By Yousof Hamza
The Youngstown State University football team faltered again this weekend, losing to the No. 10 South Dakota State University Jackrabbits 47-16.
Senior quarterback Joe Craycraft started the game in relief of injured starting freshman quarterback Demeatric Crenshaw. However, Craycraft was injured this game and third-string junior quarterback Mitch Davidson came in during the third quarter.
Davidson played well, going 6-7 passing for 111 yards and two touchdowns. His first pass was for 12 yards to junior Bryce Oliver, and the two connected on the next play for a 35-yard touchdown.
While Craycraft was playing, he went 4-10 passing for 36 yards and an interception.
Youngstown State did not have much success on the ground, with senior tailback Jaleel McLaughlin leading the team with 54 yards on eight attempts. The rest of the team had 22 yards on the ground.
Defensively, the Penguins allowed 553 yards, but it recorded two turnovers.
Youngstown State was unable to convert on these turnovers, which was a point of concern for head coach Doug Phillips.
“We needed to get first downs — you get first downs, first downs turn into drives, drives in the red zone turn into points, touchdown, we got three there early,” Phillips said. “We needed to finish that drive.”
Junior linebacker Griffin Hoak felt the team has been managing the highs and lows of the season well. The management of those has been a key point of Phillips’ coaching strategy.
Youngstown State will play at the University of North Dakota this Saturday, Nov. 6, in Grand Forks, North Dakota. This will be the team’s first time playing there since 1962.
Phillips is excited to play at a venue the team has never visited before.
“Youngstown State has never played in that arena, so I look forward to getting on the road and discovering a new place to play football,” he said. “Try to bring a hard fought Missouri Valley football. You go on the road, it’s going to be a battle and we got to make sure our young men are ready to play Saturday at noon.”
Phillips has also likened North Dakota to Youngstown State in the way they keep competing and fighting in games.
The NCAA announced that teams cannot hold mandatory athletic activities on Election Day. This means that the team has lost a day of practice heading into the North Dakota game, but Oliver said he feels it is a good way to reset.
“We get a day off from the NCAA with Election Day. So, that gives everybody a chance to get their academics straight [and] get their bodies right. The training room is open today, so that gives us a chance to unwind and get away from the football aspect of things,” Oliver said.