A battle for the title: USD meets NDSU with a share of the MVFC Conference title on line

KELOLAND.com Original

FARGO, N.D. (KELO) — Following their win over SDSU, the USD football team has a shot to grab a share of the Missouri Valley Football Conference title, which would be their first in their time as a Division One team.

USD picked up 23-20 win over in state rival SDSU via a Hail Mary on the game’s final play on Saturday, November 13.

“Honestly, Sunday when we met, there was a little celebration regarding the win like we always do on Sunday after a win, but it was a group that was ready to move on,” USD head coach Bob Nielson said. “The opportunity that we have and who we’re playing makes that just that much easier to move your team forward.”

“I don’t know if I’ll make much of how they won, but I will bring up that I know they’re a confident group right now and they believe they can beat anybody,” NDSU head coach Matt Entz said. “If you get a team to believe, they’ll think they can win every game and this team right now thinks they can.”

Freshman quarterback, Carson Camp, was solid for the Coyotes as he completed 19 passes for 288 yards and two touchdowns. However, Camp left the game a couple of times due to an injury, but it appears to be short term.

“He’s actually feeling good. He got banged around there on that first play and just kind of come out to get regrouped there,” Nielson said. “I thought he played maybe his best game. Once he got back in there after that drive, that initial drive, I thought he was very composed in the pocket. I thought he made good decisions throwing the football.”

“I thought South Dakota State had decent pressure on him, but he didn’t seem to get rattled, he got the ball out, he took some big hits. He must be a relatively tough kid, standing in the pocket,” Entz said. “I think he’s a really solid quarterback. I thought he was decent last year when we were preparing for him and watching him against Illinois State thinking, this is another young quarterback in the league, someone we’ll have to deal with for the next three to four years.”

Another freshman Coyote stepped up in the win last week as running back Nate Thomas rushed for 90 yards and one touchdown, while averaging more than five yards per carry.

“For a true freshman to be playing at the level that he is playing, I think it is a credit to him and how hard he’s worked in his development,” Nielson said. “He’s got a tremendous low center of gravity. He’s a hard tackle and he showed that again on Saturday.”

USD’s offense will face their toughest challenge of the season come Saturday, when they meet the nation’s sixth best defense, in NDSU.

“They’re very active in their front seven. They do a really good job of getting off blocks, both in the run and obviously they’ve got good pass rushers too,” Nielson said. “The challenge up front is going to be to stay on blocks.”

The Bison own the second best rushing offense in the country, but the Coyotes hope to carry the success of last week’s defense into Saturday.

“They’re some similarities with North Dakota State and South Dakota State in terms of ability to run the football,” Nielson said. “They have a big experienced offensive line and so it’s going to start by having to play well against the run.”

South Dakota has a chance to do something they’ve never done at the division one level and haven’t achieved in the past sixteen seasons and that would be winning a share of the conference title.

“We talked about three weeks ago, that we still had the ability to win a conference championship, specifically in our control, but it was going to take winning the last three games,” Nielson said. “We’ve been able to find ways to win the first two and now step number three is in front of us and certainly the biggest test of all.”

“There’s a lot riding on the game this week. Not only just an outright conference championship, but a number of other things that I think happen if we’re able to win,” Entz said.

The Coyotes and Bison will cross paths on Saturday, November 20 in Fargo. Kick-off is set for 2:30 p.m.

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