Falcons fall to South Dakota

By Zane Miller and By Zane Miller

The Falcons football team fell in their home opener against the South Dakota Coyotes 35-27 on Saturday night, the team’s first loss against a Football Championship Subdivision team since Sept. 12, 1987, against the Youngstown State Penguins.

“These are games you’re supposed to win,” Falcons head coach Mike Jinks said. “These are games we expect to win, and really, they got after our tail at home. That doesn’t sit well and it shouldn’t sit well.”

The game began with South Dakota getting a touchdown rush on their first drive of the game, along with an extra point to take a 7-0 lead early. Later in the first quarter, junior kicker Jake Suder put the Falcons on the board with a field goal, cutting the South Dakota lead to 7-3. However, that momentum was quickly squashed when South Dakota converted a 72 yard touchdown pass to go up 14-3. South Dakota then finished off the first quarter scoring another running touchdown, ending the quarter up 21-3.

The Falcons began to battle back with two Suder field goals in the second quarter, but in the third, South Dakota scored another touchdown run. However the Falcons were able to counter the score before the end of the quarter as sophomore quarterback James Morgan passed to senior wide receiver Teo Redding for a touchdown, making the score 28-16.

Suder kicked another field goal to start the fourth, but South Dakota extended their lead halfway through the quarter to make it 35-19. The Falcons were able to give themselves a chance with a late touchdown pass from Morgan to junior wide receiver Scott Miller, along with a two point conversion pass from Morgan to Redding, but the ensuing onside kick attempt was recovered by South Dakota, who held on to win 35-27.

“We’ve got to put guys out there that are going to make plays,” Jinks said. “You can’t make those kinds of mistakes; those are the things that get you beat. We had three touchdowns called back, it’s tough to win a ball game like that.”

The team also struggled with penalties throughout the game, with 14 penalties for 155 yards.

“We talked about being physical, tough and disciplined, and that’s not disciplined,” Jinks said. “There were a lot of calls that could have gone either way throughout the game. If you’re doing things the right way and using the proper technique, you’ll get those calls.”

The team will next play Saturday night on the road against the Northwestern Wildcats.