With the shortened season, playoffs are more important than ever. For South Dakota State, the eighth-ranked team in the nation has been consistent despite an early week two loss to North Dakota. For Youngstown State, it’s been a rebuild, getting used to the new coaching staff and having to put new guys in the starting role due to transfers.
Both teams played each other which fans and the media alike were curious about what would happen in this game. Was it going to be a blowout, or was this going to be close with the Penguins ending the drought at Dana J. Dykhouse? It was a shootout and South Dakota State topped Youngstown State 19-17.
Jackrabbits hop over Youngstown State
The first quarter started off slow for the Penguins defense against South Dakota State led by quarterback Mark Gronowski and running back Pierre Strong. It only took five plays to find the end zone as Gronowski found Jaxon Janke eight yards out making it 7 to 0 early in the first.
The Jack Rabbits got some help from their defense too as YSU quarterback Mark Waid looked downfield but was picked off by Malik Lofton. The Penguins defense came up top when needed but kicker Cole Frahm showed his inner Adam Vinatieri making a 52-yard field goal extending the lead to 10.
YSU answered with some points of their own just before the end of the quarter. Waid gave the ball off to Missouri Valley player of the week Jaleel McLaughlin who broke through the hole going 42-yards to score cutting it to three which would be the score going into the second quarter.
The second quarter had no scoring from either team as both defenses stood their ground. On the Jackrabbits part, they picked off Waid once more, this time it was by Joshua Manchigah.
The Penguins forced South Dakota State to punt several times. Which gave Youngstown State the opportunity to either tie it or go up at the half with a touchdown.
They would get the chance with Colten McFadden from 43-yards out to try and tie it, but the kick was blocked and the Jackrabbits had the momentum, but the Penguins knew they were receiving in the second half and could make up for that early mistake.
The third quarter saw a non-existent YSU defense. They did stop Gronowski on a third down, but unfortunately, there was a pass interference call on Quincy Lenton. A few possessions and Gronowski found his receiver in Canyon Bauer which then led to a QB sneak. Their kicker shanked the PAT however making it 16-7.
The Penguins ran down the clock in the third with McLaughlin and the experienced Christian Turner as they would keep on gaining yardage, bringing the quarter to an end, and now it was either do or die time.
This would lead YSU to bring out McFadden and this time the kick was good cutting the Jack Rabbits lead to six points. It only got better from there.
First, South Dakota State missed a field goal attempt by Frahm from 43-yards out. After the defensive play by the Jack Rabbits, Gronowski ended up getting picked off by second-year Penguin and former Vanderbilt player Zaire Jones.
Three plays later and YSU’s new running back scored again. McLaughlin who went four, to 15, and then a one-yard touchdown. Topped off with the McFadden extra point, it was now a one-possession game with just about six minutes to go.
The Penguin’s defensive line was banged up yet stopped South Dakota State on their first attempt to score. Unfortunately, once they got the ball back, the Rabbits started to hop their way downfield.
It started with Gronowski finding Heins and Janke. He was nearly picked off on one play as his pass was tipped and three Penguins came so close to intercepting the pass but they barely missed it.
After YSU’s last timeout, the Jack Rabbits brought out Frahm who missed the PAT as well as a 43-yarder earlier. This time, however, he had some of the leftover Vinatieri magic inside of him, draining the 29-yard field goal.
YSU and Mark Waid had one final chance. However, on their third play with 20 seconds to go, Waid was pressured, losing the football in the process. And Thomas Stacker recovers the ball making the final score 19-17.
Mark Waid– 7-13-2INTs 55yds 0TDs. 11 Rushing attempts- 51 yards.
Jaleel McLaughlin– 26 carries for 126 yards 2TDs.
Christian Turner nine carries for 36 yards.
CJ Charleston– one reception 31 yards
Grant Dixon– 10 total tackles, one TFL
Zaire Jones– nine tackles, INT
Jordan White– four tackles
Griffin Hoak– four tackles
Mark Gronowski 12-28 158 Yds 1TD 1INT, nine carries, 25 yards
Pierre Strong– 21 carries 126 Yards. Isaiah Davis- three carries 12 yards
Jadon Janke three receptions 57 yards. Jaxon Janke three receptions, 19 yards, TD.
Zach Heins– two receptions, 55 yards.
Preston Tetzlaff-nine tackles
Don Gardner-six tackles
Logan Backhaus-five tackles
Michael Griffin-five tackles
Youngstown State (0-4) will host South Dakota (1-2) who was recently shocked by Missouri State 27-24. Kickoff is at noon on ESPN PLUS.
South Dakota State (3-1) heads to Saluki Stadium to take on Southern Illinois (4-1, one game played in the fall). Kickoff is 1 pm on ESPN PLUS.