Jamaine Cook, Stellar Defense Lead Penguins to 13-10 Win Over South Dakota

YSU vs South Dakota State
YSU vs South Dakota State

Senior Jamaine Cook rushed for a season-high 203 yards and a touchdown and a stellar performance by the defense lifted the Youngstown State football team to a 13-10 Homecoming victory over South Dakota on Saturday afternoon at Stambaugh Stadium.

The Penguins improve 5-4 overall and 2-4 in the Missouri Valley Football Conference while the Coyotes fall to 1-8 overall and 0-6 in the MVFC

Cook, who had 42 rushing attempts – the fourth-highest single-game total in school history - also eclipsed the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the third straight season. Cook also moved into third place on the YSU all-time rushing list with 3,815.

Junior quarterback Kurt Hess, who threw for 133 yard on 11-of-17 attempts, tied the Youngstown State career passing touchdowns record with 51 when he hit Nate Adams from three-yards out in the first quarter to give YSU a 6-0 lead with 6:13 left.

The pass to Adams was also the 500th completion in Hess' career. He becomes just third player in school history to complete 500 passes. The others to record at least 500 pass completions include Tom Zetts (2003-07) and Trenton Lykes (1984-87).

The Penguins' unheralded defense rose to the occasion allowing just 12 first downs, 206 total yards and forced five USD punts.

No defensive play was bigger than on 4th-and-11 with 1:16 left in the game, defensive linemen Aronde Stanton and Josh Fenderson sacked Josh Vander Maten to seal the victory.

With just under 11 minutes left in the game, USD blocked 45-yard field-goal attempt by David Brown that would have given the Penguins a 16-3 lead. Instead, the Coyotes capitalized cuttin the Guins' lead to 13-10 after a 22-yard touchdown run by Jasper Sanders with 10:13 left in the game.

After a first half low-scoring first half with a combined eight punts, both teams opened the second half with scoring drive.

The Penguins opened the second half with a 75-yard drive in nine plays to extend their lead to 13-0 at the 10:28 mark. Cook, whose 28-yard run put YSU at the South Dakota one, capped the drive with a one-yard plunge.

South Dakota answered with a 12-play, 53-yard drive that ended with a 37-yard field goal by Kevin Robb that got the Coyotes within 10, 13-3, with 3:04 left in the third.

The Youngstown State defense allowed just 88 total yards in the first half, including just 35 on the ground, and forced the Coyotes to punt on all five first-half possession.

Late in the second quarter, the Guins had a chance to extend their 6-0 lead, but a Michael Wheary pass on first-and 10 from the USD 18 was intercepted in the endzone by Devin Taverna with 53 seconds left before the half.

On their first offensive series, the Penguins took an early 7-0 lead with 6:13 left in the first quarter after a 15-play, 84-yard drive that ate up more than seven minutes

Cook carried 11 times for 54 yards, and Hess' three-yard touchdown pass to Adams tied a school record for career touchdown passes. He tied mark set by Zetts from 2003-07.

The Penguins face Western Illinois in their final road game of the season, Saturday, Nov. 10, at 2 p.m.