Fargo, ND – The Youngstown State football team dropped a hard-fought conference opener 27-14 at No. 1 ranked North Dakota State on Saturday afternoon at the Fargodome.
The Penguins (2-2 overall and 0-1 in the MVFC) outscored the Bison (4-1, 2-0) by a count of 11-6 in the second half as quarterback Mitch Davidson came on to provide a spark for the offense. The defense limited the high-powered NDSU attack to just a pair of field goals in the second half.
TB Jaleel McLaughlin had a solid performance on the ground rushing for 150 yards on 17 carries – an average of 8.8 yards per carry. In the second quarter, McLaughlin’s 44-yard jaunt put him over 7,000 career rushing yards. He becomes just the seventh player in NCAA history to eclipse the 7,000-yard mark.
Defensively, Jordan Trowers had eight tackles while Marcus Hooker, Chris Fitzgerald and D’Marco Augustin were each credited with seven stops.
In the first half, NDSU scored three rushing touchdowns to put the Penguins in a tough spot.
Hunter Luepke had scoring runs of two and 12 yards in the opening quarter as the Guins feel behind 14-0.
The Penguins closed the gap to 14-3 on a 22-yard field goal by Colt McFadden with 10:35 left in the second quarter. YSU moved the ball down the NDSU one-yard line, but on fourth-and-goal the Guins were whistled for a false start penalty which moved the ball back to the six.
On the drive, YSU’s Jaleel However, NDSU answered with its third touchdown in as many drives as Kobe Johnson scored on a 17-yard run. The TD came one play after the Bison picked up 17 yards on a 3rd-and-15 at the YSU 34-yard line.
YSU was able to close within 21-6 on its lone drive of the first quarter. Mitch Davidson came on at quarterback and moved the Guins down to the NDSU 30-yard line. After the drive stalled, McFadden booted a career-long 47-yard field goal with 2:05 left in the period.
NDSU added a 39-yard field from Griffin Crosa with 7:45 remaining to make the contest 24-6.
But the Guins didn’t quit and pulled within 24-14 with 4:30 left in the contest. Davidson found McLaughlin for a 35-yard scoring toss and then connected with Dr. Rushton for a two-point conversion.
YSU had a chance at the onside kick, but the ball bounced off two players and went out of bounds. NDSU added a 38-yard field goal by Crosa for the final margin.
The Penguins return home to take on North Dakota next Saturday at Stambaugh Stadium. Kickoff for the contest against the Fighting Hawks is set for 6 pm