MACOMB, Ill.— Sampson completed 31 of 50 passes and threw three touchdowns for an offense that set season highs for points and yards (492). He connected with George Wahee on a short crossing route that went for a 51-yard touchdown on a 4th-and-5 call with less than five minutes remaining. That play gave the Leathernecks a 31-27 advantage. It came four plays after South Dakota was stopped on a 4th-and-1 run from the WIU 43.
South Dakota totaled 303 yards in the first half, but took just a 17-7 lead into halftime. The Coyotes were denied on two plays from the WIU 17 that resulted in a turnover on downs, settled for 3 after having a 1st-and-goal from the 4, and lost a fumble on another drive in Leatherneck territory. Then, after Jake Matthew blocked a WIU punt to begin the third quarter, USD was called for holding twice and had to take another 3 from Mason Lorber for a 20-7 advantage.
Those openings were just enough for Western Illinois (1-8, 1-4) to break through. They scored on five of their final six possessions to close the game including four touchdowns.
Saturday marked the final outdoor game of the season for the Coyotes, who return home to host Youngstown State at 2 p.m. Saturday inside the DakotaDome. South Dakota will play two of its final three games in Vermillion.