the drive, as South Dakota went up 14-0.
The Warriors would answer back and finally get on the scoreboard. Aber completed passes for 17 and 12 yards and Alex Wiese had a 17-yard run to set up Aber's 13-yard touchdown pass to Ellis Minor to cut the USD lead in half.
With just 1:11 to play in before halftime, it looked as though the Coyotes would go into the locker room with a touchdown lead. However, for the second straight time they would score on their very first play of the drive. After WSU kicker Ryan Abbott kicked the ensuing kickoff out of bounds, Allen bolted off for a 65-yard touchdown run.
Just 1:05 into the second half the Coyotes found themselves up 28-7. USD received the ball first in the second half, but was unable to move the ball and went three and out. However, on the first play of Winona State's drive, Simmons recovered an Alex Wiese fumble and returned it 22 yards for a touchdown.
Following Simmons' touchdown return, the two teams would go nearly nine minutes of scoreless action. Winona State would again cut the lead in half when Aber connected with Abbott on a 14-yard touchdown pass.
The Coyote offense would again waste little time in getting back on the board following a Winona touchdown. On USD's next possession following the Warrior score, Shepard started the drive with a 41-yard pass to Mitch Mohr (RFr., Genoa, NE). On the next play Allen busted off another long run as he went 33 yards for his third touchdown of the evening to put USD up 35-14.
Winona State was able to cut the lead down to two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Following a Coyote turnover, Aber connected with Scott Peters for a 35-yard touchdown pass to bring the score to 35-21. The Winona State momentum would not last long as the Coyotes were able to once again answer back on their next drive.
Allen had a 19-yard run and Shepard broke off a 29-yard run to put USD in the redzone again. With the ball on the WSU eight yard line and South Dakota with a third and five, Shepard scrambled for a touchdown to put Coyotes up 42-21.
With just under eight minutes to play in the game, the Warriors were determined not to go away quietly. They moved the ball down the field 70 yards on just five plays in 1:38 to cut the USD lead to 42-28 when Aber again found Scott for a 41-yard touchdown pass.
USD would finally put the game away, again on another quick score following a Warrior touchdown. After a pair of two-yard runs by Allen, Shepard again went for the long ball when he found Skelly for a 67-yard touchdown pass.
When it was all said and done, the Coyotes compiled 603 yards of offense on the night. Both teams were efficient through the air however, it was South Dakota's ability to stop the run that proved to be the game's biggest advantage. USD ran for 310 yards and limited WSU to just 55 yards on the ground. The Coyotes are now averaging 648.0 yards of total offense on the season.
The Coyote defense was led by Justiss Scales (Sr., Columbus, OH) who had a team-high seven tackles. Simmons also added five tackles to go along with his fumble return.
South Dakota will now turn its attention to North Central Conference action when they travel to Duluth, MN next weekend. The Coyotes will play their first NCC game of the season on Saturday, September 15 when they take on the University of Minnesota-Duluth at 6 p.m.