News and Notes before Youngstown State

Full Game Notes (.pdf) | Youngstown State Notes (.pdf)

The basics
South Dakota (MVFC 2-5, 1-3) in Youngstown State (MVFC 4-3, 2-2)
Saturday Oct 29 at 1pm (CDT)
Youngstown, Ohio | Stambaugh Stadium (20,630)
TV: KELOXTRA
Radio: Coyote Sports Network (John Thayer, Gary Culver, Carter Woodiel)
Watch Online: ESPN+ ($)
Streak: YSU leads 7-2…home team has won the last five games…YSU is 5-0 all-time in Ohio

About the coyotes: South Dakota rallied to beat Southern Illinois on homecoming last week to keep its FCS playoff hopes alive…QB Aiden Bouman came on late in the first half from a 21-7 deficit and led two back-to-back goal drives to close the gap to 21-17….RBs Travis Theis and Shomari Lawrence both surpassed 100 yards and rushed against Southern Illinois…LBs Stephen Hillis (1.) and Brock Magensen (3rd) are two of the top three tacklers in the Valley…CB Myles Harden has forced six turnovers this season but missed the start last week due to injury and is doubtful for Saturday

About the penguins: At Youngstown State, Jaleel McLaughlin is the nation’s leading rusher, averaging nearly eight yards per carry…McLaughlin is averaging 152 yards per game and has hit 200 in each of his last two games…Mitch Davidson, junior in fifth year, QB took on duties early in conference play and has passed an average of 241 yards over the past three weeks… Bryce Oliver, who started his career in Kentucky, has benefited the most from the change… he’s had one in each of the last TD caught three weeks and fourth in the Valley in receiving (70 ypg)…Dylan Wudke and James Jackson combined for seven sacks and 14.5 TFL for a defense that ranks 49th in yards per game nationally

Fast hits
– South Dakota is seeking its first Youngstown State win in six attempts and its first road win this season
-The teams last met in March 2021 and before that in autumn 2019
– The Coyotes are ranked 30th in the Massey Ratings with the toughest schedule in FCS
-USD scored 20 points (2 TDs, 2 FGs) on seven drives by Aiden Bouman in last week’s win
Travis Theis and Shomari Lawrence both rushed for 100 yards against SIU’s ninth-ranked running defense last week
-CB Cameron Tisdale forced two turnovers last week and is the reigning MVFC Defensive Player of the Week
-LB Stephen Hillis leads Valley and ninth nationally in tackles per game (10.0)
– South Dakota must win its last four games to qualify for the postseason

The notes
South Dakota last week kept its hopes of back-to-back FCS playoff appearances with a 27-24 win over then-No. 14/17 Southern Illinois at homecoming weekend in Vermillion. It halted the Salukis’ five-game winning streak, which had begun with a win in the Big Ten Northwest. It also avenged a FCS playoff loss to Southern Illinois at the DakotaDome last November.

The big news from Saturday was the insertion of the quarterback Aidan Boumann late in the first half when South Dakota was a large deficit in yards and on the scoreboard. Aside from a snap against SDSU where he simply took a knee, it was Bouman’s collegiate debut. He led USD to a field goal on his first drive and threw for a 15-yard touchdown Wesley Elodor to cap his second, which cut Southern Illinois’ 21-7 lead to 21-17 early in the second half. Bouman finished 11 of 17 for 120 yards and the Coyotes rallied for the win.

head coach Bob Nielsen did not commit to naming a starter for Saturday’s game in Youngstown State during its Tuesday press conference. Second graders in third year Carson camp has started all 23 games since arriving on campus and helped lead the Coyotes to the playoffs last year. He has passed a career-high 355 yards and was responsible for four touchdowns against Cal Poly earlier this season. But in the other six games this season, he’s 60 of 118 for 549 yards and a touchdown against five interceptions and the offense has 40 points overall. Still, Camp is the program’s eighth-leading passer with 4,123 passing yards.

No matter who takes the first snaps on Saturday, South Dakota remains a run-first offensive with two capable backs Travis Theis and Shomari Lawrence. Both put on their best performances of the season and they faced one of the best running defenses in the country. Lawrence carried 11 times for a career-high 122 yards. Theis ran 21 times for a season-high 108 yards. Both found the end zone. They’ll be trying to break down a Youngstown State defense that has given up 169 yards rushing per game with nine touchdowns in four Valley contests.

Run-game success coincided with USD’s offensive line consistency. Left tackle Alex Jensen missed the first game of the year and rebuilt to full strength. center Joey Lombard went down in game one and didn’t come back until game five. Last week marked the third time USD introduced all five of its starting lineup this season. Coyote quarterbacks have been sacked four times in their last two games, compared to 22 times in their first five.

Before you look at South Dakota’s offensive rankings this season, consider that South Dakota, in addition to Kansas State, in the opener against the No. 3 (SDSU), No. 10 (NDSU), No. 11 (Montana) and No. 11 (Montana) competed. 13 (Illinois State) FCS defense in five of their seven games.
Another factor is that the Coyotes are running 57 offensive plays per game. In comparison, the USD averaged 67 games per game in 2020 and 2021, and 81 games per game in 2017 and 2018. In fact, the USD made its first consistent move into the market two weeks ago Bob Nielsentenure.

Speaking of stiff competition, South Dakota is ranked 30th out of 130 FCS teams in this week’s Massey Ratings. The Coyotes are one of two losing teams in the top 34, and that’s because South Dakota faces the toughest FCS schedule (ever?).
Compare South Dakota in 30th place to one of its opponents from early 2023, St. Thomas. The Tommies are 6-1 and this week’s AFCA Coaches poll ranks them No. 28. The computer (Massey) ranks St. Thomas No. 92. Why? The Tommies, who compete in the Pioneer League without a scholarship, are ahead of 129th place (out of 130). They have two Division II wins and their best win, Davidson, is at No. 95. Southern Illinois is No. 12. South Dakota is up against one of seven opponents outside the top 22.

South Dakota’s recent trip to Youngstown wasn’t pretty. Jaleel McLaughlin rushed for 166 yards, the Penguins overtook the Coyotes 303-12 and Youngstown State won 28-10 in the Coyotes’ fourth and final game played during the COVID-shortened 2021 spring season. Carson camp passed for 214 yards to lead South Dakota and Brock Magensen had nine tackles for a Coyote defense that forced two turnovers.

The last trip from Youngstown State to Vermillion wasn’t pretty. Kai Henry ran 13 times for 130 yards, the Coyotes overtook the Penguins 327-66 and South Dakota won 56-21 in one of the final games of the 2019 regular season. Jaleel McLaughlin dismantled the Division II defense for the Notre that year lady college. Coyote quarterback Austin Simmons passed for 180 yards and four touchdowns.

Youngstown State’s running game is the second largest in the Valley after North Dakota State. No FCS team could stop McLaughlin or keep him out of the end zone. South Dakota posted a career-high 10 tackles from defensive tackles last week Blake Holden and it will take similar effort along the front seven of the coyotes to slow the penguins.

The Coyotes’ defensive strength has come against the pass. Only one team – Cal Poly – has achieved 200 yards passing against USD. Southern Illinois threw it 44 times last week for 190 total yards. Kansas State went for 95 against the Coyotes.

linebacker Stephen Hillis ranks ninth nationally in tackles per game (70 in seven 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 leads the Coyotes with 3.0 sacks and is second with 6.5 tackles-for-loss.

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 added a game-high 10 stops against Illinois State. He recovered a fumble and returned it 37 yards to set up a 6-yard touchdown drive against Southern Illinois last week. Mogensen currently ranks third in the Valley in tackles per game.

The Coyotes’ brightest star defensively was the sophomore cornerback Myles Harden, who led the nation with six forced turnovers that occurred last week but did not play against Southern Illinois because of an injury. Harden led the nation in passes defended per game in the COVID-shortened season. He is in ninth place nationally for the passes currently defended. Coach Nielson said Harden is in doubt about returning for Saturday’s game in Ohio.

Nielson has boasted about the strength and depth of his secondary education all season and last week was the most recent example. Without Harden, it was a fellow cornerback Cameron Tisdale who earned the start and ended up being named MVFC Defensive Player of the Week. Tisdale forced two turnovers – a fumble and an interception – that turned South Dakota’s offense into touchdowns in the 27-24 win.

Inside for the first time Bob NielsenIn 30 years of coaching, a special teams player has been 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 prior to last season, won the kicking duties. John Bickelwho thrived at Division III Wheaton College last year is the player.

Bickle has the second-best punting average in the league, and the Coyotes rank seventh nationally in net punting, a category in which the program has long ranked high behind Miles Bergner and Miles Bergner Brady Schuett. The Coyotes led the nation in net punting during the COVID-shortened season.

Ogamba gives his best performance as Coyote. He had a career 46-yard field goal and a game-winning 44-yarder against Southern Illinois. Ogamba has received 18 touchbacks on 25 kickoffs.



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