Now that it's officially game week, it seems appropriate to remind everyone that MidcoSN will broadcast a total of five Coyote football games during the 2013 season.
- Aug. 31 - vs. UC Davis, 2 p.m. (HD)
- Oct. 5 - vs. Missouri State (Dakota Days), 2 p.m.
- Nov. 9 - vs. Montana, 1 p.m.
- Nov. 16 - vs. South Dakota State, 1 p.m.
- Nov. 23 - at North Dakota State, 2:30 p.m. (Produced by KVLY-TV)
The first is this Saturday's season/home opener against UC Davis. The matchup is pretty typical in that it's a non-conference game to start the season. But this is not some random opponent. These two programs know each other pretty well.
It wasn't all that long ago that the schools were conference "rivals" in the Great West. USD and UC Davis squared off three times between 2009-11, with the games being decided by a grand total of eight points. The Coyotes, 2-2 all-time against the Aggies, claimed a 27-24 decision in the last meeting between the two on Oct. 22, 2011.
It should also be noted that USD has won 11 straight home openers, including last year's 31-21 victory over Colgate.
The Coyotes return to MidcoSN on Saturday, Oct. 5 when Missouri Valley Football Conference rival comes to town for the annual homecoming game. Dakota Days always guarantees a little extra energy, though I'm not sure the Coyotes are going to need any more motivation. They'll be looking for payback against a team that snatched victory from their grasp last season. The Bears scored 17 unanswered points over the final six minutes of that contest, capping it off with a 33 yard field goal with no time remaining, to win 27-24. Out of all heartache that Joe Glenn's team endured last season, that dagger might have pierced the deepest.
The competition will jump up a notch for our final two MidcoSN-produced broadcasts. In other words, cliche as it might be, we saved the best for last.
Montana will invade the Dakota Dome on Saturday, Nov. 9. The Grizzlies handed the Coyotes a 35-24 loss in Missoula last season, though that Montana team will hardly compare to the one USD is going to see this year. The Grizz, ranked No. 20/22 nationally in the preseason polls, were picked 3rd in the Big Sky's preseason coaches' poll behind Montana State and Eastern Washington.
Montana's offense will get a huge boost from the return of junior quarterback Jodan Johnson, who missed last season due to an off-the-field issue. Johnson led the Grizzlies to the national semifinals in 2011.
The Grizz also return 10 defensive starters, including All-American linebacker Jordan Tripp and All-Big Sky defensive end Zack Wagenmann.
The Coyotes will round out their home schedule the following week, as the South Dakota Showdown Series resumes against South Dakota State on Nov. 16.
South Dakota's "big game" returned after a nine-year hiatus last season, with the Jackrabbits claiming a 31-8 decision in Brookings. USD would love nothing more than to even the FCS-era series at one game apiece, as they welcome State to the Dome for the first time since 2003.
The Jackrabbits, who reached the second round of the FCS playoffs in 2012, were picked second in the MVFC's preseason poll and are ranked No. 6/7 nationally.
In addition to the live broadcasts, "Coyote Corner" returns for another year on MidcoSN. Tune in Tuesday nights - starting Aug. 27 - at 8 p.m. all season long. Head coach Joe Glenn will join us weekly. We'll also get expert analysis from former Coyotes defensive back Andre Fields.