VERMILLION, S.D. (KCAU) – Week One is here for the college football circuit, and for the third straight season South Dakota will open their year against an FBS opponent. Keeping Missouri on their minds in an early test to gauge where the Coyotes bring to the table in 2023.

Both teams are coming off losing seasons from 2022, but the Coyotes are honing in on a return to playoff form. Eight USD starters return on both sides of the ball, including top rusher Travis Theis and new starting quarterback Aidan Bouman. South Dakota secondary shares in the retention. The unit is bringing back the conference’s top tacklers in All-American linebackers Brock Mogensen and Cedar Catholic alum Stephen Hillis, alongside Northwestern College transfer Parker Fryar.

Though six new faces join Bob Nielson’s coaching staff, the group is staying healthy and hungry to start this fall with a statement win.

‘Overall we’ve been able to maintain relatively good health through the preseason,” South Dakota head coach Bob Nielson said. “It’s the kind of game where we’re going to have to play really sound football and we’re not going to be able to make mistakes because if we make mistakes they will capitalize on them with big plays offensively and defensively. This is a great challenge of a game but as we’ve seen in the past these games also present really great opportunities. We put in all of that work in football for those handful of opportunities that you get to play and this opportunity number one.”

USD kicks off its 2023 season at Missouri on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. The game will be televised on the SEC Network and ESPN+.