South Dakota is off to a fast start in the Missouri Valley Conference and the Coyote defense played a key role in Saturday's (September 29) league-opening win at Southern Illinois.

One of the standouts in Carbondale was senior safety Andrew Gray, who is this week's MVFC Defensive Player of the Week.

The Lenox, Illinois native returned to his home state and made 14 tackles, including one for a loss, and made a key interception in the Coyotes 31-24 victory.


Gray’s pick came with the Salukis driving and USD nursing a seven-point lead in the third quarter. He picked off quarterback Sam Straub at the Coyote 11 yard line and the South Dakota offense needed just two plays to convert the turnover into a touchdown on an Austin Simmons to Dakarai Allen touchdown pass.

Gray and his twin brother Alex each have a player of the week honor this season. Alex captured his in the opening week of the season after an interception, fumble recovery, and two sacks against Kansas State.

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