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    USD FB: Offense 33, Defense 27

    VERMILLION, S.D.—If you are a fan of big plays in the passing game, then you enjoyed the annual South Dakota Spring Game held Friday evening inside the DakotaDome. 

    Austin Simmons completed 11 of 17 throws for 254 yards, Dakarai Allen made a SportsCenter Top 10-worth catch and the Coyote offense overtook the defense to earn a 33-27 win. 

    The defense was spotted a 27-point lead in a game that included a running clock with two 10-minute quarters in the first half and two eight-minute quarters in the second. The offense totaled 23 points on seven first-half drives and took the lead on a Brevin Kaiser touchdown toss to Randy Baker with a minute left in the third quarter which proved to be the final score of the game. 

    Simmons, who has backed up All-American Chris Streveler the last two seasons, totaled four scoring drives in five chances. Four of his completions went for 38 yards or more, including a full-extension, one-handed grab by Allen late in the first quarter that set up a touchdown, and a 69-yard bomb to Levi Falck on the first play of the second half. 

    Allen caught a game-high six passes for 75 yards. Baker had four grabs for a game-high 108 yards including the touchdown which went for 37 yards. Falck finished with four catches for 83 yards. Tight end Connor Herrmann caught a 12-yard touchdown pass from Simmons on 3rd-and-9 on the drive that included Allen’s circus catch. 

    In all, the offense ran 72 plays for 526 yards for a 7.3-yard average. Quarterbacks Simmons (5 drives), Tyler Tsagalis (3 drives), Brevin Kaiser (2 drives) and Jakob Parks (2 drives) combined to complete 24 of 40 passes for 417 yards. Six running backs took 24 handoffs for 100 yards. Brandon Thull led the unit with six carries for 32 yards. 

    Ben Klett ran seven times for 30 yards and two touchdowns. He capped the second drive of the game with a 1-yard score on a drive setup by a 42-yard pass from Simmons to Baker. Justin Heinrichs forced Baker to fumble on a long catch the play prior, but Falck recovered for the offense. Klett also took a handoff from Tsagalis and rumbled 21 yards to the left pylon on the final play of the first half. Tsagalis completed third down passes to Allen and Falck to sustain the drive. 

    Redshirt freshmen Riley Peters and Sammy Byrd tallied sacks for the Coyote defense. DeValon Whitcomb forced a punt with a run stuff on the third drive of the game. Another redshirt freshman, Jordan Sommerville, had three of the defense’s eight pass breakups. Senior cornerback Isaac Armstead had a game-high six tackles and broke up one pass. 

    Senior Ethan James capped the opening drive of the game with a 45-yard field goal. He missed a 51-yard try just to the left later in the game. Mason Lorber, a newcomer from Iowa Western, made a 23-yard field goal on the first possession of the second half. 

    The exhibition marked the 15th and final practice for the Coyotes this spring. The team will begin summer workouts on campus in late May.





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