Heading into the Missouri Valley Conference opener this weekend, South Dakota is looking for something that eluded them during four games of the non-conference schedule - consistency.

With a bye week before the league opener, the Coyotes (1-3) spent some time working on themselves before turning their attention to prepping for Indiana State.

USD head coach Bob Nielson told me there were things to shore up on both sides of the ball and opportunities to welcome some injured players back onto the field:

Dave Eggen/Inertia

Indiana State (2-2) comes to Vermillion on a two-game winning streak but without starting quarterback Ryan Boyle, who is out for the year after tearing an ACL in the Sycamores win over Eastern Illinois two weeks ago. Backup Kurtis Wilderman starts in his place. He threw for 186 yards and a touchdown in that victory after Boyle went down.

The Sycamores have been running the ball very effectively this season, averaging better than 200 yards a game on the ground. Running back Peterson Kerlegrand has already gone over 100 yards in a game twice this season.

When Indiana State goes to the air they look to wide receiver Dante Hendrix, who had 11 catches for 111 yards and two scores in a triple-overtime win against USD last season.

The Sycamores had an amazing turnaround in 2018, going 7-4 after not winning a game in 2017.

Nielson gives credit to Indiana State's veteran players:

On defense, the Sycamores have been one of the best in the country so far in 2019.

Linebackers Jonas Griffith, a pre-season All-American, and Clayton Glasco lead a unit that's in the top 15 in the nation in fewest yards allowed per game (305).

In their last game, Indiana State forced four turnovers against Eastern Illinois.

Neilson says this is another veteran group:

Kickoff is 2:00 PM, Saturday (October 5) at the DakotaDome.