Though there was a brief three-minute span when the Division I hosts trailed, things fell into place soon after.
The 24th-ranked University of South Dakota football team scored on its first five possessions and moved on from the program's biggest win with a 48-14 rout of NAIA Northwestern Oklahoma State on Saturday in the DakotaDome.
In winning their home opener, the Coyotes (2-1) not only avoided what could have been a predictable letdown after upsetting Minnesota, but continued their offensive momentum in big-play fashion.
"We talked about it all week, coming off the big win, we knew these guys were not quite up to Minnesota, but we didn't let that get to our heads," said junior quarterback Dante Warren, who was 13-19 for 156 yards and four touchdowns.
"We did what we had to do; we won the game."
Even if there was a momentary wake-up call that the visiting Rangers (0-2) indeed came to play.
After Warren scored on a 30-yard run on USD's opening drive, NW Oklahoma State's Nate Guillory returned the ensuing kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown to give the visitors a 7-6 lead.
That cushion lasted for all of three minutes, as on the next possession, Warren hit sophomore receiver Tom Flanagan for a 10-yard touchdown pass.
From there, the Coyotes were off and running.
London Landry, Powell and Flanagan caught touchdown passes on the next three drives, while junior Chris Ganious scored on a 62-yard run, and Mitch Mohr caught a touchdown pass in the third quarter.
In all, USD rolled up 455 yards of total offense, while four different receivers caught a touchdown pass and Ganious rushed for 118 yards.
"We wanted to get our run game going a little bit more, but when we called a play to score, we scored," said Flanagan, who caught six passes for 65 yards and two scores.
"Overall, we did what we wanted to do."
Including a trick play early in the second quarter, when Warren pitched the snap to Flanagan, who hit Powell for a 75-yard touchdown pass.
Up 34-7 at halftime, USD turned to its defense in the second half to continue the pressure on a Rangers team that didn't help itself with 13 penalties.
The Coyotes intercepted NWOS quarterback Kyle Jech five times, sacked him twice, forced a fumble and limited the Rangers to 99 rushing yards.
"USD has an outstanding football; I think they proved that a week ago, and we saw that first-hand today," NWOS coach Keith Barefield said. "We had a good time playing in this environment; it's not very often programs like ours can experience this."
The Coyotes will stay indoors for their next game, but in a place that has not been kind to USD over the years.
When USD plays No. 23 North Dakota State — which scored an FBS upset of its own this season in beating Kansas — next Saturday night, the Coyotes will attempt to win in Fargo, N.D. for the first time since 1978.
That's where not over-looking Saturday's NAIA opponent was key.
"Moving into a D-I program, you've got to become a mature team," Flanagan said. "When you're supposed to win, you have to win. It was a Super Bowl win last week, but that was last week.
"Now we have to look week by week the rest of the season."
SOUTH DAKOTA 48, NW OKLAHOMA ST. 14
NW Oklahoma St. 7 0 0 7—14
South Dakota 20 14 14 0—48
SDak—Warren 30 run (kick failed), 11:23.
NWOk—Guillory 85 kickoff return (Colmenares kick), 11:10.
SDak—Flanagan 10 pass from Warren (Robb kick), 8:09.
SDak—Landry 26 pass from Warren (Robb kick), 4:20.
SDak—Powell 75 pass from Flanagan (Robb kick), 14:48.
SDak—Flanagan 30 pass from Warren (Robb kick), 8:43.
SDak—Ganious 62 run (Robb kick), 5:46.
SDak—Mohr 2 pass from Warren (Robb kick), :58.
NWOk—McDonald 57 pass from Jech (Colmenares kick), 10:30.
First downs 16 21
Rushes-yards 31-99 35-215
Passing 251 240
Comp-Att-Int 20-34-5 16-25-0
Return Yards (-2) 177
Punts-Avg. 7-41.6 5-42.6
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 2-2
Penalties-Yards 13-108 1-3
Time of Possession 31:51 28:09
RUSHING—NW Oklahoma St., Guillory 14-43, Jackson 8-22, Morris 1-15, Jech 4-9, Smith 2-5, Williams 1-3, Washington 1-2. South Dakota, Ganious 11-118, Warren 6-45, Sims 6-37, Bowens 3-16, Helland 1-3, Archambeau 2-2, Wilhelm 1-1, Burrus 4-(minus 2), Flanagan 1-(minus 5).
PASSING—NW Oklahoma St., Jech 20-34-5-251. South Dakota, Warren 13-19-0-156, Wilhelm 1-3-0-(minus 1), Cichos 1-2-0-10, Flanagan 1-1-0-75.
RECEIVING—NW Oklahoma St., McDonald 7-132, Williams 7-85, Frame 2-20, Jackson 2-6, Guillory 1-4, Lebeda 1-4. South Dakota, Flanagan 6-65, Powell 3-99, Landry 3-31, Nowotny 1-27, Helland 1-10, McMartin 1-6, Mohr 1-2.