South Dakota Preview: Bye Week
There aren't many college football teams off to a better start to the 2017 season than the South Dakota Coyotes.
In just three weeks, USD put up 77 points in one game, then beat a FBS team, and then rolled over the number-ten team in FCS to start the year 3-0 for the first time in more than a decade.
Their early season success has come by implementing the same formula in each game - score early and often and take away the opposing team's game plan.
After three weeks, the Coyotes are outscoring their opponents 66-3 in the first quarter, with 68 percent of USD's points (45) coming on their first three drives of games.
The 45-7 upset win at home over #10 North Dakota last Saturday (September 16) was the latest example.
The first three times they touched the ball in that game, the Coyote offense went 82-yards on nine plays to kick a field goal, then marched 59-yards on ten plays to score a touchdown, followed up by a two-play 75-yard touchdown drive, keyed by a Chris Streveler to Shamar Jackson 68-yard strike on the first play.
When the day was done, Streveler had one of his best days passing the football in a USD uniform, completing 23 of his 30 attempts for 290 yards and a touchdown.
He utilized a lot of his weapons against UND. Four different players had double digits in carrries, including Kai Henry and Ben Klett, who averaged better than five yards per carry.
Streveler spread the ball around to eight different receivers, including redshirt freshman Levi Falck, who had seven catches.
Defensively, the Coyotes took advantage of an early five touchdown lead to play aggressively. USD limited UND to just 102 yards on the ground, one year after giving up 214 yards to the same team.
Andrew Gray lead the way with eight tackles, Darin Greenfield had a couple of tackles for losses, while four different Coyote defenders registered a quarterback sack.
That red hot start has catapulted USD to new heights in the FCS Polls.
For the first time at the Division I level the Coyotes are as high as 13th in the STATS Top 25, 14th in the FCS Coaches poll.
But that wave of momentum will be on hold this week as South Dakota enjoys a bye week before kicking off the Missouri Valley Conference schedule, September 30, at Western Illinois.
That will give injured players like starting left tackle Nick Jensen a chance to try and get healthy. Jensen left the UND game early with a dislocated kneecap.
I talked with Coyote head coach Bob Nielson about the North Dakota win and bye week: