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Gophers can’t catch those wily Coyotes
Minnesota kicked off a challenging home schedule with the one game it just couldn’t lose.
But the Golden Gophers simply couldn’t catch Dante Warren and South Dakota.
Warren passed for 352 yards and three touchdowns for the Coyotes of the Football Championship Subdivision and scampered for a 25-yard score on fourth-and-1 midway through the fourth quarter, sealing a 41-38 victory Saturday.
Warren, a junior from Arlington Heights, Ill., in his first year as a starter, spurred the Coyotes (1-1) to a program-defining stunner over the Gophers (1-1) who – gulp – host No. 16 Southern California next week.
“We realized that we could score when we wanted,” said Warren, whose running success helped create soft coverage for his receivers down the field. The depth of my disappointment right now, you cannot measure it,” said coach Tim Brewster, whose job could be jeopardized by this defeat. “I don’t want to discredit South Dakota in any way, … but it certainly is an unacceptable loss on our part.”
The Gophers returned only two starters on defense this season, and neither of them – safeties Kim Royston and Kyle Theret – have played yet due to a leg injury and a suspension. Brewster said he expects both players to be back next week.
Duane Bennett, who rushed 18 times for 104 yards, kept the Gophers close with two 1-yard touchdown runs in the fourth quarter, the last with 3:21 left to cut the lead to three. But the Coyotes got one first down after the kickoff, all they needed to drain the clock.
“We have inexperienced guys, but there is no excuse to have a defensive performance like we did today,” said Brewster, who blamed himself for not properly preparing the team. He also didn’t shy from criticizing his defensive backs: “Tackling’s tackling. Tackling’s something that you’ve done since the first time you put pads on.”
Not even a missed extra point or two interceptions thrown by Warren were enough to slow these wily Coyotes.
By Fort Wayne Journal Gazette