All season, the University of South Dakota Coyote football team has had two main goals.
“We wanted to finish in the top 25 and then eventually win our conference,” head coach Ed Meierkort said. “It is now in our hands and we need to win these important games.”
On Oct. 29, they have an opportunity to complete their biggest goal as they travel to San Luis Obispo, California to take on the Cal Poly, where a win versus the Mustangs would clinch at least a tie of the Great West Conference championship.
Junior wide receiver Will Powell said winning the Great West conference would be a great team accomplishment.
“Winning the conference championship would be huge,” Powell said. “It has been our goal from day one and it means absolutely everything to us.”
In order to beat Cal Poly (4-3), the Coyotes (5-3) are going to have to stop junior dual-threat quarterback Andre Broadous. Broadous has a combined total 16 touchdowns this season, with 11 of them coming on the ground for the Mustangs.
Senior linebacker Adam Broders, who last week won Great West Defensive Player of the Week, said the Coyotes run defense will need to be strong in order to slow down Cal Poly’s run heavy offense.
“Cal Poly runs a triple option similar to Air Force,” Broders said. “Everyone has to be responsible for their man in order for us to have success.”
Powell said he is excited to travel to California and take on the Mustangs, but at the same time understands they won’t be an easy
“In years past I have really enjoyed playing at their stadium,” Powell said. “But in order to beat them we will have to execute. They have a solid team with a lot of great athletes.”
The Coyotes will also have to adjust to playing in the Pacific Time Zone as well as playing a night game instead of late afternoon or day game.
Meierkort said the team will experience an unnatural schedule this week.
“It is going to be a little different for our guys.” Meierkort said. “Playing a little later will extend our day, but also give us a little extra time to get used to the California time zone.”
USD has not won the Great West Conference title in football since the team joined in 2008.
The Coyotes are coming off a victory against UC Davis, who USD beat for the first time in school history.
That win made the team well aware of how important the final three games of the season will be, Meierkort said.
He said his team has what it takes to finish the year strong and win the conference title.
This week’s game will also be televised live on KDLT (Sioux Falls) and KOTA (Rapid City). Kick off is set for 6:05 p.m. PT, 8:05 p.m. CT.
Reach reporter Grant Bosiacki at Grant.Bosiacki@usd.edu