Southern Oregon no match for USD Coyotes By David Lias
Plain Talk On a day when junior quarterback Noah Shepard set a new career total offense record, The University of South Dakota football team built a 31-0 lead after one quarter and went on to beat Southern Oregon, 37-0, Saturday in front of 5,615 fans at the DakotaDome in Vermillion. Shepard (Jr., Thornton, CO.) broke Wesley Beschorner's USD career total offense record of 7,476 yards. Shepard, who finished 9-of-14 passing for 192 yards and a touchdown while rushing for 16 yards, now has 7,655 total yards of offense for his USD career. USD (5-4) set the tone early in recording their third straight win. SOU quarterback J.C. Hunsaker fumbled the opening snap and it was recovered by USD linebacker Ryan Routh (Jr., Sioux Falls), setting the Coyotes up in Raider territory. A big 31-yard run by Chris Ganious (RFr., Houston, TX) brought USD to the Raider 10-yard line. The drive stalled, but USD managed a 30-yard field goal by Justin Veazie (Jr., Chino, CA) to take a 3-0 lead. The Coyote defense forced another fumble, and Mychal Bogan (Jr., Los Angeles, CA recovered it, setting USD up at the SOU 30-yard line. The Coyotes struck quickly, with Ganious rushing from 10 yards out for a touchdown, putting USD up 10-0 with 11:57 remaining in the opening quarter. Ganious accounted for all of the Coyotes' 30 yards on the drive. The Coyote defense, which recorded its third shutout of 2008, forced a three-and-out. On the next play, Shepard set the new total offense record when he hit Dan Skelly (Jr., Champlin, Minn.) for a 63-yard touchdown pass, putting USD up 17-0 with 10:41 left in the opening quarter. USD continued its first-quarter dominance. After forcing another three-and-out, USD struck quickly again, going on a 4-play, 82-yard drive, which was capped off by a 5-yard touchdown run by Isaac Newton (Jr., New Orleans, LA). With Veazie's extra point, the Coyotes had a 24-0 lead – with 7:24 left in the first quarter. The big plays of the drive were a 42-yard pass from Shepard to London Landry (Jr., Lancaster, CA) and a 33-yard run by Newton. Southern Oregon was forced to punt again on its next possession. The Coyote special teams came through with the big play this time, as Shane Potter (RFr., Becker, MN) broke through and blocked a punt, and it was returned by Dion Price (Fr., Tampa, FL) for a 10-yard touchdown, building the USD lead to 31-0 with 2:08 left in the first quarter. USD had a 225-50 edge in total yards after one quarter. The Coyotes put up their final points when Ganious capped off a 10-play, 80-yard drive with a 15-yard touchdown run with 5:19 left in the first half as the USD lead grew to 37-0. USD's special teams helped to preserve the shutout, as Isaiah Dixon (Sr., Minneapolis, MN) blocked a 56-yard field goal attempt by SOU's Corey O'Neill to end the Raiders' scoring chance. The Coyotes had a 319-127 in total yards in the first half. Ganious had 75 yards rushing and two touchdowns to open the half. The second half was ruled by defense, as neither team found the end zone. USD's defense finished the game with three sacks while forcing five turnovers. The Coyote special teams blocked a punt and a field goal as well. Bogan and Andrew Meier (RFr., Guthrie Center, CA) each had interceptions for USD. Bogan, Corey Kuehl (So., Rock Rapids, IA) and Routh had fumble recoveries. Wayne Curry (Jr., Tampa, FL) and Byron Thomas (Sr., Palmdale, CA) added sacks. Ganious capped off a solid day with 121 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Newton finished with 93 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Skelly had three catches for 76 yards and a touchdown, and moved into 10th all-time for career catches with 72. USD resumes action on the road on Saturday, Nov. 15 when it faces Great West Conference foe Southern Utah. Game time is 2 p.m. (Central) in Cedar City, UT. Notes: Shepard is now just 53 yards away from USD's all-time career passing yardage record, which is held by Beschorner with 6,240 yards…USD improved to 4-0 at home this season and 26-1 at home under Coach Ed Meierkort…USD has not allowed a point in nine quarters, going back to the Missouri S&T game. The Coyotes have not allowed a touchdown in 12 quarters… Meierkort wore military apparel in honor of the Military Appreciation Day held by the USD athletic department… the win was USD's third straight.