Youngstown – The Youngstown State football team trailed at the half, rallied to take a third-quarter lead, but allowed two fourth-quarter touchdowns and dropped a 35-28 decision to Missouri Valley Football Conference foe South Dakota State on Saturday afternoon at Stambaugh Stadium.
The Penguins fall to 2-3 overall and 1-2 in the MVFC while the Jackrabbits improve to 2-4 overall and 1-2 in the MVFC.
Sophomore quarterback Kurt Hess passed for 243 yards – the ninth 200-yard passing game of his career - on 18-of-34 passing attempts with two touchdowns and two interceptions, one which led to SDSU's second touchdown.
Following a missed 44-yard field-goal attempt by Nick Liste, which would have given YSU a 31-28 lead, SDSU's Austin Sumner hit Aaron Rollin on a 73-yard scoring strike to give the Jackrabbits a 35-28 advantage with 5:55 to go in the game.
After the team's exchanged punts, Hess tried to engineer a game-tying drive and got down to the SDSU 17, but the Jackrabbits forced the Guins to turn the ball over on downs on their final possession.
The Jackrabbits tied the game at 28-28 at the 12:36 mark of the fourth quarter with a 14-play, 88-yard drive that began with 4:17 left in the third quarter.
Sumner, who threw for 345 yards on 22-of-35 passing with four touchdowns, completed all seven passing attempts on the game-tying drive for 75 yards, including a five-yard touchdown to Rollin. Rollin finished with eight receptions for 155 yards and two touchdowns.
The Guins' defense came out of halftime fire up and forced two straight Jackrabbits punts, and the offense responded. Hess hit Jelani Berassa on a 48-yard touchdown pass at the 9:40 mark of the third quarter to tie the game at 21-21.
Three plays later, freshman Davion Rogers gave the Penguins a 28-21 lead when he returned a tipped Sumner pass for a 27-yard interception return for a touchdown.
Trailing 14-7 and the Jackrabbits down to the YSU 18-yard line, Deonte Tate fell on a fumbled snap at the YSU 25, which ignited a four-play, 75-yard scoring drive by the Penguins to tie the game at 14-14 with 1:45 to go.
Hess hit freshman Christian Bryan on a 51-yard scoring strike to knot the contest.
An 11-yard reception by Barboza, a six-yard gain by Cook and a seven-yard reception by Barboza, set up the Hess-to-Bryan score.
SDSU, though, answered with their own last-minute scoring drive to take a 21-14 lead at the half. Sumner march the Jackrabbits 93-yards in just 1:28 and completed passes of 14, 30, 17 and 10 yards before connecting with Brandon Hubert on a 10-yard touchdown pass with just 16 seconds left.
The Jackrabbits' defense came up with a big turnover, intercepting a deflected Hess pass at their own 30-yard line, and the offense scored four plays later to take a 14-7 lead with 3:09 left in the first quarter. Zack Renner rushed for 45 yards to the YSU 25, and, after an incomplete pass and a loss to two yards, Sumner connected with Dale Moss on a 27-yard touchdown reception.
The Guins took the opening drive 75 yards in 11 plays and took a 7-0 lead at the 9:32 mark when Cook scampered in from seven yards out with
Hess made two key third-down conversions when he hit tight end David Rogers for eight yards on a 3rd-and-4 then scampered 39 yards down the right sideline to the Jackrabbits' 20-yard line on 3rd-and-8. Cook scored five plays later.
YSU's ensuing kickoff went out of bounds, and two consecutive encroachment penalties by the Penguins put the ball at midfield before the Jackrabbits ran their first play. Tyrel Kool rushed for 19 yards on the drive and scored from one-yard out to tie the game with 5:36 left in the first
The Guins visit Southern Illinois, Saturday, Oct. 15, at 3 p.m. in Carbondale, Ill.