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UND football: South Dakota looks to end UND funk

The UND football team hasn't lost a home game to South Dakota in more than 25 years. Coyotes coach Ed Meierkort will do just about anything to end that funk. "We might walk to the game this year just to change it up," Meierkort said. "It's time f...

The UND football team hasn't lost a home game to South Dakota in more than 25 years.

Coyotes coach Ed Meierkort will do just about anything to end that funk.

"We might walk to the game this year just to change it up," Meierkort said. "It's time for this team to win this game. You get tired of hearing about it."

The No. 22 Sioux and the No. 24 Coyotes will meet for the 94th time at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Alerus Center with a share of the Great West Conference title on the line.

The Coyotes haven't won in Grand Forks since 1985, a string of 11 straight defeats.

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"Lots of people don't think we can go up there and win," Meierkort said. "But playing the Sioux -- our rival in the conference -- for the title ... what a great way to end this Great West tenure.

"We came hand-in-hand to the Great West, and we've always appreciated that rivalry."

The matchup has no shortage of storylines:

n The game marks the end of the NCAA Division I transition for both programs.

n It's the final Great West football game as all of the conference's members have found new league homes beginning next season.

n The matchup is the end of the USD-UND rivalry for the near future as the Coyotes will be moving into the Missouri Valley Football Conference and the Sioux will be joining the Big Sky Conference.

Even though he's struggled in Grand Forks, Meierkort said that's exactly where he wants to play.

"I'd rather it be up there," he said. "It's time for us to prove we can get a big win on the road. We've proven that we can win here. These seniors have accomplished everything they can, except win a conference title."

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In scouting the Sioux, Meierkort said the glaring characteristic is UND's team play.

"It's not an individual," he said. "It's a very good team. They've had better players, and they've gotten some players hurt, but they find ways to get it done."

Meierkort also lauded the Sioux defense, particularly their ability to stuff the run.

"How many 14-7 games are played in this day and age?" said Meierkort, referencing UND's victory margin against UC Davis last week. "They just don't give up points. I think (Sioux coach Chris Mussman) has done a good job getting those guys to play together. They should be grateful for the job he's done up there."

Meierkort said the Great West swan song is a perfect way to go out.

"If you would have told me before the season that you'd be playing the Sioux for the conference title, I would have said, 'Wow that's awesome,'" he said. "And here it is."

Up next

Who: South Dakota at UND.

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When: 1 p.m. Saturday, Alerus Center.

TV/radio: FSSN, the Fox (96.1 FM).

Records: UND 2-1, 7-3; USD 2-1, 6-4.

Of note: The matchup will be the 94th all-time meeting between the two football programs.

Related Topics: UND FOOTBALLUND SPORTS
Miller has covered sports at the Grand Forks Herald since 2004 and was the state sportswriter of the year in 2019.

His primary beat is UND football but also reports on a variety of UND sports and local preps.

He can be reached at (701) 780-1121, tmiller@gfherald.com or on Twitter at @tommillergf.
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