BY JEREMY HOECK
As the injuries have begun to pile up for the University of South Dakota football team, the offensive line is taking perhaps the brunt of the stings.
After right tackle Derek Chancellor suffered a season-ending leg injury, center Sam McLeran might be lost for the season, according to head coach Joe Glenn.
McLeran, a redshirt freshman, has already missed time this season for the Coyotes (2-6, 0-4) with a shoulder issue.
“That’s a tough one to swallow,” Glenn said after Wednesday’s practice.
Sophomore Mike Meinert is an option to fill in at center (he did so against Northern Arizona), but he has a cast on his right hand — which of course presents issues getting the ball to the quarterback.
Junior Nick Olson is likely to move into the starting center spot, as Meinert has moved to the backup at right guard in this week’s depth chart.
Filling in for Chancellor at right tackle has been redshirt freshman Stetson Dagel.
“Derek’s a great player, but Stetson is stepping up and doing really well,” senior left tackle Matt Huffer said.
The Coyotes, though, still have two linemen — Huffer and senior right guard Andrew Schofield — who have made 31 and 27 consecutive starts, respectively.
“The offensive line is a great group of guys, we all know that if a guy goes down, the next guy has to step up,” Huffer said.
I got off to a solid start with Tuesday’s SD first-round games, going 36-4 with no more than one game wrong per class. I went 8-0 in 11A, including picking Vermillion’s “upset” of Tea Area. (Both had same power points, hard to call it an upset even though the Titans won by 27 the first time around.)
Here we got with today’s (10/30/31) and Friday’s games of interest, with commentary on the local ones. I am not picking Nebraska A, B or C1 since we do not see any of those teams, but I will pick South Dakota 11AAA.
Lincoln over RC Central, Roosevelt over Stevens, Brandon Valley over Washington, O’Gorman over Aberdeen Central. (I know, I really went out on a limb for those.)
Yankton over Huron: Huron has only beaten Yankton in football twice in the “playoff” era (since 1981), and current Yankton AD Ryan Mors was on both of those teams. (In 1991 and 1993. He said that what would have been a game-winning touchdown catch by him in 1992 was called back by penalty, giving the Tigers their only loss in a championship season.) This is probably not going to be the year the Tigers break that streak, entering with an 0-8 record.
Other Games: Brookings over Watertown, Pierre over Douglas, Harrisburg over Mitchell
Nebraska Class D1
Creighton over Twin Loup: The Bulldogs made the semifinals a year ago and would love to get back to Lincoln this year. Beating a 2-6 Twin Loup team is the first step toward that goal.
Hartington-Newcastle over Clarkson-Leigh: The new-look Wildcats looked impressive against Creighton last week after struggling in a win when I saw them earlier this season. I believe that coach Blair Kalin has the ‘Cats headed in the right direction at the right time.
Bloomfield over Scribner-Snyder: A tough first-round test for the Bees, who extended the run of consecutive playoff berths to 27 consecutive years. You have to go back four years to find the Bees’ last first-round win, but I think the twin terrors of Cody Beckmann and Quinn O’Brien change Bloomfield’s playoff fortunes.
Other Games: Elgin Public-Pope John over Neligh-Oakdale; Elm Creek over Arapahoe, Burwell over Perkins County, Blue Hill over North Central, Ansley-Litchfield over Amherst, Fullerton over Sutherland, Friend over Cross County, High Plains over Diller-Odell, Guardian Angels over Pawnee City, Howells-Dodge over Lourdes Central Cahtolic, BDS over Omaha Christian Academy
Nebraska Class D2
Wynot over Chambers-Wheeler Central: The Blue Devils lost some key components from last year’s deep playoff run, but still have some talent. It took a few weeks for them to get on track, since their toughest two games were to start the season, but they ride a six-game win streak into Chambers.
Randolph over Bancroft-Rosalie: The Cardinals hung a 66-22 decision on B-R in week 2. Don’t see anything changing.
Other Games: Exeter-Milligan over Red Cloud, Giltner over Lawrence-Nelson, Humphrey St. Francis over O’Neill St. Mary’s, Kenesaw over Meridian, Falls City Sacred Heart over Emerson-Hubbard, Stuart over Osceola, Anselmo-Merna over Southwest, Paxton over Potter-Dix, Elwood over Loomis, Sandhills-Thedford over Hitchcock County, Maxwell over Medicine Valley, Bertrand over Hay Springs, Brady over Overton, Garden County over Mullen
Nebraska Class C2 (Friday)
Sutton over Hartington Cedar Catholic: As much as I would love to pull the trigger on a Trojan upset, Sutton looks on paper like the better team.
Other Games: Battle Creek over Lutheran High Northeast, Archbishop Bergan over Malcolm, Aquinas Catholic over Gibbon, Hastings St. Cecelia over Southern, Freeman over Stanton, Oakland-Craig over Fillmore Central, North Platte St. Patrick’s over Southern Valley.
I don’t have one of those 900 lines for giving “locks,” but I like to think I know a little about football. Let’s see how I do with tonight’s S.D. football playoff games.
I will comment on the local games, others for this round will be posted without comment.
Lennox over Dakota Valley: Panthers are explosive, but have struggled at times to hold down opponents. Orioles won this won 42-20 earlier this season, and I don’t see that changing.
Vermillion over Tea Area: Tanagers are coming off two tough losses but are playing better than when they lost to the Titans 41-14 earlier this season. I think Vermillion goes on the road and pulls the upset.
Other Games: Madison over Milbank; Dell Rapids over Sisseton; West Central over CEB; Chamberlain over Todd County; Hot Springs over Pine Ridge; Belle Fourche over Little Wound
Parkston over Lead-Deadwood: The Trojans have been challenged just once this year (Canton 10-0 in week 2), and have outscored their last three opponents 145-12. Don’t look for the Golddiggers to change that trend.
Winner over Bon Homme: Tough draw for a solid 5-3 team, but Winner will end the Cavaliers’ season again this year.
Other Games: Roncalli over Redfield-Doland, Groton Area over Mobridge-Pollock; MCM over Tri-Valley; Canton over Sioux Valley; Custer over Red Cloud; St. Thomas More over Bennett County.
Elkton-Lake Benton over Menno-Marion: While the Razorbacks have looked good at times this year, I am afraid they may be outmatched by an Elks team that has scored over 40 points in each of their past three games.
WWSSC over PGDC: WWSSC hung a season-best 68 points on the Black Panthers earlier this season. While I don’t expect as many points to be scored, I don’t see the tide turning.
Other Games: Arlington over Deubrook Area; Deuel over Webster Area; Garretson over DeSmet-Iroquois; KWL over BEE; Gregory over Clark-Willow Lake; Stanley County over Lyman
Alcester-Hudson over Gayville-Volin: There are 3 7-1 teams in SD that are on the road in the first round and, unfortunately, one of them is Gayville-Volin. While the Raiders have had a good season, Alcester-Hudson might have a couple more weapons on the arsenal. I expect a great first-round game, but the Cubs will avoid the upset bid.
Howard over Viborg-Hurley: Howard’s Luke Loudenburg is just 214 yards from becoming the all-time leading rusher in SD 9-man history. He may not get it tonight, but unfortunately the 5-5, 150-pound dynamo will be too much for the Cougars to stop.
Other Games: Chester Area over Tri-State, Herried-Selby Area over Warner, Wolsey-Wessington over Colome, Potter County over Sully Buttes, Philip over Hanson, New Underwood over R.C. Christian
Avon over Burke-South Central: Avon hung 76 points on the Cougars in the opener. While the Pirates have been dinged by injuries since then, they are still a formidable team.
Canistota over Scotland: These aren’t the same Hawks that steamrolled everyone in the nine-man ranks in recent years, but they are still a tough team.
Other Games: Faulkton Area over Hitchcock-Tulare, Langford Area over Eureka-Bowdle, Hamlin over Colman-Egan, Dell Rapids St. Mary over Waverly-South Shore, Faith over Sunshine Bible, Harding County over Wall
Did I get it right? Wrong? Be sure to comment or tweet at me at @jcimburek and let me know.
Be sure to follow the SD football playoffs in the Press & Dakotan and online at http://www.yankton.net. As we have in the past, we will have coverage of all 7 championship games in the DakotaDome, Nov. 13-15.
BY JEREMY HOECK
The University of South Dakota football program has locked up another FBS game on the West Coast.
This one, though, will pocket the Coyotes more money then they’ve ever earned for a so-called ‘guarantee’ game.
South Dakota will play California on Sept. 3, 2016, according to announcements made Monday by both schools. The contract is for $550,000, USD athletic director David Herbster said.
Conversations with UC Davis and Cal Poly about potential series eventually led USD to put in some calls to Cal of the Pac-12 Conference, Herbster said.
“During that process, we became aware that Cal had an opening, so we began the conversation and it just so happened that the dates worked out,” he said.
That was over the summer, but Cal wanted to wait and release the USD game with a handful of other upcoming games — which Cal did in Monday’s release.
The Coyotes, who opened this season at Oregon for a $525,000 guarantee, now have FBS games secured for 2015 (Kansas State), 2016 (Cal) and 2020 (Iowa State).
The game with the Cal Golden Bears will also mark the third consecutive season USD will play a game on the West Coast. The Coyotes are scheduled to return to UC Davis on Sept. 12, 2015.
“We’ve played plenty of games out there, and we’ve seen through that, that we have a big alumni base out there,” Herbster said.
Playing Cal, rather than say UC Davis or Cal Poly, might entice more of those graduates to attend, he added.
“This one is more of a destination game; more of a draw,” Herbster said.
South Dakota’s schedule for 2015 is set, according to Herbster. The Coyotes will transition back to 11 games because of the calendar (available weekends), and will visit Kansas State and UC Davis, and host Drake, in the non-conference. Then comes eight Missouri Valley contests.
BY JEREMY HOECK
There weren’t going to be many bright spots for the University of South Dakota football team when it came to playing North Dakota State.
It’s a game where you look to find anything positive to take away.
The Bison rolled past the Coyotes 47-7, just like the three-time defending national champions have done to many teams throughout their 32-game winning streak.
It was a game I pointed out a couple times last week where USD was just going to have to set small, attainable goals. And keeping with that thought, the Coyotes were able to check off a few of those.
• Well, for starters, USD finally scored against the Bison. It took until the third meeting, but the Coyotes found the end zone — on a Riley Donovan 10-yard catch from Kevin Earl in the second quarter.
• The Coyotes forced three punts, including on the game’s opening drive.
• The Coyotes forced the Bison to kick (and make) four field goals from Adam Keller. Small victories right there.
• USD executed a successful fake punt, on an 18-yard pass from Miles Bergner to Jordan Roberts.
• The Coyotes were able to get pressure on NDSU quarterback Carson Wentz. USD picked up its second sack of the season (from Auston Johnson), and knocked Wentz to the turf a couple other times.
But that was about it.
The Bison dominated the Coyotes yet again, to the tune of 524 yards of total offense — nearly 300 more than USD — and forced three turnovers (a fumble and two interceptions).
There weren’t exactly new problem areas that popped up for the Coyotes, at least from what head coach Joe Glenn referenced after the game.
Among the issues, again, were offensive turnovers (3) and defensive takeaways (0).
“It’s a hard defense to go against to downgrade your linemen,” Glenn said.
During that post-game press conference (which had a capacity crowd in one of the DakotaDome classrooms), Glenn talked at length about what, in his eyes, has made NDSU successful. And not just in recent years, but over its history.
Glenn referenced fan support, financial support, facilities strength and recruiting as keys for the Bison during their most recent championship run.
On the issue of recruiting, Glenn called NDSU “positive recruiters” in that the Bison “never speak down about your school. They’re always positive about their program.”
And yes, the Coyotes and Bison battle for the same kids quite frequently. Two of them, linebacker Nick DeLuca and receiver R.J. Urzendowski, both played key roles in Saturday’s outcome. DeLuca had a game-high 12 tackles with an interception, while Urzendowski caught four passes for 107 yards and a touchdown.
Both are from Omaha, Nebraska, and yes, both were recruited by USD — and some other schools.
An area the Coyotes continue to work on in recruiting is athleticism, Glenn said.
“I’ll just flat out tell you. If you’ve got good athletes, they’ll create turnovers,” he said. “And we’re not athletic enough on the field.”
Glenn referenced Tyler Starr’s speed as an example of what USD is looking for.
“Those are things we’ve got to recruit, get guys who can break on the ball a little bit faster.”