VERMILLION — Though it produced only one touchdown, the newly-installed offense for the USD football team drew rave reviews after Saturday’s 10-7 win over UC Davis.
And it was all thanks to an offensive line coach at Iowa State.
The new read option offensive scheme — a popular trend across college football — unveiled by the Coyotes was developed by offensive coordinator Wes Beschorner.
According to head coach Joe Glenn, Beschorner received assistance during a coaches convention earlier this year from Chris Klenakis, the new line coach at Iowa State and former architect of a similar scheme at Nevada.
The goal was simple: Tailor an offense to USD’s strengths.
“That’s really suited well to what we do,” Glenn said. “I’ve been telling some of these people around here, that we have an offense that fits this.
“I was hoping it would stand up today. If it wasn’t, I might be floating down the Missouri River.”
The advice from Klenakis seemed to work. The Coyotes were heavy on the run Saturday, rushing 48 times for 195 yards, while passing just 17 times for 91 yards.
Klenakis, a Carroll (Mont.) College grad — like two of USD’s assistants, coached San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kapernick at Nevada. In 2009, the Wolfpack used its read option scheme to produce three 1,000-yard rushers — the only time that has ever happened.
Though the Coyotes are far from that output, they did find success with a 1-2 tandem of Trevor Bouma (95 yards) and Jordan Roberts (66 yards). They complimented junior quarterback Josh Vander Maten, who ran 16 times — mostly on designed keepers — for 35 yards and a score.
“I feel like we were close, we had a couple misses here and there that could have opened the game up,” Vander Maten said of the new offense.
“We’re encouraged by that, but encouragement only gets us so far.”
Freshman Kicker Shines
Miles Bergner, the highly-touted kicker from Longmont, Colo., showcased Saturday the big leg that USD coaches had been raving about since his signing back in February.
It also earned him the Missouri Valley Football Conference Special Teams Player of the Week honor, announced Sunday.
Bergner’s 39-yard field goal with 7:31 left in the fourth quarter proved to be the difference in the 3-point victory. Bergner — who also serves as the punter — placed all five of his punts inside the UC Davis 25-yard line.
Earlier in the game, he had missed his first collegiate field goal attempt, from 30 yards. But Bergner made up for that early miss, head coach Joe Glenn said.
“He’s an 18-year-old kid, and he’s no different than anybody else,” Glenn said. “He’s got a big leg, and shows it. I think he’s feeling the pressure now.”
Getting that first make out of the way should propel him forward, his coach said.
“The game will do a lot for his confidence, but you can see the leg he’s got that we saw in recruiting,” Glenn said.
Offensive Line Grades High
One of the key areas heading into the 2013 season for USD was improving its offensive line, which was riddled by penalties and sacks (21) a year ago.
In Saturday’s win, the starting quartet of Matt Huffer (LT), Marc Murtha (LG), Cody O’Neill (C), Andrew Schofield (RG) and Derek Chancellor (RT) helped lead an offense that averaged 4.1 yards per carry.
“They’re a lot more confident out there; they believe,” Vander Maten said. “Some of that comes with the weight room training, growing up a little bit and getting a little bit bigger.”
Vander Maten was not sacked in the game and though he had to escape pressure on a few occasions, his 9-of-17 completion rate had more to do with dropped passes by receivers than being hurried.
“They just stayed together as a unit,” Vander Maten said of his line. “They didn’t get too excited, didn’t get too down on each other and stuck together as a unit.”
You can follow Jeremy Hoeck on Twitter at twitter.com/jhoeck
SOUTH DAKOTA 10, UC DAVIS 7
UC DAVIS 0 0 0 7 — 7
SOUTH DAKOTA 0 7 0 3 — 10
SDak—Vander Maten 3 run (Bergner kick), 13:16.
SDak—FG Bergner 39, 7:31.
UCDa—Manzanares 1 run (Stuart kick), 3:50.
First downs 16 18
Rushes-yards 34-157 48-195
Passing 110 91
Comp-Att-Int 13-24-0 9-17-0
Return Yards 0 13
Punts-Avg. 6-35.5 5-39.4
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 2-1
Penalties-Yards 6-49 7-50
Time of Possession 27:01 32:59
RUSHING—UC Davis, Manzanares 18-91, Mowry 9-37, Laughrea 5-29, R.Wright 2-0. South Dakota, Bouma 17-95, Roberts 10-66, Vander Maten 16-35, Terry 2-21, Team 2-(minus 6), Bergner 1-(minus 16).
PASSING—UC Davis, R.Wright 7-14-0-60, Laughrea 6-10-0-50. South Dakota, Vander Maten 9-17-0-91.
RECEIVING—UC Davis, Galindo 5-39, Hemmingsen 3-16, Martindale 2-23, Sloat 2-15, T.King 1-17. South Dakota, Terry 4-48, Bouma 4-37, Koch 1-6.