By Drae Smith
YSU Football Reporter for Rookery Radio
YSU Football Sideline Reporter for 570 WKBN / iHeartRadio
The Youngstown State football team fell to 5-2 overall and 3-1 in the Missouri Valley Football Conference after suffering a 24-10 defeat at South Dakota State this past Saturday. The Jackrabbits improved to 5-2 overall and 4-0 in the MVFC, taking sole possession of first place.
South Dakota State struck early, scoring on just the fifth play of the opening drive when tailback Brady Mengarelli scored on a two-yard touchdown run. The score put the Jackrabbits ahead 7-0 and was the first rushing touchdown the Penguins allowed on the season. On the ensuing YSU possession, quarterback Ricky Davis was intercepted by Christian Rozeboom who returned the ball all the way to the Penguins four-yard line. On the next play, SDSU QB Taryn Christion hit wideout Connor Landberg on a four-yard touchdown pass, putting the Jackrabbits ahead 14-0.
YSU cut the lead to 14-3 when Zak Kennedy hit a 28-yard field goal with just under six minutes left in the first quarter. South Dakota State would answer back to make it 17-3 when Chase Vinatieri connected on a 20-yard field goal with 25 seconds remaining before halftime. SDSU extended their advantage to 24-3 early in the third quarter when Christion found All-American wideout Jake Wieneke for a three-yard touchdown pass. That touchdown was set up when YSU tailback Jody Webb lost a fumble on his own 42-yard line.
YSU backup QB Nathan Mays came on in relief of Davis late in the game and was able to lead the Penguins only scoring drive of the day. The 10-play, 65-yard drive ended with a two-yard touchdown run from tailback Tevin McCaster with just under two minutes left in the game to produce the final score of 24-10. The Penguins were solid on defense again but could not overcome the two turnovers which set up 14 points for South Dakota State. The YSU offense struggled to find a rhythm all day long, QB Ricky Davis completed nine of 16 passes for 115 yards and one interception.
Tailback Martin Ruiz led the Penguins in rushing with 50 yards on 11 carries while Davis added 45 yards on 15 attempts. Brady Mengarelli led the ground game for SDSU, collecting 74 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries. Christion ran for 60 yards on 11 attempts in addition to completing 15 of 21 passes for 189 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Tight end Dallas Goedert led the Jacks in receiving with six catches for 108 yards while Jake Wieneke added five receptions for 33 yards and a touchdown.
Safety Jameel Smith led the Penguins defensively with a team-best 11 tackles while linebacker Armand Dellovade was close behind with 10. The YSU defense was able to limit one of the best offenses in the FCS but did not get the help it needed from the offense. The Jackrabbits were averaging over 40 points per game coming into the contest and were held to just 24, with 14 coming off turnovers. SDSU QB Taryn Christion was averaging over 323 passing yards per contest and was limited to just 189 against YSU.
The Penguins now return home to face Indiana State this Saturday on Homecoming. The Sycamores are currently 4-4 overall and 2-3 in the MVFC after downing Southern Illinois 22-14 on the road this past weekend. Kickoff at Stambaugh Stadium in Youngstown is scheduled for 4pm ET.