2008 USD football season � a look back

2008 USD football season â�?�? a look back The 2008 football season marked the first for The University of South Dakota at the NCAA Division I FCS level. The Coyotes finished 6-5 and recorded their fifth consecutive winning season under Coach Ed Meierkort. Two of the Coyotesâ�?�? losses came to teams that qualified for the Division I FCS playoff s (Northern Iowa and Cal Poly). �? The Coyotes started the season with a 52-0 win over St. Ambrose on Aug. 30, in a game where quarterback Noah Shepard (Jr., Th ornton, CO) threw for 180 yards and three touchdowns. USDâ�?�?s first FCS test came on Sept. 6 at nationally-ranked Northern Iowa. The Coyotes fought tough to the Panthers before falling, 24-13. UNI also earned a playoff berth after winning the Missouri Valley Conference. The e Coyotes then suffered a tough 31-30 loss at Southeast Louisiana on Sept. 13. A two-point conversion attempt for the win fell mere inches short for USD. The Coyotes returned home on Sept. 20 and rolled to a 70-7 rout of Culver-Stockton College. USD returned to FCS action on Sept. 27 at Montana State and lost to the Bobcats, 37-18. A week later, USD headed to Cal Poly and was defeated by the nationally-ranked Mustangs, 49-22. After that loss, USD then turned its focus to a â�?�?Drive for Five,â�? which set a goal of winning its final five games of the 2008 season. They started with a 34-3 rout of Missouri S&T on Dakota Days on Oct. 11. It was also the start of a dominant three defensive games for USD in which the Coyotes would allow a combined three points. The Coyotes then made the long bus trip to Tigerville, SC to face North Greenville, and cruised to a 63-0 win, which marked the Coyotes second shutout of 2008. That win brought USD back to .500 for the season. USD returned to the DakotaDome on Nov. 8 and crushed Southern Oregon, 37-0, thanks to building a 37-0 first quarter lead. Then came a historic game at Southern Utah on Nov. 15. It marked USDâ�?�?s first-ever win over an NCAA Division I foe as the Coyotes recorded a 42-20 win over SUU. The Coyotes returned home on Nov. 22 to face rival North Dakota. In a classic back-and-forth contest, the Fighting Sioux edged USD, 34-31 in overtime. Despite the season-ending heartbreak, USD finished with wins in four of its last five games to finish at 6-5.�? �?  �? �?  Shepard sets two career records in 2008�? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �?  Junior Noah Shepard, capped off his third season as USDâ�?�?s starting quarterback by setting two career records. Shepard set the new career total offense record�?  in the Coyotesâ�?�? win over Southern Oregon on Nov. 8, and on Nov. 15, Shepard set the new career passing yardage record. Shepard is now at 8,182 yards of total off ense for his career and 6,485 career yards passing. Shepard is at 56 career touchdown passes and trails Coyote quarterbacks coach Wes Beschorner by eight for that career record. 2008 Team Captains�? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �?  The Coyotes rotated their captains during the 2008 season. Here is a look at each week: St. Ambrose: David Hedges, Blake Hojer, Byron Thomas. Northern Iowa: Byron Bullock, Isaiah Dixon, Tyler Spease. Southeastern Louisiana: Brandon White, Joel Gentile. Culver-Stockton: Luke Groth, Dustin Little. Montana State: Byron Bullock, Isaiah Dixon, David Hedges. Cal Poly:�?  Byron Thomas, Byron Bullock. Missouri S&T:�?  Noah Shepard, Jake Arthur, Wayne Curry, Ryan Routh. North Greenville: Blake Hojer, Byron Thomas, Brandon White. Southern Oregon: Joel Gentile, Dustin Little, Tyler Spease. Southern Utah:�?  Byron Bullock, Luke Nordquist, Byron Thomas.�?  North Dakota: Blake Hojer, Tyler Spease, Brandon White. Defending their turf at the Dome�? �? �? �?  Since the Coyotes began playing their home games in the DakotaDome in 1979, they have compiled a 115-50 (.701) record at home, including a 26-2 mark (.929) under head coach Ed Meierkort.�?  The Coyotes produced a 24-game home winning streak that spanned nearly four full seasons.�?  Under Meierkort, USD is outscoring its opponents at home by an average of 44-14 and is averaging more than 7,600 fans per game. Meierkort moves into tie for 4th in all-time USD coaching wins Coyote head coach Ed Meierkort is now tied for fourth all-time at USD in career wins (39), sharing that spot with A. H. Whittemore (1901-09, 1920-21). Meierkort is 39-18 in five seasons at USD, which is the best start ever for a Coyote head coach. Hojer leads Coyotes in tackles once again�? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �?  Senior Blake Hojer (DeSmet) led the USD defense in tackles for a third straight season with 68. Hojer finished with 235 career tackles. Hojer was one of 10 seniors to play his final game as a Coyote on Nov. 22. FCS Coaches Poll (11/23) No.�? �? �?  Team (1st votes) �? �? �?  Rec.�? �? �?  Pts.�?  Prev. 1.�?  �? �? �?  James Madison (25) 10-1 �? �? �?  625 �? �? �?  1 2.�?  �? �? �?  Applachian State �? �? �?  10-2 �? �? �?  596 �? �? �?  2 3. �? �? �?  Cal Poly �? �? �?  8-2 �? �? �?  550 �? �? �?  3 4.�?  �? �? �?  Northern Iowa �? �? �?  10-2 �? �? �?  548 �? �? �?  4 5.�?  �? �? �?  Montana �? �? �?  11-1 �? �? �?  532 �? �? �?  5 6.�? �?  �? �? �?  Richmond �? �? �?  9-3 �? �? �?  488 �? �? �?  6 7.�?  �? �? �?  Villanova �? �? �?  9-2 �? �? �?  481 �? �? �?  7 8.�?  �? �? �?  Southern Illinois �? �? �?  9-2 �? �? �?  443 �? �? �?  9 10. �? �? �?  Woff ord �? �? �?  9-2 �? �? �?  428 �? �? �?  11 11. �? �? �?  Central Arkansas �? �? �?  10-2 �? �? �?  366 �? �? �?  12 T12. Weber State �? �? �?  9-3 �? �? �?  318 �? �? �?  8 T12. South Carolina State�? �? �?  10-2 �? �? �?  318 �? �? �?  15 14. �? �? �?  Harvard �? �? �?  9-1 �? �? �?  247 �? �? �?  16 15. �? �? �?  Liberty �? �? �?  10-2 �? �? �?  239 �? �? �?  20 16. �? �? �?  Colgate �? �? �?  9-2 �? �? �?  209 �? �? �?  22 17. �? �? �?  McNeese State �? �? �?  7-4 �? �? �?  176 �? �? �?  13 18. �? �? �?  William and Mary �? �? �?  8-4 �? �? �?  161 �? �? �?  19 19. �? �? �?  Elon �? �? �?  8-4 �? �? �?  156 �? �? �?  14 20. �? �? �?  Jacksonville State �? �? �?  8-3 �? �? �?  148 �? �? �?  21 21. �? �? �?  Maine �? �? �?  8-4 �? �? �?  141 �? �? �?  17 22. �? �? �?  Eastern Kentucky �? �? �?  8-3 �? �? �?  126 �? �? �?  NR 23. �? �? �?  Prairie View A&M �? �? �?  9-1 �? �? �?  84 �? �? �?  NR 24. �? �? �?  UT-Martin �? �? �?  8-4 �? �? �?  80 �? �? �?  18 25. �? �? �?  Grambling State �? �? �?  9-2 �? �? �?  79 �? �? �?  NR �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �?  Sports Network FCS Top 25 (11/17) No.�? �? �?  Team (1st votes)�? �? �?  Rec.�? �? �?  Pts.�? �? �?  Prev. 1.�? �? �?  James Madison (74)�? �? �?  10-1�?  �? �? �?  2,018 �? �? �?  1 2.�? �? �?  Appalachian State (7)10-2�?  �? �? �?  ,936 �? �? �?  2 3.�? �? �?  Cal Poly (1)�?  �? �? �?  8-2�?  �? �? �?  1,774 �? �? �?  3 4.�? �? �?  Northern Iowa�? �?  �? �? �?  10-2 �? �? �?  1,753 �? �? �?  4 5.�? �? �?  Montana �? �? �?  11-1 �? �? �?  1,719 �? �? �?  5 6.�? �? �?  Villanova �? �? �?  9-2 �? �? �?  1,627 �? �? �?  6 7.�? �? �?  Richmond �? �? �?  9-3 �? �? �?  1,550 �? �? �?  7 8.�? �? �?  Woff ord �? �? �?  9-2 �? �? �?  1,422 �? �? �?  9 9.�? �? �?  Southern Illinois �? �? �?  9-2 �? �? �?  1,377 �? �? �?  10 10.�? �? �?  New Hampshire �? �? �?  9-2 �? �? �?  1,206 �? �? �?  11 11.�? �? �?  Central Arkansas �? �? �?  10-2 �? �? �?  1,128 �? �? �?  13 12. �? �? �?  Weber State �? �? �?  9-3 �? �? �?  1,095 �? �? �?  8 13. �? �? �?  South Carolina State 10-2 �? �? �?  980 �? �? �?  15 14. �? �? �?  Liberty �? �? �?  10-2 �? �? �?  771 �? �? �?  22 15. �? �? �?  Harvard �? �? �?  9-1 �? �? �?  676 �? �? �?  19 16. �? �? �?  Colgate �? �? �?  9-2 �? �? �?  630 �? �? �?  21 17. �? �? �?  Elon �? �? �?  8-4 �? �? �?  597 �? �? �?  12 18. �? �? �?  McNeese State �? �? �?  7-4 �? �? �?  570 �? �? �?  14 19.�?  �? �? �?  William and Mary �? �? �?  7-4 �? �? �?  558 �? �? �?  16 20. �? �? �?  Maine �? �? �?  8-4 �? �? �?  432 �? �? �?  17 21. �? �? �?  Eastern Kentucky �? �? �?  8-3 �? �? �?  417 �? �? �?  NR 22. �? �? �?  Jacksonville State �? �? �?  8-3 �? �? �?  401 �? �? �?  24 23. �? �? �?  Texas State �? �? �?  8-4 �? �? �?  259 �? �? �?  NR 24. �? �? �?  Tennessee-Martin �? �? �?  8-4 �? �? �?  252 �? �? �?  18 25. �? �? �?  Prairie View A&M �? �? �?  9-1 �? �? �?  142 �? �? �?  NR Quick Facts on The University of South Dakota football program The South Dakota football program, which was established in 1889, has an all-time record of 498-4601-36. Four times USD made playoff s appearances in NCAA Division II (1973, 1985, 1986, 2006).�?  In total, The U won 10 North Central Conference crowns and had 58 student-athletes earn All-American honors. A total of 110 players received Academic All-NCC honors. With the win over Southern Utah on Nov. 15, the Coyote football team is now two victories away from 500 all-time wins. In all of NCAA college football, there are only 128 teams with 500 or more victories. Coyote 2008 individual statistical highlights�? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �?  In addition to Shepard setting two career records, several other Coyotes made their mark statistically in 2008. Here are some statistical notes on Coyote individuals regarding the 2008 season: â�?¢ Junior Dan Skelly had 47 catches, which was tied for the fifth most ever in a season by a USD receiver. Skelly missed the final game with an injury. His nine touchdowns were the second most in a season by a USD receiver. Skelly also climbed the career receiving charts as he now has 74 career catches, which is tied for ninth all time. He is tied for second all-time with 16 receiving touchdowns, which is only two behind Derek Gearman.�?  Skelly also tied a USD record with three touchdowns receptions in a game when he caught three scoring passes in the Coyotesâ�?�? 70-7 win over Culver-Stockton on Sept. 20. â�?¢ Shepardâ�?�?s 2,000 passing yards was the third most all-time in a single season in USD history. In addition, Shepard recorded 13 rushing touchdowns, the fourth-best all-time in a single season. â�?¢ Senior linebacker Byron Thomas finished with 13 tackles for loss, which was tied for 10th best all-time in a single season. Thomas just missed the top 10 in sacks in a season as he finished with seven. â�?¢ Freshman Jeremy Blount became just the 10th Coyote player ever to return a kickoff�?  for a touchdown when he did so in USDâ�?�?s 63-0 win over North Greenville. Coyote 2008 team statistical highlights�? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �?  USD had several high rankings in NCAA Division I FCS in team statistics for the 2008 season. Hereâ�?�?s a glimpse: â�?¢ USD ranked seventh in total off ense per game (461.8 yards). â�?¢ USD ranked eighth in scoring off ense per game (37.5 points). â�?¢ USD ranked eighth in rushing yards per game (240.1 yards). â�?¢ USD ranked 13th in FCS in scoring defense per game (18.6 points) â�?¢ USD was 25th in total defense allowed per game (313.6 yards). A bright future ahead for USD�? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �? �?  USD will lose 10 seniors heading into next year but will return a strong nucleus as it enters its second year of NCAA Division I FCS competition. On offense, the Coyotes lose just two starters, seniors David Hedges (guard) and Brandon White (tight end). On defense, USD will lose six starters: linebackers Byron Thomas, Tyler Spease and Blake Hojer and defensive backs Isaiah Dixon, Joel Gentile and Byron Bullock.�?  USD has a talented stable of redshirt freshmen that will be poised to make an impact on both sides of the ball in 2009. The Coyotes will return punter Tim Stanek and kicker Justin Veazie, along with talented kick returner Jeremy Blount, who emerged as a big-play threat as a freshman.

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