The last couple of weeks have been tough for Youngstown State. First, at Fargo against North Dakota State, the Penguins defense held really well. However, they couldn’t move the ball down the field as they would lose against the Bison 25-7. The next week, the same thing but this time they were shutout against Northern Iowa 21-0. This week, was another tough challenge as the Penguins hosted the 11th ranked Southern Illinois Salukis. This is the same team that ended the Bisons winning streak last week 38-14. Unfortunately, Youngstown State drops second home game to Southern Illinois.
There was something different from the last first quarter starts. The difference was YSU driving down the field with their official starting quarterback Mark Waid. Waid won the job over Joe Craycraft this week, ending the two-quarterback system. YSU opened up with a Jaleel McLaughlin 10-yard run. And finally ending the drive with a Waid rushing touchdown. The Colten McFadden extra point was blocked making it 6 to 0 in the early first.
The Penguins not only came up big on offense but on defense on Southern Illinois’ first drive, as quarterback Nic Baker was picked off by Keyon Martin which was returned for 27-yards. Few drives later, and it was the offense with the momentum once again as Waid gave the ball to McLaughlin who went for a 10-yard score. The two-point conversion came up short making it 12-0 Penguins at the end of the first quarter.
The Salukis needed a score so they decided to slow down the Youngstown State defense by playing the hurry-up offense. Quarterback Baker gave the ball to his Javon Williams Jr for five of the seven plays, scoring the touchdown. Thus, cutting the lead to five as Southern Illinois now had the momentum on their side.
Youngstown State showed grit on offense that they had trouble showing the last two games. Luckily, with the power of London Pearson and Waid, the Penguins converted both fourth-down attempts and finished off the drive with another McLaughlin touchdown extending by eight with just under two minutes to go.
SIU got the ball back and coach Nick Hill and Blake Rolan’s offense once again played the hurry up. This time it was not with the running game, but instead, the passing game as Baker found his receivers in Avante Cox and Jerron Rollins. Baker then decided to take it himself 17-yards out making it 19-13. The momentum was at an all-time high.
The third quarter is when shoot-out starts. First thing is that the Saluki would take the lead for the first time in the afternoon as Baker led those dogs down the field. Baker to Justin Strong two yards into the endzone making it 20-19. Not to mention the Saluki defense also doing wonders for their team.
Next, Youngstown State wanted to keep that first-half momentum. However, it died down as Waid was stopped by Southern Illinois defense led by James Ceasar and Anthony Knighton. Thus, forcing YSU to bring out Paddy Lynch in punt formation. The Saluki’s then drive down the field after, settling for a 22-yard field goal after a stop by Grant Dixon and Pat Minenok for the Penguins. At the end of the third, it was 23-19.
Youngstown State opened up the fourth just like how they finished the third on offense. They used quarterback draws or scrambles with Waid and handoffs to McLaughlin. Waid once again scored from a yard out cutting the lead to one. YSU’s hopes got a little darker however as Baker on the next possession went to Landon Lenoir. Lenoir escaped YSU’s secondary and went 37-yards to score as the Southern Illinois lead jumped to eight and was now 30-22.
Mark Waid and the Penguins had one more opportunity, but hopes of getting coach Phillips his first win were shattered with a minute to go on a fourth and four. Waid would escape the pressure and had an opportunity to run for it, but with limited time left, he went downfield to the goal line looking for Natavious Payne.
Due to the pressure by Chucky Sullivan, the pass fell short. The first win for YSU will have to wait another week as they fall 30-22. YSU still leads the series 17-14-1 since 1965.
Youngstown State Stats
YSU- 94 passing yards. Mark Waid- 10 of 22, 94 yards 0TDs, 0INTs. 23 ATTPS, 73 rushing yards, one touchdown.
Jaleel McLaughlin- 26 attempts, 124 yards, and two touchdowns. London Pearson- four attempts for seven yards.
Andrew Ogletree- one reception for 33 yards. Christian Turner- two receptions for 20 yards. Malick Mbodj- three receptions for 14 yards. Natavious Payne- two receptions for 13 yards.
Grant Dixon 10 total tackles, Griffin Hoak nine total tackles. Pat Minenok five total tackles.
139 yards passing on offense. Nic Baker 13-18, 139, 2TDs, 1INT. Four attempts, 32 yards, and a touchdown. Romeir Elliott, 18 Car, 97 yards, Javon Williams Jr. Nine carries for 32 yards and a touchdown.
Landon Lenoir- Three REC, 64 yards, and a touchdown. Justin Strong. Two REC, eight yards, and a touchdown. Clayton Bush 10 total tackles. Bryson Strong, nine total tackles, one sack, and forced fumble. Anthony Knighton eight total tackles and a sack. Makel Calhoun– six total tackles, and a sack.
Youngstown State (0-3) will head to Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium next week to take on the South Dakota State Jackrabbits (2-1) who are coming off of a 45-10 win against Western Illinois. Kick-Off is 3 pm on ESPN PLUS or 570 WKBN.
Southern Illinois (3-1, one game played in the fall) will host the Northern Iowa Panthers (2-1). Kickoff is at 1 pm on ESPN PLUS.