After a loss to the Illinois State Cardinals last weekend, the football team defeated Southern Illinois University Salukis 42-0.
A few USD players were held from the game: senior Adam Harris, sophomore Dale Williamson and junior Danny Rambo.
Head coach Bob Nielson said at a press conference that the players were held because of “a team policy violation.”
“The suspension is indefinite,” he said.
USD quarterback Chris Streveler and SIU quarterback Sam Straub were both injured in the first half, and didn’t return for the remainder of the game.
Sophomore quarterback Austin Simmons replaced Streveler for the rest of the game to score two passing touchdowns.
Nielson said Streveler’s injury affected his upper shoulder.
“He was stiff there, but I don’t think it was anything major at this point,” he said. “Chris is a fierce competitor – if the doctor would have said it was alright, he would have played, but I think we felt we had the ability to win the football game with Austin Simmons as quarterback. Based on what the doctors are telling me now, they think he’ll be back (for the next game).”
Though Streveler was walked off the field and wasn’t present during the first half, he was seen passing the ball during halftime.
Redshirt freshman Brett Samson scored the first touchdown, a 2-yard pass from Simmons in the first quarter. Freshman Kai Henry scored a 1-yard run during the first quarter.
Another pass from Simmons, senior Alonge Brooks scored at 17 yards at two minutes remaining in the second quarter, ending the first half 21-0.
At 20 seconds remaining in the third quarter, junior Andrew Gray scored a 97-yard interception run. This was the longest interception return in Coyote football history, according to GoYotes.
Junior Michael Fredrick scored a 1-yard run in the fourth quarter, and gave the Coyotes their second interception run at 79 yards.
Gray said at a press conference that the team “knew they had to step up their game” after injuries and player holdings.
“I’m super proud of the guys who stepped in — they played really hard and pretty good,” he said. “Collectively, we all put in better effort.”
There were several members of the team who had to come through for this game, Nielson said.
“We didn’t feel our defense played very well, and I thought that unit really stepped up today,” he said.
Gray said the team was “better” this week.
“We changed up some things on defense,” he said. “On defense we tackled better, we flew around, our mentality was better than last week. I think that showed.”
Simmons said it took a bit to “get in the flow of the game” after Streveler was injured.
“It’s not the way I’d like to be playing — I don’t want Streveler to be hurt. If he can’t (play), I’ll do my best to be ready and step in and do what needs to be done,” he said.
Senior Stetson Dagel said the team brushed up on their defense and offense after their loss last weekend.
“As much as a disappointment as last week was, that just drove us that much more this week in practice to bounce back from that,” Dagel said.
The team now has seven wins.
“We put ourself in a really good spot,” Nielson said. “Everybody talks about seven wins being such a magic number. From a football standpoint, our guys realize that seven wins is seven wins.”
The Coyotes take on the University of Northern Iowa next week in Cedar Falls, IA.