Following the bye week, South Dakota (2-2, 0-0 MVFC) is set to begin its annual trek through the Missouri Valley Football Conference Saturday night at Southern Illinois. The Salukis (4-1, 1-0 MVFC) are coming off a 34-17 win over intrastate rival Western Illlinois in their league opener.
Here are few things to take note of ahead of the Coyotes trip to Carbondale:
Saturday’s meeting will be the first between South Dakota and Southern Illinois. The Salukis are coached by former University of North Dakota head coach Dale Lennon. He is 46-29 in seven seasons at SIU.
The week off allowed a trio of Coyote starters to get back onto the field. Running backs Trevor Bouma (concussion) and Jasper Sanders (shoulder), along with center Sam McCleran (shoulder) have all been cleared and will play against the Salukis.
The return of Bouma and Sanders – who were both injured during USD’s win over Northern Arizona on Sept. 20 – is especially important, since the team will be without running back Jordan Roberts. Roberts also suffered a concussion during the win over the Lumberjacks, but his recovery hasn’t gone as smoothly. He won’t even make the trip to Carbondale.
Junior defensive tackle Nick Jacobs is another guy that will be staying home. Jacobs continues to deal with lingering effects from the viral infection that hospitalized him during training camp. It involves his spleen, so the Coyotes medical staff is being very careful with him. Jacobs, a two year starter, has yet to appear in a game this season.
Saeger Starts Again
Ryan Saeger will make his fourth consecutive start at quarterback. Saeger – 2-1 since taking over for the injured Kevin Earl – has been the top running quarterback in the MVFC this season. He’s averaging 68.0 yards rushing in his three starts, including a career-best 108 yard effort in the win over Northern Arizona.
Earl, meanwhile, continues to progress in his recovery from a broken thumb. He’s been throwing some passes in practice, but there’s still no specific target date for his return. Joe Glenn says there’s a chance Earl could be ready for the Oct. 11 Dakota Days game against Northern Iowa, though it sounds like that’s a little optimistic.
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