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    USD FB: No. 6 South Dakota 31, No. 3 Youngstown State 28

    VERMILLION, S.D.—South Dakota senior kicker Ryan Weese kicked a 29-yard field goal with seven seconds remaining to give the sixth-ranked Coyotes a 31-28 win against third-ranked Youngstown State before a sellout Dakota Days crowd of more than 10,000 inside the DakotaDome Saturday.

    It was South Dakota’s third straight win against a top-20 team and moves the Coyotes to 5-0 for the first time since 2005. It was USD’s first win against the Penguins in six tries. 

    Coyote quarterback Chris Streveler completed 21 of 35 passes for 360 yards and three touchdowns. Junior wide receiver Shamar Jackson tied a program record with 11 receptions and set a new record with 229 yards. That tally includes a 71-yard touchdown catch on USD’s first play of the second half that gave the Coyotes a 28-14 advantage. Jackson broke Dwight Duncombe’s record of 205 yards set back in 1972.

    Taylor Lambert sacked Youngstown State quarterback Nathan Mays on the final play of the game to secure the win. The Coyotes totaled six sacks in all. Lambert and defensive end Darin Greenfield had two sacks apiece. 

    “Happy D-Days,” said USD head coach Bob Nielson. “I just need to say this. That is a character win for our football team. I couldn’t be more proud of our guys for the way that they battled. That’s a really good football team that we beat. Our guys played hard from the opening kickoff to the final play. That is what you have to do to beat a team of that caliber.”  

    Mays earned the start for Youngstown State after Hunter Wells was unable to go with a shoulder injury. Mays completed 12 of 25 passes for 153 yards. He also ran for 30. Junior tailback Tevin McCaster, the nation’s ninth-leading rusher heading into the weekend, ran 22 times for 90 yards and scored all four Youngstown State touchdowns. 

    The Coyote offense, facing its stiffest challenge to date, was more than up to the task. South Dakota gained 283 of its 486 yards in the first half and took a 21-14 lead into the break. That against a defense that had allowed 16 points total over its last 12 quarters of play. Youngstown State had yielded 245 yards per game coming in, fifth best nationally. 

    Jackson had his first collegiate 100-yard performance by halftime when he had seven catches for 113 yards. He hauled in a perfectly placed pass by a hurried Streveler and went 53 yards to set up South Dakota’s first score of the game, a 15-yard toss from Streveler to Randy Baker that tied the game at 7-7 late in the first quarter. 

    “Your inside receivers have to be guys that can get open and create some space based upon what they do coverage wise,” said Nielson. “Shamar is a guy that never says anything, practices really hard and does everything the right way. “He has become, in his own way, a leader of our football team.” 

    The Coyote defense quickly forced a punt, and South Dakota marched 75 yards in 13 plays to take the lead. Kai Henry pushed in on 4th-and-goal from the 1 to make it 14-7 with 8:04 left in the second quarter. Jackson caught a 13-yard pass on 3rd-and-7 early in the series that extended the drive. 

    Youngstown State quickly answered with McCaster’s second score, a 3-yard dart over left tackle that knotted the game at 14-14 with 4:38 remaining. The Penguins’ longest run of the day, a 22-yard end around by wide out Damoun Patterson helped lead to the score. 

    South Dakota’s third straight touchdown drive went 10 plays and 75 yards. Baker, who had two catches all season, had a 25-yard grab on 2nd-and-22 that got the Coyotes out of trouble. Brandt Van Roekel wrestled away a jump ball in the end zone for a 22-yard touchdown catch after Youngstown State had jumped offside. Van Roekel had three catches for 44 yards. 

    It was 28-21 following McCaster’s 11-yard touchdown run with 3:56 left in the third quarter. That set up a fourth quarter that had a little bit of everything. 

    The Yotes were flagged for targeting twice in the final 15 minutes, only to have both flags rescinded by instant replay. Youngstown State tried a fake punt on 4th-and-12 from its own 39 with 13 minutes left that failed. On the ensuing drive, holding penalties wiped out two big offensive plays and South Dakota had to punt it back. 

    Youngstown State converted a 4th-and-1 from its own 29 and a 3rd-and-6 from USD’s 24 on a game-tying drive capped by another 3-yard run by McCaster with 3:53 remaining. The Penguins, which were averaging 288 yards on the ground, reached 188 on 49 totes Saturday for 3.8 yards a carry. 

    The two teams exchanged punts before Streveler and the Yotes started from their own 47 with no timeouts and 1:24 left. A 12-yard completion to Jackson pushed it into Penguins territory, and Alonge Brooks rescued a scrambling Streveler with an 8-yard catch on the sidelines at the YSU 33. Two plays later, Van Roekel caught another jump ball for 18 yards to the 16. Streveler ran to the middle of the field before being stopped at the 12 and spiked it with 11 seconds left to set up Weese for the game winner. 

    “We do field goal for the game every day in practice,” said Nielson. “We surround the kicker with everybody in our program. Ryan stepped up there and confidently kicked it between the uprights.” 

    Streveler’s 360 yards are the second-most of his collegiate career. He has now accounted for 20 touchdowns without a turnover in five games, the last two against top-15 defenses. Neither team committed a turnover Saturday and the Coyotes have yet to give one away offensively this season. 

    South Dakota stays home to host Indiana State on Hall of Fame weekend next Saturday at 2 p.m. inside the DakotaDome. Indiana State lost to North Dakota State 52-0 Saturday to fall to 0-5.

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