By Yousof Hamza
The last time the Youngstown State University Penguins beat the North Dakota State University Bison was back in 2011. Since then, Youngstown State has lost 10 consecutive games against the Bison, including this week’s 49-17 throttling.
While North Dakota State only passed for 165 yards, 71 of which came off a deep touchdown pass — the Bison stampeded the Penguins for 454 yards.
Youngstown State could not get the run game going and only had 59 yards on 32 carries. The team had a little more success in the air with 229 yards and went 17-33 with one interception.
The Penguins passed the ball more than usual despite starting redshirt freshman quarterback Demeatric Crenshaw getting injured again. Crenshaw went 5-8 for 56 yards.
Junior backup Mitch Davidson went 10-22 for 166 yards with two touchdowns and one interception before getting injured. He was ready to come back into the game but ultimately never returned.
Third-string senior Joe Craycraft came in during the fourth quarter and went 2-3 for 7 yards.
One of the biggest issues facing Youngstown State during the game was the lack of quarterback protection.
“We had too many sacks. You want to pass the football — it starts with protection. So, you got to be able to protect the quarterback, you got to be able to make the plays down field,” head coach Doug Phillips said.
Youngstown State suffered five sacks for 39 yards. On the defensive side of the ball, it only had one sack.
Redshirt freshman defensive back Tyjon Jones led the Penguins’ defense with eight tackles. Senior linebacker Griffin Hoak and sophomore linebacker Alex Howard were tied for second with six tackles each.
This was the last home game of the season, and departing seniors were honored with Senior Day.
Youngstown State heads to Carbondale, Illinois, to face off against the No. 17 Southern Illinois University Salukis on Saturday, Nov. 20.
Senior offensive lineman Mike McAllister stressed that the team has one focus right now.
“When you play in the Missouri Valley Conference, every game is a big game, home or away. We always talk about road focus, and that’s just kind of our thing this week going forward,” he said.
The Penguins have not won a road game since they defeated Southern Illinois in 2017.
“It’s been since 2017 — that’s unacceptable for a program like this to not win a league [road] game since 2017. So, to me, those are the things we have to change,” Phillips said.
Last week, the Penguins headed to Grand Forks, North Dakota to face off against the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks. The Penguins lost in a close 24-21 competition.
Youngstown State held a lead until there was 4:34 left in the fourth quarter.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Demeatric Crenshaw started again for Youngstown State after sitting out due to an injury last game against South Dakota State University. Against North Dakota, he went 13-17, passed for 75 yards and threw an interception.
Senior tailback Jaleel McLaughlin had 122 yards and one touchdown on 18 carries. Crenshaw ran for 60 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries.
This was the first time the Penguins played the Fighting Hawks since 1962 and is also the furthest north the team has ever played.