The Coyotes Bite Back in Home Opener Victory
4 mins read

The Coyotes Bite Back in Home Opener Victory

Football faced off against the St. Thomas Tommies on Sept. 9 in the DakotaDome for their first home game of the 2023 season.

The last time these two teams played was in 1979 where the Coyotes took the win 22-6. 

South Dakota captured the win in this year’s game as well with a score of 24-0. This was the Coyotes’ first shutout since the 2019 Dakota Days game on Oct. 5 against Indiana State, when they won 38-0.

The Coyotes started in the first quarter when sophomore quarterback Aidan Bouman came off a play action set and found sophomore wide receiver Jack Martens in open space around the 10-yard line as he was able to barrel his way into the end zone to cap off the eighth play, 80-yard drive with a 30-yard touchdown.

This touchdown would end the scoring for both teams in the first half, as the Coyotes lead 7-0 going into halftime.

The Coyotes would open up the lead in the second half, going 12 plays for 59-yards ending in a 3-yard touchdown on another play action pass from Bouman. This time, it was to junior tight end JJ Galbreath as he came from the left side of the field to the right side of the field and caught Bouman’s pass in the corner of the endzone. 

The next score for the Coyotes was after a turnover for the Tommies. Tommies freshman quarterback Tak Tateoka threw a backwards pass to sophomore wide receiver Bryce Boyd that landed incomplete and fumbled on the play. The Coyotes’ junior cornerback Myles Harden recovered for his first fumble recovery of the season.

This turnover led to a 6-play 48-yard drive that ended in a 25-yard field goal from sophomore kicker Will Leyland. The score after the field goal was 17-0 in favor of South Dakota.

The Coyotes then forced another turnover as junior defensive lineman Nick Gaes was able to chase down Tateoka and force a fumble, which was then recovered by senior defensive lineman Micah Roane.

This led to just a 2-play 29-yard drive ending in a 25-yard touchdown rushing touchdown by redshirt sophomore running back Nate Thomas. On the rush, Thomas broke four tackles on his way to the endzone for his first touchdown since 2021.

The Coyotes nearly doubled the Tommies in total offensive yards as they had 309 compared to the Tommies’ 166. Both teams had over 28 minutes in time of possession. The Coyotes, however, struggled with six penalties for 60-yards to the Tommies three for 25 yards.

The Coyotes defense only allowed 3-yards per play, and the Tommies allowed only 5-yards per play. South Dakota kept the Tommie offense out of the red zone as Tateoka was not able to lead the offense inside the 20-yard line.

The Coyotes next matchup will be against the Lamar Cardinals on Sept. 16. This will be South Dakota’s final nonconference matchup.

South Dakota will begin Missouri Valley Football Conference (MVFC) play against the North Dakota State Bison in Fargo. 

The Coyotes will return home for their Dakota Days on Oct. 7 against MVFC newcomer Murray State. 

Following Dakota Days, the Coyotes will host the Penguins of Youngstown State as part of Manufacturing Appreciation Day.

South Dakota will head on the road to Terre Haute, Ind., to play the Indiana State Sycamores. 

The Coyotes will return to the DakotaDome to play their in-state rival in South Dakota State. The last time these two teams met in Vermillion, South Dakota won the game on the final play as former USD quarterback Carson Camp threw a pass in the end zone that was caught by former wide receiver Jeremiah Webb.

Following their matchup against the Jackrabbits, the Coyotes will have a rematch of their Dakota Days games against Southern Illinois in Carbondale. 

South Dakota will return home to face former Coyote Wesley Eliodor and the North Dakota Fighting Hawks. Eliodor in his South Dakota career had 52 receptions for 693 yards and eight total touchdowns. This game will also be military appreciation day & senior day.  

For South Dakota’s final regular season game, they will head to Macomb, Ill. to play Western Illinois.

Photo Credit: The Volante | Mia Vodicka