VERMILLION, S.D. (KELO) — The USD football team has climbed the ranks in a national poll this week to number 10, which is the Coyotes highest ascent in six years. Now they get set to host another top-25 team in Youngstown State.
The Coyotes rolled to a 38-7 win over Murray State last week, which marked the team’s fourth straight victory. They are 3-0 at home and are outscoring their opponents 97-13 at the DakotaDome, the site of this week’s showdown. USD has notched three touchdowns in the first half of each of the last two weeks, a contrast to the first three games, where the Yotes tallied 17 combined points.
“It’s one of the areas where we’ve gotten better,” USD Head Coach Bob Nielson said. “We’ve been much more consistent offensively. We’ve been able to put drives together and put points on the board. When you get off to an early start like that, it helps get the crowd when we’re playing at home, helps get the crowd in.”
USD’s running game shined in the win over Murray State behind Travis Theis, who registered a career-high 190 yards and two TDs. His partner in crime in the backfield, Charles Pierre Jr., also found the endzone twice as he ran for 80 yards in his first game of the season.
“We’ve got a great deal of confidence in Charles Pierre,” Nielson said. “Fans just haven’t seen him. And they got a chance to see him on Saturday. I thought he played really well. That work that Charles got on Saturday is going to be quality work that he can build on.”
The Yotes have scored on 15 of their 20 possessions in the last three games, and their productivity on offense will prove key once again.
“What we’re going to have to do is offensively find a way to to be consistent, to be able to move the ball and keep it on our side as opposed to giving it to them,” Nielson said.
USD and Youngstown State are set to kickoff Saturday at 1 p.m. at the DakotaDome.