Youngstown, Ohio – The Youngstown State football team closed out the regular season with a 42-13 loss to South Dakota State in blizzard-like conditions on Saturday afternoon at Stambaugh Stadium.
With the loss, the Penguins fall to 8-4 overall and 5-3 in the Missouri Valley Football Conference while the Jackrabbits improve to 8-4 overall and 5-3 in the MVFC.
The Penguins gained just 213 yards in total offense while the Jackrabbits posted 482 yards of total offense, including 312 yards on the ground.
SDSU's Zach Zenner rushed for 186 yards on 29 carries and scored three touchdowns, including two on the ground. Jackrabbits quarterback Austin Sumner completed 15-of-19 passes for 170 yards and two touchdowns. He connected with Jason Schneider seven times for 59 yards.
South Dakota State held the ball for most of the game, winning the time of possession battle 40:04 to 19:56.
The Jackrabbits made big plays at the most crucial times, converting 10 of 13 times on third down.
SDSU took the opening drive 81 yards in just seven plays and took a 7-0 lead on Reggie Gandy's 22-yard touchdown run at the 11:30 mark of the first quarter.
After a quick 14-yard pass from Hess to Stubbs moved the ball to the SDSU three, freshman Martin Ruiz scored his 15th rushing touchdown of the year on a one-yard plunge. Joey Cejudo's point-after attempt was blocked, and the Penguins trailed by one 7-6.
After an exchange of punts, the Jackrabbits extended their lead to 14-6 on a Sumner-to-Zenner three-yard touchdown pass at the 12:28 mark of the second quarter.
The Penguins marched 60 yards down to the SDSU 10 yardline after a 21-yard pass from Hess to Stubbs and a 39-yard rush by Stubbs. On second-and-goal, Hess avoided pressure and scrambled right but was intercepted in the endzone by SDSU's Charles Elmore.
The Jackrabbits capitalized on the turnover marching 80 yards in 13 plays to take a 21-6 lead with 3:05 left in the second quarter. During the drive SDSU converted three third downs, including a 16-yard scramble by Sumner on third-and-16 from the YSU 37. A seven-yard rush to the YSU nine by Zenner set up his six-yard scamper into the endzone, his second touchdown of the game.
The Penguins answered quickly when Hess connected with Ruiz on a 63-yard touchdown on the first play of the drive to cut the deficit to 21-13 with 2:53 remaining before halftime.
SDSU took a 28-13 lead into the locker room after a 58-yard drive was capped a by an eight-yard touchdown pass from Sumner to Schneider with 40 seconds left.
On the Penguins' second possession of the third quarter, Hess was picked off at the YSU 48 by R.C. Kilgore, who returned it 15 yards to the 33. Eight plays later, Sumner rushed in from eight yards out to give the Jackrabbits a 35-13 lead with 1:42 left in the third.
Zenner scored his third touchdown of the day with 11:03 left in the fourth to put SDSU ahead, 42-13.