By Kyle Wills
After extending its winning streak to four games Nov. 5 against Illinois State University, the Youngstown State University football team fell late to Missouri State University on Nov. 12.
Following the end of the team’s win streak, the men fell to 6-4 overall and 4-3 in conference play.
In the 25-22 loss, senior Jaleel McLaughlin became the NCAA all-time career rushing yards record holder. He rushed for 227 yards on 28 carries, marking the fourth time this season he rushed for at least 200 yards, and scored a touchdown. His yardage puts him at 8,082 for his career, surpassing the University of Mount Union’s Nate Kmic (2005-08) who finished his career with 8,074 yards.
McLaughlin said the offense wanted to make the record a goal for not only himself, but also the team.
“It’s definitely something that’s great. My offensive line, those guys talked about that day in and day out, wanting to get that for the team, wanting to get that for me,” McLaughlin said. “It was a bittersweet moment because I was able to get that record, but we weren’t able to pull away with the win. At the end of the day, you got to look at it as a blessing.”
For the first time this season, junior Mitch Davidson failed to complete 50% of his passes, completing 11-of-23 of his throws. He also threw for under 200 yards for a second-straight game, passing for 117 yards.
It was a slow first half for both teams as the Penguins trailed the Bears 7-6 following two field goals from senior Colt McFadden and a five-yard touchdown run by Missouri State.
Youngstown State opened the second half with a methodical seven-play 75-yard drive, capped with a two-yard Davidson scoring rush, that gave it a 13-7 lead. After a personal foul penalty on the kickoff gave Missouri State the ball on YSU’s 35-yard line, the Bears reclaimed the lead after a rush for a touchdown on the drive’s opening play.
The Penguins entered the fourth quarter with the lead, 16-14, after a McFadden field goal before the end of the third. However, the Bears went up by one following a kick of their own. Their lead didn’t last long as McLaughlin broke free for a 65-yard rush on the next offensive drive to make the score 22-17.
After allowing the score, Missouri State was forced to start its drive on its 8-yard line. However, the team drove 92 yards down field and ended in the endzone after 13 plays to take a 25-22 lead. Missouri State held on to defeat the Penguins 25-22.
The football team will play its final game of the regular season Nov. 19 when it returns to Stambaugh Stadium to face off against Southern Illinois University at noon. Head coach Doug Phillips said the team was able to overcome its slow start to give them a chance at playoffs.
“Our ultimate goal is to make the playoffs. When you start the season 2-3, every game is critical. Now we get to November, this is what you work for. When we’re in the offseason, this is what we’ve dreamt about,” Phillips said. “Probably 80% of the teams in America on Saturday aren’t playing for much and we have the opportunity to play for something very important.”
The game can be listened to on 570 WKBN or watched on ESPN3.