USD dominated the University of North Dakota at their home opener on Saturday. This was the only meeting of two top-25 ranked teams in the FCS.
The Coyotes were coming off of an upset win over Bowling Green in Ohio on Sept. 9.
UND came into Vermillion after blanking Missouri State 34-0.
More than 9,000 attended what was supposed to be a close game.
“This isn’t last year; this is a different team,” Nielson said at a press conference after the game. “We showed that both defensively in our ability to stop them and offensively in our ability to keep moving the football and score, even though they were pressuring us and trying to do some of the same things they did a year ago.”
USD’s fast-paced offense took control early in the game and kept it through the first half.
After a nine play, 82-yard drive, USD settled for a field goal when they first touched the ball. Senior kicker Ryan Weese nailed the 21-yard field goal and put USD up three.
The Coyotes scored again on an 8-yard run. Freshman running back Kai Henry capped off a 10 play, 59-yard drive.
After a 68-yard reception by junior wide receiver Shamar Jackson, senior quarterback Chris Streveler ran in another score from 7 yards out before the first quarter ended. The Coyotes were winning 17-7 going into the second quarter.
Henry scored his second touchdown of the game after a 34-yard scamper.
Jackson scored with a 13-yard reception from Streveler 10 seconds before the half. The Coyotes headed to the locker room leading 31-0.
When the teams got back on the field, USD scored on its first possession of the second half. Streveler ran in for a 14-yard score.
The Coyote defense remained dominate, not allowing a score until the third quarter. UND WR Travis Toivonen caught a 10-yard touchdown pass from QB Keaton Studsrud, ending the chance for a shutout game for USD’s defense.
In the fourth quarter, RB Ben Klett scored on a 7-yard run with 1:49 left in the game.
USD won the game 45-7.
Henry had a big game, rushing for 80 yards and two scores.
Streveler played lights-out, passing for 290 yards and a score and rushing for 62 yards and two scores.
Redshirt freshman WR Levi Flack had 7 catches for 77 yards.
Weese was 1-2 on field goal attempts in the game, making him 1-3 on the season. He’s still perfect on extra point tries.
The Coyotes had 15 more minutes in possession time.
USD gained 575 yards over 89 plays. UND gained 257 over 55 plays.
All of the Coyote’s scoring drives lasted less than four minutes, except for its last score of the game in the fourth quarter, which lasted more than nine minutes.
UND was 1-9 on third-down conversions, and didn’t convert any of its four fourth-down conversions.
USD was 8 of 17 on third down, and converted each of their three fourth-down attempts.
Through the first three games of the season, USD has outscored its opponents 157-41.
The Coyotes are headed into their bye week before the team starts Missouri Valley play and travels to take on Western Illinois on Sept. 30.
Nielson said he prefers an earlier bye week, and there’s still work to be done.
“You want to start the conference stretch with all your bullets, although we’re not going to get them all back,” Nielson said. “We’re not preparing for a game next week, but you still have to get better. So we’ll do some things that I think will allow our guys to physically get fresh, but at the same time keep working.”
The next home game for the Coyotes will be against Youngstown State in the annual Dakota Days game on Oct. 7.