The Youngstown State football team plays its annual homecoming game on Saturday against South Dakota Coyotes. Kickoff at Stambaugh Stadium is set for 2:05 p.m. The Penguins (4-4 overall and 1-4 in the MVFC) will be looking to snap a four-game losing streak after falling at South Dakota State 41-28 last Saturday. YSU trailed 41-7 late in the third quarter before scoring the final 21 points of the contest.
The contest against the Jackrabbits was tied at seven after the first quarter, but two turnovers and a special-teams miscue turned the momentum of the game in the second quarter. SDSU took a 14-7 lead on a 50-yard touchdown pass from Austin Sumner to Tyrel Kool at the 11:51 mark. The Jackrabbits proceeded to score two touchdowns in 1:39 on drives that totalled 27 yards. The first score was set up by a bad snap on a punt that gave SDSU the ball at the YSU 12. The second came following an interception that was returned to the Penguins’ 15-yard line. Just before halftime, the Jackrabbits extended the lead to 35-7 when Sumner threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Jason Schneider.
SDSU scored on its first play of the second half before the Penguins scored the final three touchdowns and moved the ball deep into Jackrabbits territory on two other drives.
South Dakota (1-7 and 0-5) suffered its sixth straight defeat last Saturday, losing 45-14 at Indiana State. The Sycamores scored 28 first-half points en route to the victory. The Coyotes have allowed 24 points or more in each game this season with their last win coming on Sept. 8 against Colgate.
Saturday’s match-up the first-ever meeting between the Penguins and the Coyotes, in its first year in the Missouri Valley Football Conference.
Saturday’s game marks the 71st homecoming game in school history. The Penguins own an all-time mark of 48-21-1 in homecoming contests. At Stambaugh Stadium, YSU is a 20-10 in Homecoming games.
Last weekend, in Brookings, South Dakota, the Youngstown State football team scored the final three touchdowns and shrank a 34-point deficit to 13 in the fourth quarter, but just could not come all the way back, losing 41-28 at South Dakota State on a chilly Saturday afternoon at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium.
A 14-minute dryspell in the second quarter and early in the third quarter put the Penguins in their 34-point hole.
The Penguins are now 4-4 overall and 1-4 in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. South Dakota State improved to 6-2 and 4-1. The Jackrabbits have now defeated the Penguins five straight times.
In the second quarter of a tie ballgame, SDSU scored three touchdowns in a span of 3:43 with the last two coming on the heels of a YSU special teams miscue (fumble by punter Nick Liste) and an turnover (A hess interception).
YSU trailed 35-7 at halftime and was outgained 316-104, despite holding a 17:09-12:51 advantage in time of possession.
The Jackrabbits increased their advantage to 41-7 on their first offensive play of the third quarter, a 49-yard touchdown just 1:28 into the period.
From that point, YSU took over the game and made things interesting by scoring three touchdowns.
YSU found the end zone for the second time when Hess completed a five-yard scoring toss to Christian Bryan with 5:05 remaining in the third.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Jamarious Boatwright picked-off a deflected pass and then lateralled to Aronde Stanton who rumbled in for a score to trim the deficit to 41-21 just 11 seconds into the period.
Hess connected with Will Shaw on a 21-yard touchdown with 3:28 remaining to pull the Penguins within 41-28. SDSU recovered the onside kick, ending YSU hopes.
For the game, SDS-QB Sumner was 19-of-30 for 351 yards and five touchdowns.
For YSU, Hess completed 25-of-42 passes for 270 yards and two scores. Jamaine Cook rushed for 80 yards on 19 carries. Shaw had 10 receptions for 120 yards.
South Dakota State had 416 yards of total offense while the Penguins finished with 353.
The loss to SDS closed most doors for the Penguins playoff hopes this season
With a 300-lb. offensive line that featured an entire corps of two-year lettermen, projected All-American candidates at quarterback and running back, and a revamped defense, Youngstown State was rated #3 in the country just four weeks ago.
The loss to the Jackrabbits pushed the Penguins out of the nation’s Top-25.
YSU went into the SDS contest rated #22 in the country.