- Associated Press - Saturday, September 20, 2014

VERMILLION, S.D. (AP) - Ryan Saeger ran for two scores and threw for another and South Dakota beat No. 23 Northern Arizona 28-21 Saturday.

Saeger rushed for 108 yards and scored on two 1-yard runs and the Coyotes (2-2) led 20-0 at halftime. Saeger added a 33-yard run on third-and-4 late in the fourth quarter to help South Dakota run out the clock after the Lumberjacks had closed within seven points.

“They can cover and we were covered most of the day,” Coyotes coach Joe Glenn said. “It just wasn’t a wide-receiver day. He (Saeger) started running and running and running. … Ryan just followed his blocking.”

Saeger completed just 6 of 15 passes for 85 yards.

But the Coyotes finished with 305 yards on the ground and averaged 5.4 yards per carry. Trevor Bouma had 89 yards, Jasper Sanders had 59 yards and Jordan Roberts, 56.

The Lumberjacks were limited to 73 yards rushing and one first down on the ground. Kyren Poe completed 11 of 22 passes for 174 yards and a touchdown, but he threw three interceptions and was hurt late and replaced by Chase Cartwright, who went 4-for-6 for 69 yards.

Miles Bergner kicked field goals of 31 and 22 yards and South Dakota led 20-0 at halftime. Bergner hasn’t missed a kick this season, making all eight attempts.

Two quick NAU touchdowns in the third quarter made it a one-touchdown game. Casey Jahn scored the first of his two TDs on a 3-yard run and Poe hit Nick Butler with a 6-yard TD pass.

“You know if it’s a top-25 team they’ll make a run,” Glenn said. “We never let up and never give up on somebody that’s made a mistake (Eric Shufford fumbled a punt that led to a TD). I’ve seen the guy that looks like a goat come back and make a play.”

Saeger threw a 9-yard TD pass to Shufford, then Shufford tossed a two-point conversion pass to Drew Potter for a 28-14 lead.

Northern Arizona was South Dakota’s sixth-straight opponent ranked in the top 25 in the FCS poll.

Jahn led the Lumberjacks in rushing with 61 yards on 16 carries, while Ify Umodu had six catches for 152 yards.

USD’s first two scores - Saeger 1-yard runs - were set up by interceptions. The Coyotes had three interceptions.

“Our defense did the job,” Glenn said. “They hit some beautiful passes that were guarded. They just made beautiful plays. For our defense to hold them to 21 points is a feather in their hat.”

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