VERMILLION, S.D. (KELO) – South Dakota quarterback Aidan Bouman passed for 235 yards and two touchdowns while the Coyote defense held Missouri State to a season-low for points in a 20-13 South Dakota win Saturday inside the DakotaDome.
The result came one week after Missouri State scored a season-high 64 points in a win against Western Illinois while South Dakota allowed a season-high 45 points in a loss at Youngstown State. The Coyotes led 13-3 at halftime and 20-3 early in the fourth quarter before fending off a late Missouri State charge. The Bears threw incomplete on 4th-and-3 from their own 41 with less than a minute to play.
South Dakota (3-6, 2-4 MVFC) played without a number of starters on defense, but saw fresh faces emerge. Freshman Marcus Simmons Jr., redshirt freshman Justin Stallworth and senior Miles Emery were part of a revamped defensive line that put a lot of pressure on Missouri State quarterback Jason Shelley, the reigning MVFC Offensive Player of the Year. The Coyotes had three sacks, six hurries and a number of hits on Shelley while also limiting the Bears to less than 100 yards rushing. Behind the line were the Valley’s leading tacklers Stephen Hillis and Brock Mogensen at linebacker who combined for 24 tackles.
“The thing I was most pleased with today is that we had a lot of guys out on the defensive side of the football and a couple of key players offensively, and we had to have some younger guys really step up,” said USD head coach Bob Nielson. “Defensively, we played a really good four quarters of football and offensively we moved the ball enough. We had a chance or two to put more points on the board that could have made the score a little bit easier at the end, but it was a really good team effort. The kicking game was really good today too and that affected field position.
Bouman was solid in his second collegiate start and his third collegiate game. He hit his first eight passes and was 3-for-4 for 94 yards and two scores on deep balls. He hit Wesley Eliodor in stride for a 44-yard touchdown pass just before halftime that made it a two-score game and connected with Carter Bell on a 23-yard score late in the third quarter that made it 20-3.
That was enough for South Dakota’s defense. Missouri State (3-6, 1-5) recovered a fumble on the opening possession of the game and started from the Coyote 45. The Bears reached the 4, but Emery and Mogensen combined for a third-down stop on a run by Jacardia Wright and Missouri State settled for three.
The next offensive snap Missouri State ran on South Dakota’s side of the field didn’t come again until the final play of the third quarter. Stallworth snuffed out a 3rd-and-1 keeper by Shelley to end a drive in the second quarter. Simmons Jr. and Brendan Webb sacked Shelley on 3rd-and-8 that stopped the Bears’ next drive. Emery sacked Shelley that helped stop Missouri State’s first drive out of halftime.
Shelley finally broke through with a 4-yard touchdown pass to Naveon Mitchell with 11:01 remaining that made it 20-10. South Dakota flirted with field goal range on its ensuing drive. The Coyotes dropped a pass on third down and Nielson opted against a 50-yard field goal try up 10 points with six minutes to go.
Blake Holden’s sack on Shelley forced Missouri State to settle for a 37-yard field goal by Jose Pizano with 2:02 left. That made it a one-score game. The Bears burned their three timeouts to get the ball back one last time and started from their own 22 with 1:37 left.
Shelley completed three passes to reach the Bears’ 41, but back-to-back incomplete passes from their ended the game.
South Dakota improved to 3-1 at home this season and stopped a two-game skid to Missouri State to take a 5-4 lead in the series. Eliodor set career highs with six catches and 97 yards receiving while hauling in his fifth touchdown of the season. Bell had a season-high 54 yards on three catches and reached the end zone for the first time this season. Travis Theis ran 24 times for a game-high 74 yards. Shomari Lawrence had an 11-yard touchdown run in the first quarter that gave USD a 7-3 lead, but was injured a bit later in the game and did not return.
The Coyotes take on North Dakota (6-3, 4-2) at noon next Saturday in Grand Forks, North Dakota, before hosting UNI in the season finale.