Miles Bergner’s two 41-yard field goals in overtime followed by Jacob Warner’s interception near the goal line lifted South Dakota to a 33-30 win against Indiana State Saturday at Memorial Stadium. It was the third double-overtime game in five for the Coyotes, who are 2-1 in those games.
It was the first meeting between the two teams since 2014. The Coyotes (3-3, 2-1 MVFC) earned their first road win in Valley play since beating North Dakota State last season. They return to campus and will host Illinois State and Western Illinois on back-to-back weekends. Indiana State (3-4, 1-3), once ranked in the top 25, has lost three in a row.
South Dakota led 17-3 less than 10 minutes into the game, had a 17-10 advantage at halftime, and was in front 27-17 when Indiana State took over from its 40 with 2:51 remaining. The Sycamores went 60 yards in four plays and made it 27-24 on Isaac Harker’s 23-yard touchdown pass to Miles Thompson with 1:59 to go.
The Coyotes ran twice to burn Indiana State’s two timeouts and threw incomplete on 3rd-and-long before punting back with 1:29 left. The Sycamores, which started from their own 43, completed a 13-yard pass on 4th-and-1 and reached the Coyotes’ 24 to set up a game-tying, 42-yard field goal by Jerry Nunez with 12 seconds left in regulation.
The two offenses netted seven yards in the four overtime drives. Nunez hit from 46 yards to put Indiana State ahead 30-27. Bergner countered with his third field goal of the game to force a second overtime and put USD back in front with his fourth. He became the Coyotes’ all-time leading scorer with a 49-yarder in the first quarter and stands with 247 career points.
The Sycamores’ double-overtime possession got tricky.
Facing 3rd-and-2 from the 17, Harker took the shotgun snap and quickly threw backwards to receiver Kelvin Cook. Cook started to his left and then threw towards the end zone. Warner read the play perfectly and leaped in front of the receiver to pick off the pass and seal the win. It was the sixth pick of Warner’s career and the fourth turnover of the game for Indiana State.
Harkin, the nation’s 14th-leading passer, threw for 325 yards and three touchdowns Saturday and running back Roland Genesy added 109 yards on the ground. But Indiana State threw two picks, lost two fumbles, missed a 46-yard field goal, and was stuffed at the goal line on two plays from the 1 late in the first half.
Defensively, it was Coyote cornerback Adam Harris that forced an early turnover on the Indiana State 26, and linebacker Alex Gray who intercepted a pass at the Sycamore 13 late in the third quarter. Harris’ turnover resulted in a 7-yard touchdown run by Trevor Bouma to give USD a 14-3 lead. Gray’s interception turned into a 3-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Saeger to Drew Potter to extend the Coyotes’ lead to 27-17.
Chris Streveler passed for 122 yards in the first half and threw a 69-yard touchdown pass to Alonge Brooks on the Coyotes’ fourth play from scrimmage. But a head injury forced him to miss the second and Saeger, the senior, took over.
Saeger was 10-of-17 for 54 yards and also ran eight times for 31. He marched the Coyotes down to the Indiana State 23 on the first possession of the second half, but Bergner missed from 40 yards away. It was his first miss of the season and just his second miss in 19 attempts dating back to last season. Earlier in the drive, Saeger had a 29-yard touchdown pass to Tacari Carpenter taken away when it was ruled Carpenter stepped out of bounds on his own during his route.
Bouma finished with 72 yards on 24 carries and moved into eighth place on the Coyotes’ all-time rushing list with 2,227 yards. Michael Fredrick led the Coyotes’ ground game with a season-high 79 yards on 13 carries. Brooks finished with a season-high 93 yards on four catches including the touchdown.
Darrin Greenfield had two of South Dakota’s five sacks of Harker and the defense performed well against Indiana State’s top receiver Robert Tonyan. Instead, it was Thompson who had eight catches for 152 yards and two touchdowns for the Sycamores. Tonyan had three catches for 59 yards, 48 of which came on a third quarter touchdown grab in which he shoved the cornerback out of the way before making the catch and reaching the end zone.
The Coyotes host Illinois State inside the DakotaDome next Saturday at 2 p.m.