When the University of South Dakota football team plays the University of North Dakota the stakes are always high.
This week, those stakes will have a whole new element added, as the winner will earn a share of the conference title with Cal Poly.
Head coach Ed Meierkort said his team should be well prepared to play in such an important game.
“We are all extremely excited. We know on offense we have to prevent turnovers and on defense we have to prevent big plays,” Meierkort said. “We want to add another banner to this stadium.”
One point of emphasis for the 6-4 Coyotes this week will be to keep a balanced offense. The passing game is coming off it’s most impressive yet.
Led by junior wideout Will Powell, who had 144 yards and two touchdowns against Missouri S&T. The running game will also play a key role against North Dakota, as the Coyotes ran for 230 yards and three touchdowns last week.
Junior running back
Marcus Sims said the Coyotes will need to have a balanced offensive attack in order to win a share of the Great West title.
“We have to have a balanced offense this week,” Sims said. “It’s going be an all-around effort from the offensive line on back.”
Senior wide receiver Jeremy Blount, who has 1,098 all-purpose yards on the season, said the team should be extra motivated as they take the field on Saturday.
“We’re going to be super focused and give them
everything we’ve got,” Blount said. “We are going to try as hard as possible to win this game.”
USD has had a very successful season and hopes to finish it off strong. Meierkort said a win this week would be an enormous accomplishment.
“It would be a complete opposite of last year. We would stay in the top 25 and get a share of the conference title,” Meierkort said. “We haven’t won at North Dakota since 1985, so a win would wrap all of our goals into one.”
North Dakota (7-3) is led on offense by sophomore running back Jake Miller, who has 13 rushing touchdowns and on defense by senior linebacker Dan Hendrickson, who has 65 total tackles.
Blount knows the team will have to execute effectively.
“The whole team will have to execute well and on all levels. We cant let the crowd get to us,” Blount said. “Personally I need to catch every pass thrown my way and block well for our running backs.
Not only does USD want to end the season strong, but the team looks to play well in its last game as a member of the Great West conference
Sims said the players are all happy right now but won’t be satisfied unless they end the season with a win.
“We all want to end our rivalry in this conference with North Dakota on the winning side,” Sims said. “We all want to be labeled