Sooners can't afford to sleep with Coyotes on the prowl

September 6, 2019 ▪ By Ray Dozier

The South Dakota Coyotes don’t strike fear in Sooner football faithful, and not because the Coyotes compete in the Football Championship Division, a lower level of football compared to the Football Bowl Subdivision. USD holds a mark of 49-76 since joining the FCS in 2008. The school joined the Missouri Valley Conference in 2012 and had a winning season two years ago with an 8-5 record and a second-round loss in the FCS playoffs.

The university is located in Vermillion, a town of about 11,000 snuggled in the southeast corner of the state. The Coyotes play their games in the 10,000-seat Dakota Dome. They hosted Montana last Saturday and dropped a 31-17 decision.

USD has played a handful of FBS teams since joining the FCS, but none ranked as high as No. 4 Oklahoma (1-0). The Sooners cannot just show up and think they can roll over the Coyotes. Oklahoma must play with enthusiasm, work on fundamentals, and limit mistakes.

The Coyotes would love to stick a feather in their caps with an upset Saturday (6 p.m. PPV). They do have some outstanding players, most notably Darin Greenfield. The senior defensive end was a Walter Camp All-American last year with a resume that included 14.5 tackles for loss and six sacks. In addition to 55 total tackles, he also forced two turnovers and 13 QB hurries.

The offensive leader is quarterback Austin Simmons who led the MVC with 3,124 passing yards a year ago. He completed 61 percent of his passes with a TD/INT ratio of 18/8. Simmons threw for 243 yards and a pair of TDs against Montana and had one pass picked off. Receiver Cody Kase caught 11 of his aerials for 144 yards and both TDs.

USD gave up 510 yards to the Grizzlies last week.

Oklahoma’s offense looked sharp again, this time with another transfer at QB — Jalen Hurts. The Alabama transfer completed 20 of 23 for 332 yards and three scores to lead OU to a 49-31 victory over Houston. He also rambled for 176 yards and scored three more TDs. Hurts earned a plethora of honors including Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week and Maxwell Award POW.

Charleston Rambo led a group of 10 players who caught passes for Oklahoma. Rambo hauled in three aerials for 105 yards and a score. Cee Dee Lamb and Jeremiah Hall also caught a TD pass each.

Trey Sermon led the running backs on the ground with 96 yards, but Juco transfer Rhamonde Stevenson scored the seventh touchdown late in the game.

The Sooners held the Coogs scoreless and to 29 yards in the first 23 minutes, but Houston’s offense came uncorked by scoring 31 points and 379 yards the rest of the way. UH scored 10 points in the last five minutes of the first half to close the gap to 21-10. OU took command in the second half, not allowing the Coogs any closer than 11 points.

Linebacker Kenneth Murray led the Sooners’ defense with 13 stops including 2.5 behind the line and half a sack. End Ronnie Perkins logged two tackles for loss and a sack.

This week should be a perfect time to allow many Sooners to see action and to work on fundamentals. The offense seems to be firing on all cylinders even with new spark plugs in the O-Line.

Special teams must find someone who can kick field goals. Redshirt sophomore Calum Sutherland missed a couple last week — a 49-yarder and 36-yarder. Hopefully, the Sooners won’t have to rely on field goals Saturday night.

This game should remind a lot of us of the classic cartoon Wile E. Coyote trying to capture the Road Runner. “Road Runner, the coyote is after you. Road Runner, if he catches you, you’re through.”

A loss to the Coyotes would end any chance of College Football Playoff hopes for OU.

Meep-meep!

Sooners 63, Coyotes 7.

Fast Facts

  • Lincoln Riley’s record: 46-8 (.852) overall; 13-1 at home.
  • USD coach Bob Nielson’s record: 202-100-1 (.668) overall; 16-20 at USD
  • OU is 2-1 in games played on September 7.

Articles by Ray Dozier