News and Notes ahead of SDSU

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Full Game Notes (.pdf) | SDSU Notes (.pdf)

The basics
South Dakota (1-3, 0-1 MVFC) vs. #2/3 South Dakota State (4-1, 2-0 MVFC)
Saturday, October 8 at 2 p.m. (CDT)
Brookings, SD | Dykhouse Stadium (19340)
Television: Midco Sports (Tom Nieman, Kurtiss Riggs)
Radio: Coyote Sports Network (John Thayer, Gary Culver, Carter Woodiel)
Watch Online: Midco Sports Plus | ESPN+ (subscription required)
Series: SDSU leads 55-53-7 … South Dakota won last two … first game at Brookings since 2018

About coyotes: South Dakota is coming off a bye and in the middle of the toughest schedule to start a regular season in recent memory…has anyone faced the top three FCS teams and a Big 12 team in their first five games? … the Coyotes led NDSU 17-10 at halftime in their last outing … no one has forced more turnovers this season than CB Myles Harden (3 FF, 3 INT) … LB Stephen Hillis and Brock Mogensen are two of the three best tacklers in the Valley… RB Travis Theis reached the end zone in three straight games… Wesley Eliodor (175 yds, 2 TDs) is the team’s top receiver

About servants: SDSU has won four straight since a 7-3 loss at Iowa to open the season … which includes a 28-14 victory at the time. 4 Missouri State will begin conference play Sept. 24 … the Jacks defense allows 50 rushing yards per game on 2.0 yards per carry … this unit is led by LB Adam Bock, who finished 11th in voting for the national 2021 Defensive Player of the Year…six different Jacks have recorded an interception…RB Isaiah Davis is coming off a 199-yard, two-point effort against Western Illinois last week…QB Mark Gronowski has 13 total touchdowns in five games and averaging almost 200 yards per game through the air … Jaxon and Jadon Janke battling for top receiver numbers

Quick shots
-Saturday will be the 116th meeting in a series dating back to 1989
-This is the first time these teams have met in October since 2003. This is the first time these teams have met this early in the season since 1998.
-A lot happened in the last second of last year’s meeting
-USD Security Josh Manchigiah was on the court for the last play of last year’s game, but was not wearing red
-Five of the last six meetings have been decided by seven points or less
-CB Myles Harden forced six turnovers. There are 35 FCS teams that haven’t forced six all season.
-Seven QBs in program history have passed for 4,000 yards (Camp Carson at 3,952 yards)
-The Coyotes face the toughest FCS schedule in the country this season. Ten top-25 teams have yet to face a top-25 opponent.

The notes
South Dakota and the State of South Dakota come together for the 116th time in a series dating back to 1889. South Dakota held a 48-34-7 series lead in the late 1980s, but the Jackrabbits have won 21 of 26 games since 1990 to take their first series lead who now sits at 55-53-7. The Coyotes won the last two, scoring back-to-back series victories for the first time since 1988. South Dakota’s last win at Brookings was in 2000. Teams have played at Brookings only five times since.

South Dakota and State of South Dakota have met in every season for the past 107 years with the following exceptions:
-Three years during the First World War (1916-18)
-Three years during World War II (1943-45)
-Eight years after SDSU moved to FCS (2004-11)
-2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Here is some notes from the first 115 meetings between the two intra-state rivals:
-45 games, including five of the last six, were decided by seven points or less
-USD scored 1,973 points; SDSU scored 1,885 points
-There have been 32 shutouts, but only one since 1970
-SDSU was shut out 20 times, USD 14 times (two 0-0 draws)
-USD’s largest margin of victory is 73-7 in 1912
-SDSU’s biggest margin of victory is 61-0 in 1963
-Highest combined points scored is 90 (USD, 51-39 in 1986)
-Teams have met twice in the same season 12 times
-Programs have yet to meet in the playoffs
-A recent game was decided by a Hail Mary. This is arguably the greatest play in the series’ history.

The series last took place at Brookings in 2018. Only eight active Coyotes participated in this game, including Dalton Godfrey, which was the starting long snapper. Others include WR Jordan Sommerville (then a DB), S Isaiah McDanielsCB Cameron TisdaleKG Jonathan JoanisAND austin goehring and LT Alex Jensen (then a TE).

The eighth Coyote that participated in 2018 was safety Josh Manchigiah, who competed for the Jackrabbits from 2016-21. Manchigiah was SDSU’s second leading tackle in the 2018 contest with nine saves. He had four tackles in the 2019 game South Dakota won inside the DakotaDome. He was involved in the scrum near the end zone on the final play of last season’s game.

Manchigiah played 53 games for the Jackrabbits before entering the transfer portal at the end of last season. He started all 13 games as a junior in 2019 and led the Jacks with four interceptions during the COVID-shortened spring season in 2021. He returned this fall and helped lead SDSU to the national semifinals .

Camp Carson is back to lead the Coyote offense, Adam Bock will lead the Jackrabbit defense, but other heroes will have a chance to shine in this year’s Showdown series. SDSU offensive stars Isaiah Davis and Mark Gronowski have yet to make an appearance in this series. On the other hand, it was RB Nate Thomas (injured) and WR Jeremy Webb (transferred) who highlighted last season’s win at Vermillion while linebackers Jack Cochrane and Jacob Matthew (both graduates) led the defense. Cochrane and Matthew each had an interception in last year’s game. Webb, of course, caught the Hail Mary and Thomas rushed for 90 yards and a score.

One of the games to watch is the Coyotes run game against a Jacks defense who has not yet yielded a race of more than 15 meters. Get the sacks out and SDSU opponents have carried 116 times for 313 yards (2.7 ypc). South Dakota is averaging 143 rushing yards and expects its best linemen to come together for the first time this season. Travis Theis is the fifth rusher in the valley. He’s averaged 80 yards in his last three games and reached the end zone in all three. Shomari Laurent average 52 yards to nearly six yards per tote.

If the USD can’t establish the run then it will be in the hands of the quarterback Camp Carson who is just one game away from a game-high 355 yards and three touchdowns against Cal Poly. Camp split the ball around 13 different pass catchers. Theis (12 catches) and tight end JJ Galbreath (11) are the only Coyotes with double-digit catches. Wide Wesley Eliodor leads the team with 175 yards and two scores on nine catches. Slit man Carter Bell, who led the USD in reception last year, has four catches for 40 yards in four games. Veteran tight end austin goehring was injured in Week 2 against Montana and has yet to return to the roster.

Camp is eighth on the List of Coyotes all-time assists with 3,952 yards. Only seven quarterbacks in program history have reached 4,000 yards. Current Assistant Coach Dante Warren is seventh on the all-time list with 4,361 yards. Jason Seurer is sixth with 4,759 yards.

South Dakota returns four of the five starters on his offensive line, but these four have yet to be on the pitch at the same time this season. All-American pre-season Alex Jensen missed the season opener, but returned against Montana. departure center Joey Lombard was injured in the second half at Kansas State and has yet to return. He hopes to return to South Dakota State this week.

Injuries also impacted the Coyotes’ defense. starting linebacker Jakari Starling was injured in the season opener and did not return. Cornerback Da’Raun McKinney couldn’t go to the last two games. Best tackler Stephen Hillis played through a shoulder injury against North Dakota State. Pre-season American linebacker Brock Mogensen plays with a cast after injuring his hand against Montana.

Hillis is the Valley’s second-highest tackle with 9.8 tackles per game. He played 32 consecutive games, but didn’t get his first start until week two against Montana. He entered the roster as a starter Jakari Starling was injured at Kansas State. Hillis was injured in the first half against Cal Poly and did not return. He was back on the field for the start against NDSU and recorded 11 tackles.

In addition to Hillis, a shining star of the Coyote defense this season has been cornerback Myles Harden, who returned from a broken leg midway through last season. No one in the country has forced more fumbles than their four and three of them were recovered by the Coyotes. Only three players in the country have more steals than Harden’s three. He also ranks ninth in the Valley in tackles per game and that includes 4.0 tackles for loss.

Newcomer Michael Scott, a graduate transfer from Akron, stood out in his position as point linebacker. He leads the team with 3.0 sacks and 6.0 tackles for loss, and ranks in the top three in the conference in both categories.

Mogensen is coming off a career-high 15 tackles against top-ranked North Dakota State. It’s his second double-digit tally this season and sixth of his career. Mogensen and the Coyote defense defended 47 plays in the second half of their game against NDSU. The Coyote offense played 23 games in the second half and 55 in total in a game USD led 17-10 at halftime.

For the first time in Bob Nielsen30 years of coaching, a special teams player was elected team captain. This player is an American long snapper Dalton Godfrey, which doubles as an American academic. Godfrey is working with two new specialists this year and both are seniors. Eddie Ogambawho transferred from Iowa State before last season, won kicking duties. John Bicklewho was successful at Division III Wheaton College last year, is the punter.

South Dakota has beat a ranked team every year since 2013. The Coyotes have beaten three ranked teams a year ago in North Dakota, UNI and South Dakota State.

South Dakota was one of the 10 FCS teams who returned both a kickoff and a punt for a touchdown during the regular season last year. Wesley Eliodor had a 99-yard kickoff return against Missouri State. Carter Bell had a 47-yard punt return for a score against North Dakota State. Bell has punted 45 yards this season against Cal Poly.

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