Lackluster offense crippled the University of South Dakota football team during the team’s 24-17 loss to Western Illinois University on Saturday.
The Coyotes led the Leathernecks 10-7 at halftime, but after allowing two quick touchdowns in the third quarter all momentum was lost and the team fizzled out in the second half.
Both teams were bereft of offense until an eight-yard rush by senior running back Marcus Sims at the end of the second quarter led to the games first touchdown.
After a solid performance against Illinois State on Sept. 29, Sims totaled less than 50 yards for the third time this season, running for only 40 yards on Saturday.
A blocked punt and an interception led to a pair of Western Illinois touchdowns during the third quarter giving the Leathernecks a quick 17-10 lead.
Junior wide receiver Anthony Williams transformed a broken play on third and long into a 41-yard touchdown to tie the game 17-17 going into the final quarter.
A properly placed flea flicker pass form Western Illinois quarterback Wil Lunt to a wide open Fredson Solomon led to a 66-yard touchdown with just under eight minutes remaining in the game.
A crucial stop by the Coyote defense with 2:20 remaining in the game was put to waste after sophomore quarterback Josh Vander Maten fumbled on fourth down with 1:28 remaining.
Saturday’s loss marks the Coyotes second Dakota Days loss since 2009 when California-Davis defeated USD in overtime 24-23.
The Coyotes converted just two of twelve third-down conversions during the game.
Vander Maten finished the game with 179 yards passing with one touchdown and an interception and tacked on another 67 yards rushing.
Saturday’s loss makes it three consecutive for the Coyotes, and puts them at 1-4 on the season.
USD will have the chance to end their losing streak next Saturday when they travel to Springfield, Mo. to take on Missouri State next Saturday.