After a hour long first quarter that saw the University of South Dakota score 17 and junior quarterback Chris Streveler throw for 163 yards and two touchdowns the Coyotes looked good. They added another two touchdowns in the second quarter to go into halftime up 31-14. The second half was another story as the Coyote offense struggled to get points on the board and Western Illinois rallied to defeat the Coyotes 35-34.
USD opened the scoring in the first quarter on a 20-yard pass from Streveler to freshman wide receiver Trystn Ducker. The Leathernecks would equal on a 55-yard touchdown run to even the game at seven. USD would add a field goal from senior Miles Bergner and Western Illinois would score again to put it at 14-10 Leathernecks.
The USD offense then seemed to find its groove as the Coyotes would rattle off 21 unanswered points. A touchdown pass from Streveler to freshman wide receiver Dakarai Allen and two touchdown runs, one from senior running back Trevor Bouma and one from Streveler, gave the Coyotes breathing room at the half.
Western Illinois came out of the break and scored two rushing touchdowns in the third to make it a close 31-28 Coyotes. Bergner would make a 21 yard field goal in the third to put the Coyotes up 34-28. With 4:33 left in the game the momentum changed. The Coyotes drove the ball to the Western Illinois one yard line and seemed primed to put the game away. On a rush just like the one that scored him a touchdown in the second quarter Bouma lost the ball and fumbled into the end zone.
Western Illinois recovered the fumble and took over on the Coyote 25 yard line. From there they drove down the field and scored with just 32 seconds left. The Coyotes managed to get to the Western Illinois 37 on their ensuing possession, but two incomplete passes meant they would have to attempt a 54 yard field goal. Bergner’s kick was just short and left and Western Illinois escaped with a 35-34 win.
Despite the loss Streveler posted good numbers, throwing for 373 yards and two touchdowns on 29-40 passing. He also ran for another 102 yards and a touchdown, Bouma had the other Coyote rushing touchdown and the senior also ran for 42 yards. Junior Brandt Van Roekel led the Coyotes in receiving with 137 yards.
On defense freshman defensive back Marchalo Judge Jr. had a strong outing with eight total tackles and one tackle for loss. Sophomore DB Danny Rambo had five total tackles and an interception with a 26 yard return.
With the loss USD falls to 4-4 on the year and 3-2 in Missouri Valley play. A win would’ve tied USD with South Dakota State University and Youngstown State for first in the conference. As it stands the Coyotes and Western Illinois both sit in the second place spot. North Dakota State University could fall into either category after their matchup with the University of Northern Iowa, with a win over the Bison the Panthers would join the Coyotes and Leathernecks in the second place tie.
The Coyotes will hit the road to take on Southern Illinois next weekend. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. on Saturday.