Coyotes suffer heartbreaking 31-30 loss to Southeast Louisiana The University of South Dakota football team made a valiant comeback in the final minutes but fell short in suffering a heartbreaking 31-30 loss to Southeastern Louisiana University Saturday night, Sept. 13, in Hammond, LA. The Coyotes fall to 1-2 on the year, with both losses coming to FCS foes. SLU improved to 2-1. USD scored a touchdown as time expired when Noah Shepard (Jr., Thornton, CO) connected with Dan Skelly (Jr., Champlin Park, MN) on a 12-yard scoring pass, which cut the SLU lead to 31-30. That left USD with a choice â�?�? go for the extra point to tie and go into overtime, or try the two-point conversion for the win. The Coyotes elected to gamble for the win but SLU forced a fumble on the two-point conversion and stopped the attempt, leaving USD one point short. The tough loss overshadowed another great performance by Skelly, who hauled in eight passes for 184 yards and two touchdowns. For the season, Skelly has 20 catches for 426 yards and four touchdowns and is averaging more than 21 yards per reception as he has emerged as one of the top receivers in the nation. USD was down 31-17 in the fourth quarter before mounting a furious rally with time running out. USD marched 86 yards on 13 plays and scored a one-yard run by Isaac Newton on fourth down to cut the SLU lead to 31-24 with 2:52 left in the contest. Then it was up to the USD defense to get a stop â�?�? which it did, forcing SLU to go three-and-out on its next offensive possession. The Coyotes then took over at their own 41-yard line with 1:42 left in the game, and started to move. They marched down to the SLU 12-yard line with time running out and had one last shot. Thatâ�?�?s when Shepard found Skelly for a 12-yard touchdown with no time left to bring USD within 31-30, setting up the two-point conversion attempt which was unsuccessful. The first half was a back-and-forth contest. USD struck first on a six-yard scoring run by Chris Ganious (RFr., Houston, TX) with 9:39 left in the first quarter to put the Coyotes up 7-0. SLU answered as Jay Lucas scored from two yards out to tie the contest at 7-7 with 6:09 left in the first quarter. The Coyotes struck for a big play on their next touchdown as Shepard hit Skelly for a 68-yard strike, putting USD up 14-7 with 5:52 left in the opening quarter. USD held that lead until late in the first half, when SLUâ�?�?s Brian Babin hit Lucas for a 51-yard touchdown, tying the game at 14-14 with 1:57 left. The game was tied at halftime, but the third quarter proved pivotal, as SLU outscored the Coyotes, 17-3 in that frame. USDâ�?�?s lone points of the quarter came on a 19-yard field goal from Justin Veazie (Jr., Chino, CA). SLU added a field goal, a touchdown run by Lucas and a touchdown pass from Babin to Krish Mohammed to build a 31-17 lead heading into the final quarter. Shepard finished 16-of-31 for 291 yards and two touchdowns in the game for USD.�? For the season, Shepard has thrown for 761 yards and four touchdowns in just three games. Matt Lee (Jr., Oxnard, CA) also had a solid game on the ground for the Coyotes, rushing for 73 yards on just 11 carries. London Landry (Jr., Lancaster, CA) added three catches for 50 yards for USD. The Coyote defense was led by 11 tackles from Byron Bullock (Sr., Inglewood, CA).�? Shane Potter (RFr., Becker, MN) and Wayne Curry (Jr., Tampa, FL) added eight tackles each, while Blake Hojer (Sr., DeSmet) and Mychal Bogan (Jr., Los Angeles, CA) had six each for USD. Curry had one and a half sacks, while Abe Booker (Jr., Bloomington, MN) and Ko Quaye (Jr., Brooklyn Park, MN) each had a sack apiece. Ryan Routh (Jr., Sioux Falls) added a fumble recovery. The game was evenly-matched statistically, with USD holding a 436-414 edge in total offense, while both teams each committed one turnover.�? Both teams were 4-of-4 on red-zone opportunities. The Coyotes return home Saturday, Sept. 20 to face Culver-Stockton College as part of Hall of Fame Day. Kickoff is at 2 p.m. Saturday at the DakotaDome in Vermillion.