After an impressive debut, against the Houston Cougars, Jalen Hurts and the Oklahoma Sooners have a tune up against South Dakota before heading west to play UCLA next week. While the Sooners are looking to tweak a few things, on both sides of the ball, the Coyotes are looking to rebound from a season-opening 31-17 loss to Montana with a competitive performance in Norman.
South Dakota On Offense
Quarterback Austin Simmons completed 23-of-33 passes, for 246 yards, 2 touchdowns, and an interception in the season opener, and while All-Conference receiver Dakarai Allen was held in check, sophomore Kody Case exploded for 144 yards, and two scores, on 11 catches.
Simmons was sixth in the nation in total offense (314.2 ypg) last season. He passed for at least 325 yards in four of the eight conference games. Not accounting for sacks, Simmons was South Dakota’s top rusher in 2018 with 549 yards and a 6.5-yard per carry average.
Despite starting two redshirt freshmen and a sophomore on the offensive line the Coyotes were pretty strong up front last weekend. The only quarterback sack, in the opener, was credited on the first play of the game when Simmons scrambled to the sidelines and took a 5-yard loss. After that Montana’s defense recorded just one hurry.
The Coyotes were limited in their rushing attack in the opener and third down was a killer. South Dakota ran for just 106 yards, on 30 carries, and converted on just two of ten third down opportunities. Sophomore Canaan Brooks paced the team with 41 yards on 13 carries.
South Dakota On Defense
USD was strong against the run last week but were torched through the air. Of Montana’s 510 total yards of offense only 80 came on the ground. The Griz averaged just 2.8 yards per carry against the Coyotes as six defenders recorded a tackle for loss, including Darin Greenfield who has recorded 15 tackles and 34 tackles for loss over the last two seasons.
Greenfield is part of a defensive line that features four seniors with plenty of starting experience for three positions. Senior co-captain DeValon Whitcomb netted his first collegiate sack last week. Kameron Cline has moved into more of a tackle position after playing end the previous years. Junior Jacob Headlee started all 11 games a year ago, but didn’t play against Montana.
After picking off seven passes in 2018, South Dakota started 2019 with two picks against Montana quarterback Dalton Sneed but were burned for 430 yards and three scores through the air. Sneed connected on 37-of-52 passes and was sacked twice. Montana receivers Samuel Akem and Samori Toure combined for 300 receiving yards, and two scores, on nine receptions each.
Junior kicker Mason Lorber connected on his lone field goal attempt (20 yards) and punter Brady Schutt averaged 49.25 yards per punt on four punts.
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