As kicker Miles Bergner lined up the game-winning field goal, it must have seemed surreal to players, coaches and fans at the Fargodome. They were seeing their Coyotes pull off the most stunning victory in the FCS this season.
We know the numbers leading up to the contest. NDSU had outscored USD 143-7 in their previous three contests. USD had lost 14 straight conference games. And NDSU had already lost their one game for the season. There’s no way this year was the time for an upset.
I suspect most Coyote fans following from afar were checking score updates on their phones expecting that at any moment NDSU would open up a two-score lead in the second half. That never happened.
Now, the USD athletic department is in celebration. Students all shared, liked and tweeted the postgame stories. SDSU fans clapped sarcastically at USD for finally proving their football team was relevant.
That’s what one week of winning does. It rids an entire program of its recently gloomy past. Or does it?
The struggles and the frustrations around the football team do not simply disappear with an unlikely road win.
USD still has an attendance problem. That’s not going to change this week. It’s Hobo Day weekend at SDSU, and as much as the schools might celebrate a rivalry, many USD students will be making the trek to Brookings rather than to student tailgate at the DakotaDome.
Sure, the win guarantees the Coyotes finish with an improved record, but Joe Glenn’s team won three games two seasons ago. Three wins shouldn’t be a celebration as much as an easily-reachable standard.
And looking at the team, they’ve lost an important piece after news of Trevor Bouma’s season-ending injury. The Coyotes have a huge hole in their offense to fill.
I’m not trying to downplay the weekend’s exciting upset. I sat just as shocked and excited as any of my fellow USD students as I watched that kick go through the uprights.
I’m just thinking, “Let’s give it a week before we claim USD has arisen from the ashes.”
There are still games to win.