The Youngstown State football team lost to North Dakota State in heart-breaking fashion this past Saturday. The Penguins held a 14 point lead in the fourth quarter but could not hold off the four time defending FCS National Champions. The Bison scored 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to win by a final score of 27-24.
YSU took a 7-0 lead on the opening drive of the game when QB Ricky Davis scored on a 13 yard run. NDSU cut the lead to 7-3 in the second quarter on a 30 yard field goal from Cam Pedersen. The Penguins would strike again before halftime when RB Jody Webb got loose for a 45 yard touchdown run. YSU took a 14-3 lead into halftime, giving NDSU their first double digit deficit of the season.
The Bison would connect on a long pass play early in the third quarter which set up a one yard touchdown run by QB Easton Stick. The Penguins would answer back again with a 77 yard touchdown run from Webb, giving them a 21-10 lead. YSU kicker Zak Kennedy would extend the lead to 24-10 at the end of the third quarter with a 44 yard field goal.
The first play of the fourth quarter was a 57 yard run by North Dakota State RB Bruce Anderson. That would set up a seven yard touchdown run by RB King Frazier, cutting YSU’s lead to 24-17. The Bison would then connect on a 40 yard field goal by Pedersen to make the score 24-20. A four yard touchdown run by Stick with 35 seconds left would give NDSU the lead for good at 27-24.
The Penguins led the entire game except for the final 35 seconds and were better than the defending champs for most of the day. However, they could not sustain drives in the fourth quarter to keep the ball away from the Bison offense. YSU ran the ball well, amassing 245 yards and averaging 7.7 yards per rush. However, they struggled to throw the ball most of the game; QB Hunter Wells was just 9 of 21 for 104 yards.
Jody Webb led the way for the Guins with 132 rushing yards and two touchdowns on just five carries. QB Ricky Davis collected 62 rushing yards and a touchdown on 11 carries of his own. For NDSU, King Frazier rushed for 64 yards and a score while Easton Stick ran for 42 yards and two scores. Stick completed just 9 of 18 pass attempts for 176 yards.
With the loss, Youngstown State falls to 5-5 overall and 3-4 in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. North Dakota State improves to 8-2 overall and 6-1 in the MVFC. The Bison remain in position for a top seed in the FCS playoffs while the Penguins are now likely eliminated from postseason contention.
YSU will finish the regular season next week on the road at Indiana State while NDSU will play host to Missouri State.