One week into the 2013 season, and the University of South Dakota Coyotes are already in the win column.
The defense led by sophomore Keyen Lage helped the Coyotes match all of last year’s win total by beating the University of California-Davis 10-7 in a defensive struggle.
It wasn’t the cleanest of games, but junior quarterback Josh Vander Maten agreed that a “W” is a “W” on the Coyotes’ record.
“We didn’t play perfect today, and at times, it wasn’t pretty,” Vander Maten said. “But we did what we needed to and got the win.”
The first half was about as ugly for both teams, with numerous penalties, turnovers, missed field goals and drops.
Aggies head coach Ron Gould said the mistakes were just too much to overcome for his football team.
“We felt fully prepared coming into the game today but for whatever reason we were making some critical mistakes,” Gould said. “We’re just going to have to work hard in practice to correct them.”
USD started the scoring off when Vander Maten scrambled in from three yards out early in the second quarter. The Aggies missed a big opportunity as the clock expired at halftime when Coyotes captain and senior defensive back Aaron Swift blocked a 20-yard field goal attempt.
The second half was all defense for both teams until first-year kicker and punter Miles Bergner iced the game for the Coyotes by connecting on a 39-yard field goal to give USD a 10-0 lead with under eight minutes to go. The Aggies were able to punch in a one-yard touchdown late in the fourth but wouldn’t end up getting the ball back.
The key cogs on offense for the Coyotes came from the debuts of redshirt first-year running backs Trevor Bouma and Jordan Roberts. Bouma had 95 yards on 17 carries while Roberts had 67 yards on 10 carries. The Coyotes’ leading receiver was senior Terrance Terry, 48 yards on four catches.
Head Coach Joe Glenn said this week was just one game, but it was a very nice win for his Coyotes.
“Oh man, am I going to sleep good for the next week now,” Glenn said. “This is my school and they deserve a win. The fans, administration and coaches all deserve it, but the players truly do the most, and I am so happy for them.”
Senior safety Devin Taverna said the defense is going to be much improved this season, after being a massive weakness during last year’s dismal 1-10 season.
“Today really showed that we can be a good defense,” Taverna said. “Having a shutout through three and a half quarters is pretty impressive. It wasn’t just a certain group today either, it was a total team effort from the defense.”
Keyen Lage was all over the field for the Coyotes, filling up the stat sheet with eight tackles, one sack and a pass break-up.
The Coyotes have their toughest test of the season next week, as they travel to take on Kansas next Saturday, Sept. 7.
Vander Maten said having some momentum is going to help them out next week.
“Getting this win was big for us. Getting that first win was important,” Vander Maten said. “Now, we play Kansas and I know we’re all excited. We’ll give them our best effort and try to get a W.”