The 100th Dakota Days celebration lost a little of its luster Saturday, as the chrome-covered Coyotes dropped a 27-16 decision to then-21st ranked Northern Iowa.
One of the bright spots was quarterback Kevin Earl, who was solid in his return from injury, completing 17 of 29 passes for 260 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions.
Earl's day might have been even better if he could have stayed on his feet a little more often. The Coyotes struggled in pass protection against what head coach Joe Glenn called "the best defesive front we've seen at this level", surrendering a season-high seven sacks.
USD (2-4, 0-2 MVFC) was also hurt by some poor punt coverage. UNI's Chad Owens gave the Panthers great field position all day, returning six punts for 103 yards - an average of 17.7 yards per return - on Saturday.
Those are things that will have to get cleaned up if the Coyotes want to be successful this week at Missouri State. The Bears (3-3, 0-2 MVFC), led by quarterback Kierra Harris, are coming off a heart-breaking 32-28 loss at South Dakota State, which saw them squander an 11-point fourth quarter lead.
Producer Alex Heinert and I take an early look at the match-up with Missouri State in the latest Coyote Corner video blog: