LAWRENCE, KAN. — After jumping out to a 7-0 lead in the first quarter, the University of South Dakota Coyotes (1-1) allowed 24 unanswered points, losing to the University of Kansas (1-0) 31-14 Saturday night in Lawrence, Kan.
The Coyote defense came out of the gates strong, forcing the three consecutive three and outs by the Jayhawks’ offense.
However, the USD offense wasn’t able to capitalize off of stout defensive play until the end of the first quarter when junior quarterback Josh Vander Maten found wide-open first-year fullback Drew Potter in the endzone, his first collegiate touchdown, to take a 7-0 lead.
The Jayhawks answered quickly in the second quarter with a one-yard rushing touchdown from senior running back James Sims, capping off a 10 play, 75 yard drive, making the score 7-7.
The Jayhawks never looked back, scoring once more before halftime off junior quarterback Jake Heaps’ pass to junior wide receiver Justin McCay for the five-yard score, the first touchdown by a Jayhawks wide receive since Oct. 22, 2011.
The Jayhawks led at halftime 14-7.
An additional rushing touchdown from Sims and a 45-yard FG by Kansas’ red shirt first-year Matthew Wyman pushed the score to 24-7.
Vander Maten managed to give the Coyotes an additional score mid-way through the fourth quarter with a nine-yard touchdown run. But, the Jayhawks marched down the field in just 1:30, scoring off an eight-yard run by junior running back Brandon Bourbon.
With the loss, the Coyotes fall to 1-1.
Despite the loss, the Coyotes’ run game was once again successful, as the team picked up 219 yards on the ground, led by Vander Maten’s 78 yards and one touchdown.
As for the Coyotes’ passing offense, drops and lack of separation continued to be a problem Saturday, making matters difficult for Vander Mater, who finished the game 8-for-18, with 67 yards and one touchdown.
USD had plenty of opportunities but couldn’t take advantage.
Kansas’ miscues included a fumble inside the Coyotes five-yard line as well as over 70 yards in penalties.
First-year kicker/punter Miles Bergner followed up a stellar performance against UC Davis with another successful game, punting the ball eight times, his longest punt being 57 yards. The Coyotes did not attempt any field goals.
The Coyotes now have a bye week before they hit the road to take on the University of Northern Arizona Sept. 21 in Flagstaff, Ariz.