It was revenge two years in the making Saturday afternoon when USD beat No. 11 ranked University of Northern Iowa 28-25 in a close Dakota Days game in the DakotaDome.
The Coyotes came out of the gate early with a huge 69-yard rushing touchdown by USD quarterback Chris Streveler in the first two minutes of the game, setting the tone for the game that was much different than when USD was beat 27-16 by UNI two years ago on Dakota Days. The UNI Panthers were quick to respond though, getting a touchdown of their own after a short series took them up the field and a short pass put them in the end zone.
Responding back and forth to scores was the name of the game for the two teams, with both the Panthers and Coyotes trading touchdowns throughout the first half. At half USD led 21-17.
In the second half, the Coyotes held out against the Panthers with a strong defense shutting down UNI’s passing offense. A missed 37-yard field goal by UNI late in the fourth quarter would give USD the win.
“I thought today was probably one of our better executed offensive games we’ve had. Obviously there’s still a lot of stuff that we have to clean up and I’m excited to get back to work today,” Streveler said. “You know you get those big plays at the beginning and you just got to be able to sustain drives and whatnot and not have to rely on the big play but I mean you love to get them when you’ve got them. I’m really happy with how the offense did and it always helps when the O-line is blocking like they did.”
Sophomore wide receiver Tacari Carpenter said even with the big win over UNI, the Coyotes are looking to improve.
“I think we can do better than what we did today honestly,” he said. “Today we just executed and finished when we needed to, but we didn’t reach our goal today. We want to score more points than that honestly.”
For senior defensive lineman Colin Mertlik, the win over UNI on D-Days was a special occasion, but he said USD won’t let the win go to their heads and will continue to work on improving for future games.
“This is the first time that we’ve won on D-Days in front of a crowd like that. Thinking like that it feels pretty good, but from a big win standpoint we go into every game expecting we can win each game,” he said. “So obviously it feels good, I’m feeling great right now, but I wouldn’t really say it’s any bigger than any other game because in this conference you have to do your work, do your job and move forward to the next week.”
With the win, the Coyote advance 2-4 on the season and will take on Indiana State next Saturday in Indiana.