BY JEREMY HOECK
VERMILLION — Pass rush was the one key difference in Saturday’s meeting between the University of South Dakota and Northern Iowa.
In short: The Coyotes struggled to contain the pressure from the No. 21-ranked Panthers, who won 27-16 on Dakota Days in Vermillion.
Northern Iowa recorded seven sacks and picked off two passes against USD, which fell to 2-4 overall and 0-2 in the Missouri Valley.
“The game was won in the trenches, and their front seven was just sensational,” Coyote head coach Joe Glenn said.
Not only did the Panthers sack USD quarterback Kevin Earl seven times, they got to him on a handful of other times — pushing their way right through the Coyote offensive line.
“That’s a lot of sacks,” Earl said. “It wasn’t all of my o-line’s fault, I could have gotten out of a few of them.”
And once again, the Coyote defensive line did not record a sack.
This season, opponents have amassed 20 sacks against USD, while the Coyotes have one (from Drew Iddings).
While injuries have limited a couple defensive linemen for USD, there was bound to be a little bit of a drop-off after Tyler Starr graduated and found a home in the NFL.
“It’s just who we got,” Glenn said. “It tells you how good that guy last year was, doesn’t it? We sure miss him.”
Having only one sack on the season doesn’t exactly mean the Coyotes aren’t bringing any pressure, the coach added.
“We get a lot of push with (Iddings), and (Keyen) Lage can come pretty good off the edge,” Glenn said, “but we’re just of young with the rest of the guys.
“Maybe if you send more guys, but then you’ve got an all-new secondary.”