Football Dive Past Murray State in Dakota Days Victory
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Football Dive Past Murray State in Dakota Days Victory

After the Coyotes defeated No. 2 North Dakota State last week, the team traveled back home to celebrate the 106th Dakota Days. Their foe this year is Missouri Valley Football Conference (MVFC) newcomer in Murray State. 

South Dakota entered their Dakota Days game with a 3-1 record and a 1-0 record in the MVFC. Their only loss this season was to FBS No. 21 Missouri. 

On USD’s first possession of the game, sophomore quarterback Aidan Bouman found his junior tight end JJ Galbreath for an 8-yard touchdown. 

Bouman finished the day going 17 of 23 for 195 yards with the touchdown. 

On the ensuing Racers’ drive, they drove down to the Coyotes’ 35-yard line. There they were stopped and were forced to try for a field goal. Freshman kicker James London came onto the field to attempt the 53-yard field goal but missed it right. 

The Coyotes capitalized on the missed field goal by driving down the field where redshirt freshman running back Charles Pierre Jr. punched in his first collegiate touchdown in his first collegiate game. This score put the Coyotes up 14-0. 

Murray State answered the Coyotes touchdown with a 56-yard passing touchdown from redshirt sophomore quarterback DJ Williams to sophomore running back Q’Daryius Jennings as Williams directed Jennings down field and lofted the ball into his hands running at full speed. After the extra point, the Racers cut the lead down to 14-7. 

USD went on a 10 play drive which was capped off by junior running back Travis Theis as he slipped his way through the Racers’ defense and dove into the endzone. 

Both teams then traded punts which would end the half with the Coyotes on top 21-7. 

During halftime, the Dakota Days Committee announced the winners of Mr. and Miss Dakota Days. 

Mr. Dakota was announced to be USD swimmer Trevor Sinclair. As for Miss Dakota, it was Ellen Mallory. 

Returning from the half, neither team was able to move the ball as the first four possessions combined for 86 total yards. 

On the Races’ second drive of the second half, South Dakota’s junior defensive back Dennis Shorter and sophomore defensive back Shahid Barros combined to force a fumble on their own goal line. Senior linebacker Stephen Hillis recovered the ball in the endzone for a touchback. 

The Coyotes drove down the field to the Racers’ 15-yard line where they were forced to a field goal. Sophomore kicker Will Leyland made the 33-yard try to push the Coyotes lead to 24-7 with 13:48 in the fourth quarter. 

Murray State’s next drive only lasted six plays until they were forced to punt back to the Coyotes with 11:02 left in the game. 

South Dakota again capitalized as they had a eight play 65-yard drive that was punched into the endzone by Theis for his second of the game. This touchdown put the Coyotes up 31-7 with six minutes left in the match. 

South Dakota forced their second turnover on the ensuing drive as Williams’ pass was tipped in the air by senior defensive lineman Brendan Webb and was intercepted by senior linebacker Brock Mogensen. 

After the interception, Pierre Jr. scored his second touchdown of the game this time from 10 yards out. 

Murray State ran out the rest of the clock to secure the Coyotes fourth victory of the season 38-7. 

Theis finished the game with 26 rushing attempts for a career high of 190 yards rushing with two touchdowns. He also secured three catches for eight yards. 

Pierre Jr. finished his first match with 13 carries for 80 yards and two touchdowns. 

The Coyotes had seven different players catch a reception from Bouman with sophomore wide receiver Tristan Michaud leading the way with four for 53 yards. This was a career game for Michaud as his previous one being one catch for four yards. 

As for Murray State, Williams finished the day going 12 of 22 for 157 yards, a touchdown and an interception. 

Redshirt junior running back Cortezz Jones led the team in rushing as he carried the ball 13 times for 59 yards. 

This victory on Dakota Days is South Dakota’s head coach Bob Nielson’s seventh win on USD’s homecoming. The Coyotes record moves to 4-1 on the season and 2-0 in MVFC play. 

Their next match will be back at home in the DakotaDome as they host the Youngstown State Penguins on Oct. 14 at 1 p.m.

Photo Credit: Tavin Carncross | The Volante