South Dakota

News and Notes ahead of UNI

Full Game Notes (.pdf) | UNI notes (.pdf)

The basics
UNI (MVFC 5-5, 4-3) at South Dakota (MVFC 3-7, 2-5)
Saturday, November 19 at 1pm (CST)
Vermilion, SD | Dakota Dome (9,100)
TV: Midco Sports (Jay Elsen, Andre Fields)
Radio: Coyote Sports Network (John Thayer, Gary Culver, Carter Woodiel)
Watch Online: FREE Webcast Here | ESPN+ ($) | Midco Sports Plus ($)
Streak: UNI leads 30-20-1…USD won 34-21 at Cedar Falls last season

About the coyotes: South Dakota is looking to end its season with a third straight home win…the Coyotes have averaged 25 points in four home games compared to 10 points in six road trips…the team takes a look at RS newcomer QB Aidan Boumann who is expected to make his fourth collegiate start… Bouman has passed 760 yards so far with seven TDs against a turnover… Wesley Elodor caught a Bouman touchdown toss in four straight games… Carter bell caught three TDs in the last two weeks…RB Travis Theis borne a heavy burden all season…defense missed CB Myles Hardenbut shows the two lead tacklers in the Valley in Stephen Hillis and Brock Magensen

About the Panthers: It was a season that could have been for UNI. The Panthers lost by two points in North Dakota, two points at home to Illinois State, and last week they had a penalty on a field goal attempt that cost them a chance to play overtime against SDSU… UNI competes with the No. #1 in the Valley on offense led by the #1 in the Valley…Theo Day is averaging 274 passing yards per game and has 21 TD passes against 6 INTs…Dom Williams and Vance McShane split carries…Sam Schnee and Deion McShane pace a deep pace receiving room…defensively UNI has averaged 400 yards

Fast hits
– South Dakota will honor 11 seniors in a pregame ceremony on Saturday. Six have been in the program for five years or more.
-South Dakota hosts UNI for the first time since 2018
-The Coyotes are ranked 34th in the Massey Ratings with the toughest schedule strength in FCS
-LBs Stephen Hillis (101 duels) and Brock Magensen (96 tackles) is fighting to be the Valley’s leading tackler this season
Aidan Boumann is expected to make his fourth collegiate start at quarterback
-WR Wesley Elodor has caught a touchdown in four straight games. He is the first USD player since 2005 (Derek Gearman).
-USD UNI led 24-0 at halftime and won 34-21 at last year’s Cedar Falls meeting
– The Coyotes have converted 14 of 23 third-downs in the past two weeks (30 of 107 in Games 1-8).

The notes
South Dakota hosts UNI Seniors Day Saturday at the Dakota Dome. The Coyotes honor 11 seniors and it’s certainly a unique and diverse group. Eight of the 11 seniors are in their sixth season of college football. Josh Manchigiah, the South Dakota State transfer, was in its seventh season. Four have been with the Coyotes for six years, two for five years and four are completing their freshman year with USD. Seniors list includes: John Bickel, Dalton Godfrey, Austin Goehring, Alex Jensenjosh manchigian, Isaiah McDaniels, Eddie Ogamba, Parker Rickert, Michael Scott, Trevor Shohoney and Cameron Tisdale.

Jensen participated 48 games at USD. Godfrey played in 46, McDaniels in 45, Goehring in 44 and Tisdale in 42.

South Dakota is 3-1 at home this season with the lonely loss of then-no. 1 North Dakota State in a game the Coyotes led 17-14 at halftime. The Coyotes have averaged 25 points and 372 yards of offense in the DakotaDome. The defense has forced seven turnovers in four home games versus six turnovers in six away games. Individually, Wesley Elodor has caught a touchdown pass in all four home games. Travis Theis averaged 83 yards for rushing and scored in three of four games. Brock Magensen has logged 42 tackles in the DakotaDome.

Eliodor has caught 18 passes for 272 yards with four touchdowns in the last four games when the Coyotes’ passing game went to quarterback Aidan Boumann. Eliodor is the first Coyote at the Division I level Catch a touchdown pass in four straight games. The latest Coyote to do so is Derek Gearman, who had a touchdown in eight straight games with quarterback Wesley Beschorner in 2005.

Bouman will make his fourth collegiate start on Saturday. He threw for 151 yards and a career-high three touchdowns last week in North Dakota. Bouman has thrown for 760 yards and seven touchdowns with a lost fumble in just over three and a half games. He’s 2-0 at the DakotaDome, including the come-from-behind win over Southern Illinois at Dakota Days, where he made his collegiate debut.

Carter bell is the other recipient who has benefited from the new arm. Bell was the team’s leading receiver last year but had seven catches for 69 and no points in six games. He has 15 catches for 186 yards and three touchdowns in his last four games.

Travis Theis and Shomari Lawrence have made almost all handovers this season. Mike Mansaray had three carries before injuring himself in the second game. Cole Stentrom’s eight carries are mostly down to direct snaps. Theis and Lawrence have combined for 126 rushing yards and 8 touchdowns in 10 games. Theis is the fifth leading rusher in the Valley at 76 yards per game.

Before you delve too deep into South Dakota’s offensive standings this season, consider that South Dakota faced Kansas State in the opener as well #2 (SDSU), #5 (NDSU), #7 (Montana), and #17 (Illinois State) FCS Defense in half of his 10 games.
Another factor is that the Coyotes are tightening up more consistently, going 57 offensive plays per game. For comparison, USD averaged 67 games per game in 2020 and 2021 and 81 games per game in 2017 and 2018. Last week’s game in North Dakota had just seven offensive possessions apiece. The Coyotes scored touchdowns on three of them.

Speaking of tough competitionSouth Dakota ranks 34th out of 130 FCS teams in this week’s Massey Ratings, and that’s because South Dakota is up against the toughest FCS schedule (ever?).
Compare South Dakota at No. 34 to one of its opponents from early 2023, St. Thomas. The Tommies are 9-1 and the AFCA Coaches poll has them in the top 25 this week. The computer (Massey) ranks St. Thomas No. 76. Why? The Tommies, who compete in the Pioneer League without a scholarship, are ranked 127th (out of 130). They have two Division II wins and their best FCS win, Davidson, sits at No. 97. Their only loss was a 44-13 decision against No. 69 Southern Utah. South Dakota’s six FCS losses all go to top-31 teams. It boasts wins against No. 22 Southern Illinois and No. 29 Missouri State.

South Dakota 34-21 victory over then-no. 16 UNI last year in Cedar Falls did much to help the Coyotes reach the FCS playoffs. South Dakota led 24-0 at halftime in that game after two turnovers and a blocked punt. UNI cut the lead to 24-14 in the third quarter, but USD responded with a field goal and an A Nate Thomas touchdown run. Theis carried 29 times for 113 yards and a touchdown for South Dakota. Theo Day was 24 of 35 for 303 yards and two touchdowns and two interceptions for UNI. The Panthers rushed for 90 yards, 62 of which came on a Vance McShane touchdown run to start the second half.

Due to COVID-19, the last two games of this series were held in Cedar Falls. this is that The Panthers’ first trip to Vermillion since 2018. Since South Dakota’s transition to Division I in 2008 (2011, 2020), the teams have met every year except for two.

linebacker Stephen Hillis leads the valley and ranks 10th nationally in tackles per game (101 in 10 games). Impressively, Hillis was not in the starting XI at the start of the season. He entered when Jakari Star was injured in the Kansas state season opener. Hillis also didn’t play most of the game against Cal Poly when a first-half injury forced him out. Hillis is tied for the team lead in both sacks (3.0) and tackles-for-loss (7.0).

Brock Magensen is an all-conference linebacker and an all-American preseason player who plays alongside Hillis. He had a career-high 15 tackles in the Valley opener against NDSU and has 10 or more stops in half of 10 games this season. Mogensen is currently second in the Valley with 96 tackles. UNI’s Spencer Cuvelier is third with 90 tackles.

The Coyotes have been absent at second cornerback without their brightest star on defense for the past four weeks Myles Harden, who led the nation with six forced turnovers in just four games. Harden is responsible for nearly half of the Coyotes’ 13 turnovers this season.
Harden led the nation in passes defended per game in the COVID-shortened season. He’s had nine in six games this season.

With Harden, the Coyote secondary has received a boost on the return Tre Jackson at cornerback. Jackson had made 12 consecutive starts before his absence at the end of last season. The road game at Youngstown State three weeks ago was his first game back and he has started the last two games.

For the the first time in Bob Nielsen30 years coaching, a special teams player was elected team captain. This player is an all-American long snapper Dalton Godfrey, doubling as an academic All-American. Godfrey is working with two new Specialists this year and both are seniors. Eddie Ogambawho transferred from Iowa State before last season makes the kick. John Bickelwho thrived at Division III Wheaton College last year is the player.

Bickle is among the Valley’s all-time leaders with a 42-yard average, and the Coyotes rank 16th nationally in net punting, a category in which the program long ranked high behind Miles Bergner and Brady Schutt. The Coyotes led the nation in net punting during the COVID-shortened season.

Ogamba is 7-11 on field goals this season. He hit a career-long 46-yard field goal and a game-winning 44-yarder against Southern Illinois on homecoming. Ogamba has 24 touchbacks on 38 kickoffs.

Last week’s difficulties for special teams in North Dakota were certainly an anomaly, but a costly one. A blocked punt, a missed extra point, and a blocked extra point made up the nine-point difference in the Hawks’ 28-19 win. The Coyotes have blocked two punts this season, and Ogamba has missed three extra points in the last two games.

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