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Bison gear up for USD

Joe Glenn is 64 years old and has coached at virtually every level of football. There is not much the University of South Dakota head coach hasn’t seen in his career.

This season, however, has challenged that conventional wisdom.

The Coyotes come to Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome on Saturday losers of four straight games. All went deep into the fourth quarter, but when push came to shove, it was USD who got pushed.

“You know what though,” Glenn said. “Good teams make their own breaks. For whatever reason, we didn’t finish very well, and I think that is the next hurdle in this program.”

Not finishing well was an understatement against Montana. The Coyotes kicked a field goal with 1 minute, 48 seconds left to take a 27-24 lead, only to see the Grizzlies’ Ellis Henderson return the ensuing kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown.

USD rallied to take a lead against Youngstown with a touchdown with 2:14 remaining, but the Penguins responded with a touchdown with 14 seconds left for a 38-24 win. Last week, South Dakota State cornerback Winston Wright returned an interception 82 yards for a touchdown with 2:36 remaining to seal a 27-12 victory.

“We need to get a few more athletes,” Glenn said, “the kind of athlete capable of making the plays that have been made against us.”

They did it against Northern Iowa in a 38-31 two-overtime win last month, which put the Coyotes at 4-3 overall and 3-1 in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. At that point, reaching the FCS playoffs was well within reach.

But the last three defeats have all come at home.

“All of their games have been competitive,” said NDSU head coach Craig Bohl. “They have either won their games by a close margin or lost by a close margin. We have to be ready to play.”

The difference, Glenn said, is to develop depth like NDSU has in recent years. The Bison, for instance, were without their two most decorated defensive players last week in linebacker Grant Olson and cornerback Marcus Williams, yet defeated Youngstown 35-17.

“I think we’re all trying to be like North Dakota State,” Glenn said. “You see it in recruiting, the level of athletes they’re getting. Once we get a win over some of the schools we’re competing against, our level of recruit will get better.”

Jeff Kolpack
Jeff Kolpack covers North Dakota State athletics, the Fargo Marathon and golf for The Forum. His blog can be accessed at On the radio, Kolpack & Izzo sports talk show runs from 9-11 a.m. every Saturday morning. April through August, the WDAY Golf Show with Jeff Kolpack runs from 8-9 a.m.