Brookings, S.D. - The Youngstown State football team scored the final three touchdowns and shrank a 34-point deficit to 13 in the fourth quarter, but just could not come all the way back losing 41-28 at South Dakota State on a chilly Saturday afternoon at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium.
The Penguins are now 4-4 overall and 1-4 in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. South Dakota State improves to 6-2 and 4-1. The Jackrabbits have now defeated the Penguins five straight times.
A 14-minute dryspell in the second quarter and early in the third quarter put the Penguins in their 34-point hole.
In the second quarter of a tie ballgame, SDSU scored three touchdowns in a span of 3:43 with the last two coming on the heels of a YSU special teams miscue and a turnover.
The Jackrabbits went on top 14-7 when Austin Sumner found Tyler Kool on a 50-yard scoring strike. That score came nine plays after the Guins had tied the game. Sumner's toss just went over the hands of Twin Fernandes and hit Kool in stride for the touchdown.
YSU gave the Jackrabbits a short field following its next possession. After a three-and-out, Nick Liste was not able to field a short snap and the Jackrabbits took possession at the Penguins' 12-yard line.
On third-and-11, Sumner hit Brandon Hubert who bulled his way into the end zone for a 13-yard score at the 9:47 mark to increase the SDSU lead to 21-7.
The Penguins' next drive gave the Jackrabbits another short field and their third touchdown in less than four minutes. Kurt Hess was intercepted by T.J. Lally at the 28 and he returned the pick to the YSU 15.
Two plays following the turnover, Zach Zenner scored from eight yards out at the 8:08 mark to increase the advantage to 28-7.
YSU moved the ball deep into SDSU territory on a 13-play drive but came away empty when Hess was intercepted in the end zone on a third-and-15 from the SDSU 20.
After running the clock down inside the final minute, Sumner hit Aaron Rollin on a 46-yard toss to get SDSU out of a hole. Eventually, Sumner's fourth touchdown pass of the half and third of the quarter came on 17-yard toss to Jason Schneider with just three seconds remaining.
YSU trailed 35-7 at halftime and was outyarded 316-104 despite holding a 17:09-12:51 advantage in time of possession.
The Jackrabbits increased their advantage to 41-7 on their first offensive play of the third quarter when Sumner threw a 49-yard touchdown strike to Aaron Rollin just 1:28 into the period.
From that point, YSU took over the game and made things interesting by scoring three touchdowns.
YSU found the end zone for the second time when Hess completed a five-yard scoring toss to Christian Bryan with 5:05 remaining in the third.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Jamarious Boatwright picked off a deflected Sumner pass and then lateralled to Aronde Stanton who rumbled in for a score to trim the deficit to 41-21 just 11 seconds into the period.
Hess connected with Will Shaw on a 21-yard touchdown with 3:28 remaining to pull the Guins within 41-28. SDSU recovered the onside kick
For the game, Sumner was 19-of-30 for 351 yards and five touchdowns. Hess completed 25-of-42 passes for 270 yards and two scores. Jamaine Cook rushed for 80 yards on 19 carries. Shaw had 10 receptions for 120 yards.
South Dakota State had 416 yards of total offense while the Penguins finished with 353.
The first quarter featured scoring drives by both teams as the contest was tied 7-7.
The Jackrabbits took their initial drive of the contest in for a touchdown. The Penguins forced SDSU into a third-and-long situation, but the Jackrabbits extended the drive by converting a 4th-and-8 from the YSU 33 down to the nine. Sumner connected on a six-yard pass to Seth Daughters for the first score of the game at the 11:16 mark.
Both teams went three-and-out before the Penguins had their first scoring march of the game. YSU traveled 60 yards in 14 plays to tie the contest with 36 seconds left in the opening quarter. On third-and-six from the 15, Hess scrambled and snuck inside the right pylon to tie the contest at seven. On the drive, Torrian Pace converted two fourth-and-short situations with runs up the middle.
The Penguins return home to play South Dakota next Saturday at 4 p.m. It is the annual Homecoming game at Stambaugh Stadium as well as the first meeting between the two programs.