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Jeff Kolpack, Published October 17 2012

USD head coach Glenn enduring tough stretch recently

FARGO – The last three losses have taken a toll and there’s no getting around that for the University of South Dakota football team. The point margin of all three combined was less than two touchdowns.

The salt in the wound was applied by previously winless Missouri State last week, when a 33-yard field goal as time expired completed a big-time rally for the Bears. They scored the final 17 points in the last 5 minutes, 27 seconds to win 27-24.

For a head coach that has won Division I Football Championship Subdivision and NCAA Division II national titles, that’s not easy to stomach.

“None of us really handle losing,” Joe Glenn said. “Maybe we do it with grace, but you do it with a heavy heart, I can tell you that.”

Glenn was hired this year after being out of coaching for three years, his last in 2008 at the University of Wyoming. He was 188-100-1 in 24 seasons coming into this year.

There has been a lot of change on USD’s plate this year, with its first year in the Missouri Valley Football Conference with a young team.

The Coyotes are 0-3 in the league and 1-5 overall, with their only win at home against Colgate.

“We just need some birthdays,” he said. “But the kids are working hard and I love our coaching staff. We’ll get those things working and it will happen sooner than later.”

They’ll try to make it happen Saturday night when the Coyotes host North Dakota State in Sioux Falls, S.D. The 6 p.m. game at Howard Wood Field is USD’s first as a home game in the biggest city in South Dakota.

Glenn says he has no problem with the Sioux Falls game, saying it’s a good chance to partner with the community in general and Sanford Health in particular. USD’s home of Vermillion is located 60 miles south.

“I think no matter what, it’s the right thing to do,” he said. “I understand the business. Sioux Falls is a community that has gone off the chart financially and population-wise.”

Local USD fans will see a Bison team coming off a 17-14 loss to Indiana State, NDSU’s first of the season. A former national championship coach at the University of Montana, comparing the Missouri Valley to the Big Sky is similar to the Big Ten and Pac-12, Glenn said.

Glenn also spent six years with Wyoming and the Mountain West Conference.

“I’d say you see a little more old-school offense in this league, not that the passing numbers aren’t good,” he said. “I thought when I coached at the Big Sky that maybe that league was a little stronger but this league has caught them. Everybody has a strength to recruit to with location and facilities and those types of things. I think it’s a real good fit for us.”

Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546. Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia