USD earns first win of the season at Northern Colorado

GREELEY, Colo.—South Dakota’s offense mustered two long touchdown drives while the defense limited Northern Colorado to 219 yards of offense in a 14-6 Coyote victory Saturday at Nottingham Field.

South Dakota quarterback Austin Simmons threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Connor Herrmann in the first half and Ben Klett rumbled for a 12-yard score early in the fourth quarter to produce the Coyotes’ two touchdowns. Both drives were 13 plays and 70-plus yards.

Defensively, the Coyotes (1-3) sacked Northern Colorado quarterback Jacob Knipp five times and limited running back Milo Hall to 73 yards on 20 carries. The sacks came from five different players, but the big ones came from Stephen Hillis and Jakari Starling on third-down plays in the fourth quarter that forced the Bears to punt.

It was 7-0 when Hall ran in from five yards out with 4:47 left in the third quarter to produce Northern Colorado’s lone score. It capped a 7-play, 80-yard drive aided by a pair of personal fouls. Hall ran five times for 20 yards on the possession. But Kameron Cline blocked the extra point to keep South Dakota in the lead.

Simmons accounted for 59 yards on a 13-play, 87-yard drive that extended the lead to 14-6 with 12:15 remaining. Tight end Austin Goehring made a tough 6-yard catch on 3rd-and-5 at the start of the possession, and Klett’s run to the end zone came on 3rd-and-2. Simmons was 5-for-6 on the drive for 38 yards and used designed runs to gain 21 more.

The Bears (0-4) had two drives for a tying score. They reached the USD 31 with nine minutes left before Hillis blew through the line untouched for a 10-yard sack on 3rd-and-16. Cline and Starling produced back-to-back sacks on Northern Colorado’s final possession to force a punt with less than five minutes to play.

The Coyotes’ offensive line delivered the win from there. Klett had an 11-yard run for a first down, Simmons ripped off back-to-back carries of 9 and 14 yards, and Canaan Brooks helped milk the final seconds off the clock. South Dakota ran for a season-best 200 yards on the day.

Balance filled the box score. Simmons had 63 yards even after four sacks, Kai Henry ran nine times for 60 yards, Brooks had 43 yards and Klett totaled 26 on his three totes. Simmons connected with 12 different receivers and was 26 of 43 for 185 yards. Caleb Vander Esch had four catches for 21 yards. Randy Baker had three catches for 26.

Knipp finished 18 of 36 for 184 yards. Jaren Mitchell caught four passes for 70 yards to lead the Bears.

South Dakota is off next week and will next host Indiana State on Dakota Days weekend Oct. 5 inside the DakotaDome.