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Illinois State knocks off No. 15 South Dakota at DakotaDome, 20-14

Coyotes drop to 5-3 overall

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South Dakota Coyotes football. (Republic file photo)

VERMILLION — No. 15-ranked South Dakota lost its quarterback in the first half and didn’t recover in suffering a 20-14 setback to unranked Illinois State in Saturday’s Missouri Valley Football Conference contest inside the DakotaDome.

Carson Camp, the Coyotes starting quarterback left the game after taking a nasty hit in the second quarter and didn’t return to the contest. Cole Stenstrom, a redshirt freshman, came on in relief of Camp and nearly led a final drive comeback.

South Dakota (5-3, 3-2 Valley) trailed 20-7 in the fourth quarter before cutting the lead to six on a Travis Theis short touchdown run. The Coyote defense got a stop and gave the ball back to the offense with just under 7 minutes left. But a first-and-goal situation at the Illinois State 9-yard line ended without points for the Coyotes, who were stopped on downs, and a last-minute drive from Stenstrom ended with an interception.

Illinois State (3-4, 1-3 Valley) led 13-7 at halftime, getting a field goal on its first offensive possession of the contest and closing the half with a long field goal from Aida Bresnahan. In between the Redbirds scored on a 69-yard touchdown run from Cole Mueller.

The field goal, a 42-yarder, came on the possession immediately following South Dakota cutting the lead to 10-7 on a seven-yard pass from Stenstrom to Brett Samson.

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Illinois State, though, pushed the lead to 20-7 early in the third quarter on an interception return for a touchdown from Kenton Wilhoit.

South Dakota, which turned the ball over three times, outgained Illinois State 269-245, but the Redbirds rushed for 161 yards and controlled the ball for 32 minutes.

Stenstrom finished 11 of 24 for 125 yards and a touchdown while Theis ended up with 71 yards on 16 carries. Samson, Caleb Vander Esch and Carter Bell all caught three passes apiece in the setback.

South Dakota is off for a week before traveling to Western Illinois on Nov. 6.

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