South Dakota breezes past UND 45-7

VERMILLION, S.D. — As the only FCS matchup featuring Top 25 teams on Saturday, Sept. 16, the University of North Dakota and South Dakota was supposed to be a showdown.

A showdown never materialized. Just a letdown and a beatdown.

South Dakota quarterback Chris Streveler threw for 290 yards, ran for 62 and scored three total touchdowns to lead the No. 23 Coyotes to a 45-7 dismantling of No. 10 North Dakota in front of 9,645 at the DakotaDome.

“That’s not North Dakota football,” UND running back John Santiago said. “That’s not how we planned to come out and play. The only thing we can take away is we need to improve.”

UND suffered its worst loss since Nov. 1, 2014, when Eastern Washington beat UND 54-3 in Cheney. That loss came in UND coach Bubba Schweigert’s first season as head coach and during the first game of true freshman quarterback Keaton Studsrud’s career.

It was a surprising result, too, considering UND beat USD 47-44 in double overtime in the Alerus Center a year ago and both teams returned most of the key players from that matchup. UND erased a 20-point second-half deficit in that game.

“We went into the locker room a year ago against this team with a fairly big lead,” USD coach Bob Nielson said. “I told the team at halftime that this isn’t last year. This is a different team. We showed that both defensively in our ability to stop them and offensively in our ability to keep moving the football and scoring when they pressured us and tried to do some of the same things they did a year ago.”

The Fighting Hawks, who dropped to 1-2, are 2-6 in their last eight non-conference games and 11-0 in the team’s last 11 Big Sky Conference games.

It was a flubber from the start for UND.

UND’s first offensive possession stalled with a false start on third-and-2. The second possession flopped with a delay of game on third-and-1. By UND’s third possession, it already trailed 17-0.

The Coyotes scored on their first three possessions — a 21-yard field goal by Ryan Weese, an 8-yard powerful run by Kai Henry and a Streveler run to make it 17-0 with more than two minutes to go in the first quarter.

“To go on the road and defeat a really good opponent, we have to get off to a better start than we got off to,” Schweigert said.

UND finished with just 257 yards of total offense and was losing the total offense battle 400 to 103 at halftime. USD led 31-0 at the half.

“It stings,” UND linebacker Jake Disterhaupt said. “We put in a lot of hours and it means a lot to us, so it’s definitely going to hurt.”

The Fighting Hawks avoided the shutout late in the third quarter when Travis Toivonen caught a 10-yard touchdown pass from Keaton Studsrud to make it 38-7.

The Coyotes, now 3-0 through non-conference play, mercifully let off the gas in the second half, but finished with a balanced offense of 290 passing yards to 285 rushing yards.

Santiago led the UND attack with 85 rushing yards, but the Fighting Hawks never found an offensive rhythm. UND was penalized nine times for 54 yards — all of that damage coming in the first half.

UND was 1 of 16 on third- and fourth-down conversions. Studsrud was 11-for-22 passing for 133 yards. He was sacked three times.

The Fighting Hawks open Big Sky play next weekend at home against Montana State.

“We started 1-2 last season, so I think there’s light at the end of the tunnel,” UND safety Cole Reyes said. “We needed a reality check and that’s what we got.”