Penguins Come Up Short After Hard-Fought Battle With No. 1 North Dakota State

YSU at North Dakota State (Photo by Dr. Daryl Mincey)
YSU at North Dakota State (Photo by Dr. Daryl Mincey)

Fargo, N.D. - The Youngstown State football team lost a hard-fought game to No. 1 North Dakota State on Saturday afternoon from the Fargodome. Ten fourth quarter points from NDSU helped the Bison defeat the Penguins 17-7.

The Penguins fall to 3-6 overall and 2-4 in the Missouri Valley Football Conference, while the Bison improve to 8-0 and 5-0. 

NDSU finished the game with 360 yards of total offense while YSU had 280 yards

QB Nathan Mays completed 10-of-17 passes for 120 yards and a touchdown. With his legs, Mays ran for 58 yards on 22 carries. QB Montgomery VanGorder played late in the fourth quarter and completed 6-of-11 attempts for 85 yards while throwing an interception. 

WR Jermiah Braswell led all receivers with three receptions for 60 yards. TE Miles Joiner had two catches for 39 yards and a touchdown.

LB Armand Dellovade led the defense with a career-high and team-high 16 tackles. Dellovade also forced a fumble and had a pass breakup on the afternoon.

After forcing a three-and-out on their first defensive possession, the Penguins offensive drive stalled out on the NDSU 14-yard line after not converting a fourth and short. The YSU defense stood strong in the first quarter, holding the Bison to only 78 yards of offense and forcing a fumble midway through a scoreless first quarter. 

NDSU attempted a 52-yard field goal to open the second quarter, but Cam Pedersen pushed it wide left to keep the score at 0-0 with 13:47 remaining in the half. The Bison took a 7-0 advantage with 9:07 left in the second quarter after Easton Stick connected with Lance Dunn for a 30-yard touchdown pass. 

The Penguins responded with an eight-play, 40-yard drive, but were forced to punt from the NDSU 35-yard line after Natavious Payne couldn't haul in a pass just short of the end zone. With under a minute left in the half, the Penguins blocked a punt and recovered it at the NDSU 12-yard line. YSU was unable to get any points on the board after turning the ball over on downs.

In the first half, YSU had 110 yards of total offense while North Dakota State had 184 total yards. Mays led the charge on the ground with 14 carries for 55 yards, and also completed 5-of-10 for 37 yards. McCaster carried the ball four times for 17 yards, and Dellovade led the defensive effort with nine tackles and a forced fumble.

After holding the NDSU offense in check for a majority of the third quarter, the Penguins were able tie the game at 7-7 with 2:45 left in the quarter. A four-play, 80-yard drive was capped off by a 21-yard touchdown pass from Mays to Joiner. The scoring drive was set up after Mays connected with Braswell on a 46-yard pass on the first play of the drive.

The Bison regained the lead with 11:22 left in game, after Stick ran in it from one yard out to make the score 14-7. Stick's touchdown carry finished off a five-play, 70-yard drive. NDSU extended its lead to 17-7 with 5:13 left in the contest after Pedersen drilled a 36-yard field goal. 

The Penguins return to action next Saturday at Stambaugh Stadium against UNI. Kickoff for the Senior Day contest against the Panthers is set for noon.