VERMILLION, S.D. | Take it from the head Coyote, it’s high time the in-state college football rivalry is renewed.
“This is the ultimate for me, as far as a Coyote fan, alum or coach, to line up and go against South Dakota State,” said USD Coach Joe Glenn, who’s been a part of the recently dormant series as both a player and coach. “Every fan we have, everybody that’s part of this university, this game means more than anything to us.”
South Dakota and South Dakota State hook up on the gridiron for the first time since 2003 today at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium in Brookings.
Kickoff is slated for 2 p.m.
Today’s game is the 105th meeting in a series dating back to 1889, but the two haven’t played in nine seasons since SDSU moved to Division I.
USD also made the jump to Division I a few years later, joining the Great West Conference. The two are now members of the Missouri Valley Football Conference, facilitating the renewal of the rivalry.
“When I played here and coached under Joe Salem, it was a terrific rivalry then and it will be great for both schools,” said Glenn, a former USD quarterback and wide receiver. “It’s very important that both sides represent the game very well and very clean and don’t let things get out of hand.
“It’s a great ticket for our state and everything’s right about it.”
This season, the teams have headed in opposite directions. South Dakota State (7-3, 5-2 MVC) is nationally ranked (No. 23 FCS) while the Coyotes (1-9, 0-7) have lost eight in a row.
But as the old saying goes, in a game like this, you can throw records out the window.
“If there was one game you would like to win more than any other it would be this one,” said Tyler Starr, USD’s outstanding junior linebacker. “You have to establish dominance in your state before you can think about being known throughout the nation. I’m just going to be glad to bring the rivalry back. It’s important to people who used to play here and to each university.”
Wide receiver Will Powell, a native South Dakotan, finally gets a chance to play against the in-state rival in his 34th and final collegiate start.
“Getting a win would mean the world to me,” said Powell, a Sioux Falls native who needs one catch to move into second place on the school’s all-time reception chart. “First off, because we haven’t won a conference game yet and getting the rivalry back is so awesome for the state to get people excited again for football in South Dakota. We’re going to go whatever it takes to win and hopefully send all the seniors out on top.”
South Dakota State’s bid to lock up at least a share of the Missouri Valley Football Conference title came up short last week in a 20-17 loss at top-ranked North Dakota State.
USD, meanwhile, lost a tough 24-21 battle to Northern Iowa in the DakotaDome.
“We’ve got a lot of stuff going on right now,” said SDSU Coach John Stiegelmeier. “We’re coming off the disappointing loss that had huge implications and we’ve got the rivalry where 98 percent of the fans just want to see the game played and be part of history, and then you have the playoff deal.
“The rivalry isn’t the only part of this deal, it’s the chance to play more football. The playoffs have always been the emphasis. You want to be 1-0 regardless who you’re playing.”