The University of South Dakota is set to embark on its inaugural season in the Missouri Valley Conference. It's been a few years in the making, but guided by first year Head Coach Joe Glenn, the Yotes are excited begin a new chapter in their history.
USD was picked to finish eighth in the league's preseason poll.
South Dakota returns a handful of key players from last year's squad that finished 6-5, including quarter back Josh Vander Maten, wide receiver Will Powell and running back Marcus Sims on the offensive side of the ball and linebacker Tyler Starr on defense.
Even though they're the rookies of the league, the Yotes aren't just going to lay-down and take their lumps in their first go around in the league. They want to finish at the top.
"We feel like we can compete with anybody right now," said Powell. "Our goal is a Missouri Valley championship, and then a national championship. We know we've got the guys to win games. We know we have the talent to win games and with the effort we've brought thus far, in camp, I really think we've got a shot.
"We've got a tough schedule in front of us. I think the only way to go about it, is to be all in," Starr added. "If we step in with just half a foot in the door, we're going to get it slammed in our face. But, if we go and kick the door in, I think we've got a good a shot as anybody."
Starr burst onto the scene with a breakout season as a sophomore. He led the team with 14 sacks, and was ranked in the top 10 nationally in that category last season.
The junior from Little Rock, Iowa, also forced seven fumbles last season and earned several preseason honors and was named to the MVC preseason team.
"Receiving those awards makes me go, all right, now I've got people thinking this is what I am, I have to go show them that's who I actually am and what I'm capable of doing," Starr said. "At the same time, I don't let it get to my head. You have to stay humble and know that humble beginnings always end with happy endings."
South Dakota's season begins September 1, with a trip to Montana.
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