Youngstown State showed promise after the 59-14 win last week against Western Illinois and was looking to upset the number one North Dakota State Bison this past Saturday. The opposite of that happened as the Penguins struggled to move the ball throughout the game, and the defense could not stop the NDSU pass and run game. The Bison beat the Penguins 56-17.
Bison Beat the Penguins 56-17
Youngstown State came out strong on defense as they forced North Dakota State to punt. However, punt returner Jake Coates would muff the punt and Ross Kennelly would recover it for the Bison. Quarterback Trey Lance then took it in himself making the score 7-0 early.
The Bison scored on their next offensive possession after they held the Penguins to a four and out. It started as a positive for YSU as NDSU almost lost the ball on the punt as Christiaan Randall-Posey forced the fumble, but the Bison fell on it. That then led to a Lance play-action pass finding wide receiver Christian Watson as he beat Penguins defensive back, Melvin Jackson, making it 14-0.
Youngstown State had another obstacle to deal with. Nathan Mays gained three yards but went down with another leg injury, the same one that has been hurting since the Northern Iowa game. Mays was carted off and according to the YSU Jambar, it is a broken left ankle. Mays would come back in the fourth quarter watching from the sidelines on crutches.
The Bison scored one more time before the end of the first quarter. Lance found Phoenix Sproles for 19 yards, and then found Josh Babicz for a six-yard touchdown just getting the feet in. This would make it 21-0 and the second did not change for the Penguins.
Woes Continued for the Penguins
North Dakota State scored within five minutes in the second when Lance found Babicz for a six-yard touchdown. They would then have great field position after a Nick DeSalvo shank of a 10-yard punt, and Dimitri Williams would take it in four yards making the score 28-0.
Youngstown State would finally reach the endzone in the second as Joe Craycraft found Miles Joiner 23 yards for a touchdown, but at that point, there was no hope for a comeback.
The Bison would put the nail in the coffin just before halftime as Kobe Johnson returned the kick 94 yards for a touchdown. The Bison went into the half with a lead of 42-7.
Youngstown State would score a field goal and one more touchdown in the final half. Their only second-half touchdown was when Mark Waid rushed it in himself for a 27-yard touchdown.
North Dakota State scored two more times during the second half. The first score was a Johnson 75-yard touchdown run, and then a 30-yard touchdown run by Williams. In the end, the North Dakota State Bison beat the Penguins 56-17.
North Dakota State had a total of 447 yards on offense while the Penguins had 278 yards. Lance finished seven of nine for 163 yards and three touchdowns. Craycraft finished five-of-ten for 44 yards and a touchdown. Waid was five-of-ten for 51 yards.
Post Game Reactions
Per the Youngstown State youtube channel, head coach Bo Pelini said that “ You don’t start like that, but we got our [butt] kicked in all three phases of the game, they were a lot better football team than us. We didn’t do anything well.” He also spoke on how all he can do is give credit to North Dakota State.
When asked about May’s injury, Pelini said that “Nate’s dislocated right above his ankle. It’s pretty nasty, then they had to reset the thing and he was in pretty serious pain, it’s too bad.” He can deal with the pain, he is pretty sad, his career is over. He’s done, so I feel for him, he was a great competitor, it’s a tough one to swallow.”
Quarterback Waid said during his press conference that “I’m going to practice and the coaches will make that decision and that I can control what I can control, and just work as hard as I can.”
Waid was the highest rusher on the Penguins team Saturday. He finished with eight for 79 yards and a touchdown. Joe Alessi struggled to get anything going against the Bison defense. Alessi finished with eight carries for 34 yards.
Joiner had three receptions for 37 yards and a touchdown. Ryan Emans had two receptions for 18 yards. Every other receiver only had one reception for YSU.
The Youngstown State defense was led by Zaire Jones, and Randall-Posey each finishing with six tackles.
Johnson for the Bison finished with six carries for 103 yards and a touchdown. Williams finished with six carries for 46 yards and two touchdowns. Quarterback Lance had a rushing touchdown.
The Bison receiver with most yardage was Watson with one reception for 69 yards and a touchdown. Babicz had three receptions for 41 yards and two touchdowns.
Youngstown State (5-4) (1-4 in MVFC) will head to the Dakota Dome to take on the South Dakota Coyotes (3-6) (2-3 in MVFC). Kickoff is 3:00 pm on ESPN+.
North Dakota State (9-0) (5-0 in MVFC) heads back to the FargoDome to host the Western Illinois Leathernecks (1-8) (1-4). Kickoff is 3:30 pm on ESPN+.