South Dakota takes two of two in homestand with win over Lamar

South Dakota’s offense scored touchdowns on five of six possessions and racked up 305 yards rushing in a 35-6 win against Lamar.
Published: Sep. 16, 2023 at 11:52 PM CDT
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VERMILLION, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - South Dakota’s offense scored touchdowns on five of six possessions and racked up 305 yards rushing in a 35-6 win against Lamar Saturday inside the DakotaDome.

Nate Thomas and Travis Theis both eclipsed 100 yards rushing behind a Coyote offensive line that saw Bryce Henderson move to right tackle and Sam Kohls start at left guard. Thomas ran 19 times for a career-high 164 yards and two touchdowns. Theis had 120 yards on 16 carries with two scores. 

It was the fourth meeting between the two programs and first since 2010. South Dakota got its first win in the series and moved to 2-1 on the season. Lamar fell to 0-3. These two teams meet again in Texas next September. 

One week after shutting out St. Thomas, South Dakota’s defense prevented Lamar from reaching the end zone for the first time this season. The Cardinals settled for three points on an opening drive that spanned 20 plays and more than 10 minutes. Josiah Ganues intercepted Lamar quarterback Robert Coleman inside the 10-yard line, but fumbled during the return, giving Lamar a new set of downs from the USD 21. Lamar ran seven more plays before sending Chris Esqueda on for a 26-yard field goal and a 3-0 lead. 

South Dakota’s first trip on offense lasted five plays and less than three minutes. Aidan Bouman underthrew a deep ball to Carter Bell and safety Kristian Pugh hauled it in for the Cardinals. That led to another long drive, another 26-yard field goal and a 6-0 lead. With 10:06 remaining in the first half, Lamar had run 33 plays and held the ball for nearly 17 minutes. South Dakota still had five plays. But the Coyote defense had kept it a one-score game. 

The Coyotes marched 75 yards on 13 plays and took the lead on a 2-yard run by Theis with 2:14 left in the first half. That was the halftime score. South Dakota made it 14-6 after cashing in on a 1-yard plunge by Thomas on the opening possession of the second half. The Coyotes ran eight times on a nine-play, 73-yard drive. 

Lamar ran four plays and punted and the Coyotes’ passing game made a showing. Bouman connected with Jack Martens for 29 yards before finding tight end JJ Galbreath wide open for a 20-yard touchdown strike that made it 21-6. Bouman finished 7-of-9 for 96 yards. It was the fewest passes thrown by a Coyote team since at least 2000.

Bouman hit on seven consecutive passes after the interception. His last toss was a nicely placed deep ball to Martens in the end zone that Martens couldn’t corral. With a two-score lead, the Coyotes’ defensive line pinned their ears back and got after Coleman. They sacked him five times in the second half and seven times in all.

One week after Nick Gaes registered three sacks against St. Thomas, teammate Brendan Webb went for a career-high 3.5 sacks – the most by a USD player at the Division I level and equaling the 3.5 registered by alum Wayne Curry in 2007. 

Lamar’s only chance for points in the second half was thwarted when Dennis Shorter broke through and blocked Esqueda’s 28-yard field goal attempt on the third play of the fourth quarter. Shorter led South Dakota with 10 tackles. South Dakota ran 39 times for its 305 yards. Lamar ran 39 times for 105.

The Coyotes held a 401-274 edge in total yards. Coleman finished 14-of-24 for 144 yards. Khalan Griffin ran 15 times for 61 yards to pace the Cardinals. The Coyotes are off next week. They return Sept. 30 to face North Dakota State in the MVFC opener for both teams. Kickoff from the Fargodome in North Dakota is set for 1 p.m.

Recap courtesy of USD Athletics.