CFB: Coyotes upset seventh ranked Illinois State

Photo: Brent Nathaniel

NORMAL, Ill. ( —South Dakota’s defense forced seven turnovers and Carson Camp and the Coyote offense cashed them in for a 27-20 upset of seventh-ranked Illinois State Saturday at Hancock Stadium in the season opener for both teams.

It was the program’s sixth win against a top-10 team in the last six seasons and South Dakota’s first win in Normal in five tries. The Coyotes have won four consecutive MVFC openers and three of those came on the road.

Camp, a true freshman who played his high school ball less than two miles from Hancock Stadium, passed for 221 yards, ran for 20 and accounted for all three Coyote touchdowns. He became the first true freshman quarterback since 1999 to start a game for USD and the first to start a season opener in recorded history.

Illinois State outgained USD 447-300, but the 7-1 turnover advantage was the difference. Camp completed 20-of-35 passes for his 221. Carter Bell caught four passes for a career-high 64 yards and hauled in his second collegiate touchdown pass. Kai Henry ran 16 times for just 35 yards and Travis Theis ran 10 times for 34.

Bryce Jefferson, who started all three playoff games for Illinois State last season in helping the Redbirds reach the quarterfinals, was 15-of-33 through the air for 280 yards. He completed three passes of more than 50 yards, two of which were caught by Austin Nagel who caught five passes for 132 yards. Pha’leak Brown carried 17 times for 86 yards.

South Dakota stays on the road for a Thursday night contest at Valley newcomer and No. 14 North Dakota. The Hawks upset third-ranked South Dakota State 28-17 Saturday to get to 2-0 and will be moving up in the polls ahead of