With last week’s disappointing loss to South Dakota State, the Penguins looked to bounce back in a big way against the three and five North Dakota Fighting Hawks, the first meeting between the two teams since 1962, the third meeting all time. It didn’t end well for YSU as the Penguins fall to the Fighting Hawks 24-21.
The good news for this game was that quarterback Demeatric Crenshaw was ready to go after he sat out last week due to a lower body injury.
Youngstown State got the ball rolling on its first possession from play when Crenshaw found Samuel St. Surin for a 10-yard pickup. One play later and it was Jaleel McLauglin putting it in for a five-yard touchdown making it a 7-0 game.
North Dakota got a scare on its first drive when Otis Weah nearly lost the football thanks to a strip by Grant Dixon who was still wearing his cast. But the Fighting Hawks retained possession. That led to a Tommy Schuster nine-yard touchdown pass to Bo Belquist tying the game at seven.
YSU scored once more before the end of the quarter when Christian Turner broke free for a 20-yard run and then a one-yard touchdown the next possession making it a 14 to 7 game at the end of the quarter.
Both teams were playing a defensive matchup in the second quarter. Some highlights were with the Fighting Hawks driving and looking to score, Schusters pass was then picked off by Jordan White at the Penguins own 34.
The Fighting Hawks and the Penguins traded punts right after from Cade Peterson and Paddy Lynch but what was near disastrous was when Nick DeSalvo on the next punting possession muffed the punt which was recovered by North Dakota’s Jacob Odom. The Fighting Hawks also missed a kick from Brady Stevens.
At the half, it was a big time defensive matchup. Both teams needed to gain some momentum and head into the right direction for the final two weeks. It was still 14 to 7 Youngstown State.
Schuster and the Fighting Hawks were nearly stopped on their first possession but a couple penalties, one being a hold from Zaire Jones gave UND new life. Schuster found a hole open and gained 14-yards but was then only held to a Stevens 48-yard field goal making it 14-10 Penguins going into the fourth quarter.
YSU this season has had trouble in the second half but now with time on their side, this was the opportunity for them to close it out.
The fourth quarter opened with YSU making a huge fourth and one stop by Jelani Stafford. Once that happened, the Penguins went 10 plays and capped it off with a Crenshaw one yard touchdown run and it looked like all was sealed for the Penguins.
The defense played a big impact and was dominant and the offense had looked a lot better than what fans have seen the last couple of weeks. All looked to have been according to plan.
However, something changed as North Dakota suddenly went down the field not pressured and Schuster went to Garrett Maag for a 16-yard strike in the endzone. The two point conversion was no good but now it was a four point 21 to 16 ballgame.
This time YSU had to control the ball and the clock but that backfired as Crenshaw was sacked in the backfield by Jaxson Turner and McLaughlin was stopped by Jordan Canady and Quentin Seguin.
The Fighting Hawks got the ball and didn’t look back. Welsh, in just two plays, broke free for a 43-yard touchdown and with the two point conversion it was now a three point 24 to 21 game with everyone wondering what had just happened.
One Last Drive
Crenshaw and the Penguins had one last drive to make something happen, but after driving down the field a bit, he was sacked by Devon Krzanowski and Ben McNaboe, making the final 24-21 with the Penguins now falling three straight with just two games to go in their 10 game schedule.
Demeatric Crenshaw: 13-17 for 75 yards, 0 touchdowns and one interception.
Jaleel McLaughlin: 18 carries for 122 yards and a touchdown. Seven receptions for 39 yards.
Christian Turner: three receptions for 17 yards.
Samuel St. Surin: one reception for 10 yards.
North Dakota Stats
Tommy Schuster: 23 of 35 for 191 yards two touchdowns and one interception. Five carries for 22 yards.
Otis Weah: 14 carries for 90 yards and a touchdown.
Bo Belquist: nine receptions for 52 yards and one touchdown.
Garrett Maag: three receptions for 28 yards and one touchdown.
Youngstown State (2-6, 1-5 in MVFC) will host the number one team in the Missouri Valley Football Conference, North Dakota State Bison (8-1, 5-1 in MVFC). North Dakota State currently sits at #2 in the country. We’ll see how far they drop however as they are coming off of a 27-19 loss to South Dakota State. Kickoff is noon on ESPN PLUS or can be listened to on News Radio 570 WKBN.
North Dakota (4-5, 2-4 in MVFC) will host the Illinois State Redbirds (4-5, 2-4 in MVFC). Kickoff is 3pm on ESPN plus or on Midco Sports Network.