VERMILLION, S.D. | So much for the possibility of a letdown.
The fourth-ranked South Dakota Coyotes came out and took care of business Saturday, having their way in a 56-6 victory over winless Indiana State at the DakotaDome.
Coming off a dramatic 31-28 win over then No. 3 Youngstown State last Saturday, the chances for a slight lack of interest for this one certainly existed. That never came close to happening, though, and the Coyotes continued to pick up steam in an already remarkable season.
South Dakota remained unbeaten, moving to 6-0 for the first time since 2005 and is now 3-0 in the Missouri Valley Football Conference.
All-everything quarterback Chris Streveler was his usual self, accounting for five touchdowns in a near flawless performance. It's becoming increasingly difficult to come up with superlatives to describe how talented the senior from Crystal Lake, Illinois, is.
Streveler passed for four touchdowns and ran for another, tossing two scoring throws each to Brandt Van Roekel and Kody Case. His touchdown run was a 46-yard dash up the middle on a quarterback draw.
“We were able to spread the ball around a lot today, which is nice,” Streveler said. “Throughout the season it's kind of our theme of how many playmakers we have on the offensive side of the ball and to be able to get the ball into a lot of those guys' hands was good for us today.
“To come out from the git-go and execute the way we were hoping to was nice. The good thing was when they came out and changed some things defensively we were able to also change what we were doing offensively and still be able to move the ball.”
The Coyotes amassed 705 total yards on 75 snaps. A total of 10 different receivers made catches and six players carried the football.
Streveler wound up 27 of 32 for a season-high 332 yards through the air and rushed for 82 yards on eight carries. Van Roekel, a senior from Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley, had seven catches for 108 yards.
While the offense was humming along at its normal pace, the USD defense continued to shine, limiting Indiana State to 232 yards and just two field goals. The first of those gave the Sycamores a 3-0 lead after they burned off nearly eight minutes on the first series of the game.
The lead, though, was short-lived as the Coyotes took just 2 minutes, 24 seconds to move in front for good. Streveler and Alonge Brooks hooked up for a 43-yard play before Van Roekel leaped over a defender in the corner of the end zone on a 10-yard scoring play.
After Jerry Nunez kicked his second field goal of the game, drawing Indiana State to within a point, Streveler and Van Roekel teamed for a 55-yard scoring play. Van Roekel caught the pass perfectly in stride and now has five touchdown receptions in four games played.
“It's just great to be back, I can't say anything else about it,” Van Roekel said. “It's easy to make plays because you can't focus on anyone on our team, that's what makes it tough to defend us. We have guys all around the field who can go make plays at any time so you have to respect everyone.”
Case, a swift freshman from Lake City, Iowa (South Central Calhoun High School), hauled in a 35-yarder in the first half and scored his second TD on a 22-yard play in the third quarter.
Michael Fredrick burst up the middle for a 53-yard scoring jaunt just before the third quarter ended and that wound up being the final series of the game for Streveler, who gave way to talented backup Austin Simmons.
Wasting no time, Simmons fired a 52-yard touchdown pass to Randy Baker on his very first play under center.
“Our tempo was really effective today, Indiana State had some injuries but I think our tempo offense really wore them down, I think you saw that in the second half,” USD Coach Bob Nielson said. “Our backs and receivers would take runs or catches that maybe in the first half would have been five or six yard gains and turned them into 15 yards or more. The other thing is Chris has a much better understanding of our offense and where the ball needs to go.
“The majority of our plays in the second half were run-pass option plays where he has the ability to either hand the ball off or throw it. Based on what Indiana State was doing a lot of times he was making a decision to throw the football.”
Nielson added that it was nice to get Simmons some snaps. It was the first action in several weeks for the sophomore from Council Bluffs Lewis Central.
“He's a really good football player to and he is learning from Chris a lot about our offensive system,” Nielson said. “Again, that first pass was a run-pass option play and he can throw bullets and hit Baker perfectly on the run and Randy did the rest. Every time we can get him a rep it's a really valuable rep for him and our program and the future of it.”
About the only blemish for the Coyotes was their first turnover of the season, a fumble by Ben Klett late in the third quarter. South Dakota was the only team at any level left in the country that hadn't committed a turnover.
Klett, however, atoned for his miscue with a 25-yard scamper for the Coyotes' final touchdown of the game.
The Coyotes hit the road next week for a game at Illinois State. The Redbirds have lost two in a row, including a 42-7 shellacking at the hands of Southern Illinois on Saturday.
That could either leave Illinois State reeling or with a very sour taste in its mouth when the Coyotes come calling to Bloomington.
“I feel like we can win games anywhere, we're confident we can stop the run and pass and confident the offense can score points,” said senior linebacker Jim Litrenta, who had a team-high eight tackles. “I think we're clicking right now and that really helps. They've always been a good football team so we just have to practice like we did this week and go out there and get ready to play.”
Indiana State fell to 0-6 overall and 0-3 in the conference.