Blowing a 14 point lead and falling to 1-5 (0-3) on the season doesn’t sound like too much fun for the University of South Dakota. Following that up with a week to prepare for the defending FCS champions makes everything that much more difficult.
The Coyotes football team is facing adversity after going through the early hardships in their first year in the Missouri Valley Conference.
Junior outside linebacker Tyler Starr said now is not a time to get down on the team.
“I always like looking at the positives of situations,” Starr said. “I’m always grateful to play this game.”
The Coyotes are coming off a game many people at the very least hoped they could win. They traveled to Missouri to take on a 0-6 Missouri St. team that was sitting on the bottom of the MVC. USD steamrolled through the first half, leading 21-3 and two quarters away from their first conference win under the new regime. Unfortunately, due to broken coverages and lack of execution, their 14-point lead with 5:27 to go evaporated in front of their eyes.
Head Coach Joe Glenn acknowledged the loss was a hard one to swallow.
“It was a real tough one and one that will be tough to get over,” Glenn said. “But we’re going to roll up our sleeves and do what we have to do to improve our team.”
A big question the Coyotes will face is how they will keep their heads up and continue to play hard for their final four games following some tough losses. The team’s three losses in the Missouri Valley Conference have all been by seven points or less.
Senior running back Marcus Sims says staying motivated is the least of the Coyotes worries.
“We’ll keep telling the younger guys to stay focused.” Sims said. “But for me, I’m a senior so I have no choice but to finish up my last year with motivation.”
Coach Glenn and his players will have to bring their A game and possibly more to Sioux Falls this Saturday as they will host North Dakota State at Howard Wood Field.
Glenn seemed nonchalant about the prospect of traveling for a home game but did clarify the uniqueness it presents.
“It is what it is, traveling up to Sioux Fall,” Glenn said. “But it’s definitely a great venue and it’s still in our home state, so hopefully we can attract some new fans.”
North Dakota State is the reigning FCS champions and will bring some of the best competition the Coyotes will have faced in quite some while. They are coming off their first loss of the season last week to Indiana State, where they lost 17-14. 14 of Indiana States 17 points came off of interceptions, meaning the NDSU Bison defense is still strong as ever.
Glenn said their defense is what carries them.
“It is an extremely strong defense,” Glenn said. “The way they play defense is the way teams win games.”
Sims says the team will have their work cut out for them and the offense will have to execute.
“It’s a very stingy we’ll be facing,” Sims said. “But that doesn’t mean we aren’t confident and we know when we are playing our game we can move the ball on anyone.”