South Central Calhoun grad Case finds an early comfort zone at USD

Photo from University of South Dakota Sports Information South Central Calhoun graduate Kody Case, a freshman at South Dakota, breaks free for a run against Bowling Green last Saturday.

VERMILLION, S.D. — Kody Case is living out his dream on the football field for the University of South Dakota.

Case, a true freshman who earned all-state honors last fall for South Central Calhoun, has already made an impact for the Coyotes (2-0 overall) in early-season wins over Drake and Bowling Green.

He leads No. 23 (FCS) South Dakota in receiving with 170 yards, and is tied for the lead with six receptions. That includes a pair of touchdowns, including one score that was featured on ESPN live stream of the win over Bowling Green last Saturday.

“You dream of being on ESPN when you’re a little kid, so that was a pretty cool thing to have happen,” Case said. “The Bowling Green game was crazy. Playing against an FBS program is something I’ll never forget. The atmosphere was amazing.

“We came our right away with a 99-yard touchdown drive and that set the tone for the entire game.”

Leading 7-3, Case broke free on a 72-yard touchdown reception from Chris Streveler. He ended up with three catches covering 130 yards on the afternoon, as the Coyotes earned their second win ever over an FBS team.

“Upsetting a team like Bowling Green put the Coyotes back on the map,” Case said. “We can’t be satisfied and content with a win like that, though. Instead, we have to keep building on it and getting better day in and day out as we prepare for the Missouri Valley Conference.”

In the season opener vs. Drake in Des Moines, Case hauled in a 23-yard touchdown strike from Streveler. He finished that game with three catches for 40 yards and the score.

“Playing at Drake for my first college game was a surreal experience,” said Case, who played for his father, Bryan, at SCC. “Friends and family were able to come and support us and it was fun to play on the field I always warmed up on for track meets.”

Before deciding on South Dakota, Case considered North Dakota, Northwest Minnesota State, Northwestern College and Grand View.

There was just something about USD that caught Case’s attention.

“The coaching staff was the No. 1 reason I decided on USD,” he said. “They made me feel like it was home. I also have a tone of family around the Vermillion area and I can remember coming to the dome when I was seven years old to watching (former Southern Cal standout) Wesley Beschorner play quarterback and Stephon Logan play running back.

“From that moment on, it was my dream to play here.”

Case moved up to the school in early June for summer camp, but admits he “never really thought about playing time.”

“I just went out every single day and tried to learn the system,” he added, “and take all the tips and coaching from the older guys in that I could.”

South Dakota won its first two games on the road for the first time since 1957, and is 2-0 to start the season for the first time since 2006. They host No. 10 North Dakota inside the DakotaDome this Saturday at 2 p.m.

The game will stream on ESPN3.

Case will play in Iowa a second time later this year, heading to Cedar Falls to face 18th-ranked Northern Iowa on Nov. 4 inside the UNI-Dome.