VERMILLION, S.D. ( —A two-point conversion pass from Jakob Parks to Caleb Vander Esch was the final play of a 14-14 intrasquad scrimmage hosted by the Coyotes Friday night inside the DakotaDome in front of season ticket holders.

The scrimmage served as the final fall practice for head coach Bob Nielson’s squad. More than 80 players divvied up into two teams that combined to run 88 offensive plays. Some players competed partially for both sides, but ultimately the five quarterbacks were split between the two teams and rotated series throughout. Tyler Tsagalis and Jakob Parks rotated on “Team USD” while Hayden Ekern, Cole Stenstrom and Devon Moore were featured on “Team Coyotes”.

Stars Shined: Younger players certainly took a majority of the snaps, but the veterans weren’t left out completely. In addition to Vander Esch making the game-tying play, Tyler Tsagalis threw a 55-yard touchdown bomb to Kody Case for the longest play of the night, Travis Theis rumbled in for a 7-yard run on a 4th-and-2 carry prior to the 2-point conversion, and a Jack Cochrane deflection led to a Jake Richardson interception to highlight the defense.

Ekern to Eliodor: Redshirt freshman Hayden Ekern took the first four series for Team Coyotes and five series in all. Following the Richardson interception on the first drive of the game, Ekern accounted for all but one yard on a 7-play, 87-yard drive he capped with a perfect toss to Wesley Eliodor. It looked similar to the 42-yard hookup between the duo two plays prior down the right sideline on 3rd-and-2. Eliodor totaled two catches for a game-high 68 yards. Ekern was 9-of-17 for 156 yards.

Moore to Witte: Devon Moore made the most of the one series he got. He shrugged off a mishandled snap and subsequent sack on his first play, converted a 3rd-and-13 strike to Jacob Remmert to move the chains, and hit Remmert again later on the drive to convert a 3rd-and-2. He finished the drive with a 35-yard dart to tight end Zach Witte who was left alone down the middle of the field. Witte caught two passes for 42 yards. Moore was 4-for-4 for 59 yards and the score.

The Backs: It’s tough to run a read option in a scrimmage where the whistle blows the moment the quarterback is breathed on. It certainly makes it easier to key on the running back!

That said, Travis Theis (10 car, 37 yds, TD) and newcomers Shomari Lawrence (7 car, 32 yds) and Mike Mansaray (6 car, 9 yds) performed admirably despite the rules. Theis and Lawrence both busted runs of 15 yards. Senior Kai Henry observed from the sidelines.

The Defense: Team Coyotes, which faced Tsagalis and Parks, came up with the Richardson interception and forced four three-and-outs in seven series. Linebacker Stephen Hillis and newcomer Isaia Paopao were fantastic, combining for big hits, nine tackles including a Hillis sack, and played a large role in limiting Team USD to seven yards rushing on 17 totes.

Team USD, which faced Ekern, Stenstrom and Moore, got sacks from Jason Simon-Ressler (four tackles), Nathan Stoffel (two tackles) and Vincent Starling (two tackles). True freshman defensive back Jailen Holman was credited with five tackles to lead the crew. Linebacker Hunter Headlee had four stops.