#40 South Dakota FCS Football 2017 Preview


South Dakota Coyotes


Overall Rank: #40

#7 Missouri Valley

By the end of Coach Bob Nielson’s debut season, South Dakota was finding wins very tough to come by. Following a 3-1 start in MVFC play, which included a win over Northern Iowa, the Coyotes lost their last four games. None of those losses were by more than a touchdown though and three of those were against teams ranked in the top 15 at the time. The record may not have been what South Dakota was hoping for, but in the end it was not a terrible season and there are plenty of positives to build off heading into the 2017 season.
2016 Record: 4-7, 3-5
2016 Postseason: None
Coach: Bob Nielson (4-7 at South Dakota, 190-85-1 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Bill O’Boyle, Ted Schlafke
Defensive Coordinator: Tyler Yelk, Atiba Bradley
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Chris Streveler, QB, 823 yards
Passing: Chris Streveler, QB, 1,947 yards
Receiving: Alonge Brooks, WR, 384 yards
Tackles: Jim Litrenta, LB, 67
Sacks: Taylor Lambert, DL, 4.5
Interceptions: Danny Rambo, DB, 3
Other Key Returnees: RB Michael Fredrick, WR Tacari Carpenter, WR Brandt Van Roekel, DB Adam Harris, DB Andrew Gray, LB Alex Gray, DL Darin Greenfield
Key Losses: RB Trevor Bouma, DB Jacob Warner, LB Jet Moreland, DL Colin Mertlik, DB Tyson Graham, K/P Miles Bergner
Reigning MVFC Newcomer of the Year, Chris Streveler, is back to run the offense for one more season. He threw for 1,947 yards and 22 touchdowns, while completing 60.1 percent of his passes. Streveler also rushed for a team high 823 yards and nine touchdowns. He accounted for 31 of the team’s 41 touchdowns. With the return of receivers Alonge Brooks, Tacari Carpenter and Brandt Van Roekel, expect plenty of offensive fireworks from the Coyotes this season. Van Roekel missed much of last season with an injury, but he is a big play receiver who the opposition will have to watch carefully or Streveler will find him deep. Streveler will do plenty of running, but South Dakota needs to replace Trevor Bouma, who rushed for 690 yards last season. Michael Fredrick should be ready to emerge as the team’s top rushing threat after tallying 358 yards on 84 carries as a sophomore.
If South Dakota wants to make a push for the playoffs, the defense must improve. They ranked last in the MVFC in rush defense and total defense and ninth in scoring defense. One thing the team did do well was get to the quarterback and create turnovers. With a pass rush led by Taylor Lambert and Jake Leohr, the line should be effective once again in that regard. Linebackers Jim Litrenta and Alex Gray are experienced players who will help replace Jet Moreland’s team high 106 tackles. Danny Rambo, Adam Harris and Andrew Gray are all proven playmakers in the secondary. Those three combined to intercept seven passes last year and were a big part of the Coyotes impressive turnover margin. As long as the pressure continues, the secondary will be able to make more big plays in 2017. However, the unit still needs to stop the run or South Dakota will be involved in a lot of shootouts.
The Bottom Line:
This is a team that has the offensive firepower to win shootouts, but a little improvement from the defense can go a long, long way. South Dakota will be tested right away with a tough non-conference slate. The season begins with a deceptively tough trip to Drake before South Dakota heads to Bowling Green and hosts Big Sky powerhouse North Dakota. And, of course, the Missouri Valley is even tougher. With no Missouri State on the schedule and Northern Iowa, North Dakota State and South Dakota State in November, reaching the playoffs will be extremely difficult this season and even winning five games will be tough. However, this is a team that has the talent to pull off some upsets along the way.
Projected Postseason: None
2016 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 177.9 (39th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Passing Offense: 207.2 (63, 6)
Total Offense: 385.1 (55, 7)
Scoring Offense: 29.9 (36, 3)
Rushing Defense: 250.7 (116, 10)
Pass Defense: 233.4 (80, 7)
Total Defense: 484.1 (116, 10)
Scoring Defense: 34.5 (102, 9)
Turnover Margin: 0.45 (32, 4)
Sacks: 2.36 (32, 4)
Sacks Allowed: 2.00 (63, 6)
HERO Sports 2017 Recruit Rankings:
#9 Reggie Crawford
#27 Tyler Ciurej
#124 Luke Chuol
#198 Lincoln Gibbs