Coyotes Suffer First Loss At Illinois State
USD Rally Falls Short In 37-21 Loss To Redbirds
NORMAL, Ill.—Illinois State running back James Robinson ran for 193 yards and two touchdowns, including an 87-yard touchdown run late, to hand fourth-ranked South Dakota its first setback of the season, 37-21, Saturday at Hancock Stadium.
Robinson and wide out Spencer Schnell led an Illinois State attack that compiled 567 yards against the Coyotes’ 29th-ranked defense. Schnell caught two touchdowns early that staked Illinois State to a 14-0 lead. His first was a slant pass that he took 64 yards to pay dirt just 90 seconds into the game. Schnell finished with seven catches for 191 yards.
Coyote quarterback Chris Streveler set program records for completions (39) and attempts (63) in throwing for a career-high 440 yards, most by a USD player since 2005. He threw a 50-yard touchdown pass to Brett Samson and a 2-yard score to Aaron Ramsey in the second quarter that tied the game at 14-14. Ramsey led 11 different Coyote receivers with nine catches for 79 yards.
South Dakota (6-1, 3-1 MVFC) had a 1st-and-5 from Illinois State’s 7 trailing 27-21 with less than eight minutes to go. But the Redbirds forced an incomplete pass on 4th-and-8 to maintain the lead. Robinson took the second play on the ensuing drive 87 yards around right end for the back-breaking blow.
A key sequence also took place early in the second half when South Dakota thought it had taken its first lead after Alonge Brooks made a leaping grab in the end zone from 18 yards out. A pass interference penalty negated the play, and the Coyotes went on to miss a 40-yard field goal behind a strong wind that would have tied the game at 17-17. South Dakota was flagged 11 times for 123 yards.
The Coyotes’ top-ranked offense posted 554 yards against a stingy defense, but those two empty possessions in the red zone were the difference. South Dakota was held under 31 points for the first time this season.
Illinois State quarterback Jake Kolbe was 12 of 19 for 236 yards, all but 45 of which went to Schnell. In addition to his long score in the first quarter, Schnell took a 3rd-and-9 slant pass 71 yards late in the third quarter that set up a 14-yard run by Robinson that extended Illinois State’s lead to 24-14.
The Coyotes answered the score with an 11-play, 74-yard drive capped by Kai Henry’s 12-yard touchdown run less than two minutes into the fourth quarter that made it 24-21. A 22-yard run by Streveler on 3rd-and-long kept the drive alive. Streveler had 29 yards rushing on eight carries and was sacked twice.
Illinois State got a 33-yard field goal from Sean Slattery on the next possession that made it 27-21 with 9:21 to go. Slattery also made kicks from 47 and 45 yards.
After quickly driving to the Illinois State 7, an illegal shift penalty backed USD up five yards. Bryce Holm broke up a sure touchdown pass aimed for Michael Fredrick on first down. Matt Swaine batted down the fourth-down pass to stop the drive.
For Illinois State (5-2, 3-1 MVFC) it was a much-needed win on homecoming that followed two tough losses on the road. South Dakota was gunning for its first 7-0 start since 2005. The Coyotes will try to rebound at home next week against Southern Illinois (4-3, 2-2), a 45-24 winner at Indiana State Saturday.
-Recap Courtesy USD Athletics