VERMILLION — Joe Glenn joked that his halftime tip to offensive coordinator Wes Beschorner wasn’t exactly a ground-breaking idea.
The head coach’s message, with his team down 14-7 at the break?
“I poked Wesley and said, ‘Twenty-one is really running good. Put it on him and put it on the big guys up front,’” Glenn, USD’s head coach, said later.
Twenty-one, the number of redshirt freshman running back Trevor Bouma, was called plenty of times Saturday afternoon. And he delivered, running for a career-high 145 yards and two touchdowns as the Coyotes beat Indiana State 17-14 for their second straight Missouri Valley Football Conference victory.
After needing 10 games to nab their first league win, the Coyotes (3-3, 2-1) are now on a winning streak in arguably the nation’s toughest FCS conference.
“Last week’s win gave us so much confidence, it got the whole team’s morale boosted,” said Bouma, who carried the ball 28 times for an average of 5.2 yards.
Winning by the same margin as last Saturday over Missouri State, USD also struggled with many of the same miscues.
Though the number of penalties dropped to six, three were of the personal foul variety. The Coyotes also lost two fumbles, missed a field goal, had another field goal blocked and threw two interceptions in the end zone.
“We’re playing good enough to win, but I know we can play better than that,” Glenn said. “Last year we weren’t playing quite this good, and we were losing by three points.
“And that’s the difference.”
Another difference on Saturday? USD’s defensive performance.
The Coyotes — the nation’s leader against the pass — out-gained the Sycamores 370-198 in total yardage. Indiana State, the top passing team in the Missouri Valley, was held to 82 yards through the air.
“We knew it would be a challenge,” USD senior cornerback Dyllon Knox said. “But we took it upon ourselves to get into our film, know what they want to do, and dominate the game.”
After Bouma’s second touchdown, a 4-yarder, put USD ahead 17-14 with 11:06 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Coyote defense recorded an interception on the next drive and a stop on fourth down on the next series for ISU.
From there Bouma ran out the clock.
Bouma’s first touchdown of the game capped off USD’s opening drive with a 3-yard touchdown run at the 8:54 mark of the first quarter.
A pair of USD personal foul penalties helped the Sycamores march down the field on their next drive. Perish hit A.J. Johnson for a 22-yard touchdown completion on third down, tying the game at 7-7.
From there, the Coyotes had a drive end with a missed field goal (from 50 yards) and two passes from sophomore quarterback Kevin Earl that were intercepted in the end zone.
“We started off the game moving the ball, and I think we showed that,” Earl said. “We established the run game, we were clicking, just had a few mishaps happening in the end zone.
“I’ll take the fall for that; a couple bad decisions.”
USD committed its third turnover on a bobbled punt return by Aaron Swift, and Indiana State capitalized — thanks to a short field.
A 3-yard touchdown pass from Robert Tonyan Jr. to Logan Buske pushed ISU ahead 14-7 with 1:06 left before halftime.
The Coyotes committed their fourth turnover of the game on a fumble early in the third quarter, but ISU couldn’t turn it into points.
Miles Bergner nailed a 43-yard field goal at the 6:57 mark to get USD within 14-10, and early in the fourth, the Coyotes re-took the lead.
Bouma scored on a 4-yard run with 11:06 remaining, pushing USD in front 17-14.
Perhaps the biggest play of the game came when the USD defense stopped the Sycamores on 4th & 4 after a long drive.
Tonyan Jr., still in the game in place of junior quarterback Mike Perish, scrambled to the right sideline but was driven out just short.
The Coyotes took over and moved the ball enough — with every hand-off going to Bouma — to wind out the clock.
In all, USD rushed for 205 yards in the victory, its most since a 219-yard effort at Kansas. Earl completed 15-of-25 passes for 165 yards, with five of those completions going to Terrance Terry.
And so, the Coyotes — with consecutive wins under their belt — next gear up for a road trip to Cedar Falls, Iowa, next Saturday to face Northern Iowa.
“Right now, our morale is high, we’re all coming together as a brotherhood,” sophomore defensive lineman Drew Iddings said.
“Getting these two wins at home is huge, and going on the road, know it’ll be a tough game at UNI.”