By Yousof Hamza
The Youngstown State University Penguins football team headed to East Lansing, Michigan, on Saturday to face off against the Michigan State University Spartans. They fell to them 42-14 in a game that MSU paid YSU $725,000 that will be used on athletic scholarships.
MSU scored on the first play from scrimmage with a 75-yard pass from redshirt sophomore quarterback Payton Thorne to redshirt junior wide receiver Jayden Reed. Those two also connected on an 85-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter.
YSU got on the board with 4:10 left in the first half with a 6-yard run by redshirt freshman quarterback Demeatric Crenshaw. Crenshaw threw 23 passes against MSU, which heavily contrasted with his 12 passes against the University of the Incarnate Word. Crenshaw completed 10 of his passes and threw one interception, where MSU senior safety Xavier Henderson leaped to make the interception.
“We got to continue work on our passing game,” head coach Doug Phillips said. “The passing game, I’m talking 10, 20 plus [yards], we still got to work on those explosives [plays], you can see what an explosive [play] can do. It can really open up a football game.”
Crenshaw led YSU in rushing with 18 carries, 69 yards and a touchdown. Senior tailback Christian Turner had five carries, 48 yards and a touchdown. Last week’s Missouri Valley co-offensive player of the week, junior tailback Jaleel McLaughlin, had 13 carries and 34 yards.
YSU went 4-4 on fourth downs. Phillips said it was a boost to confidence, especially against a team as physical as MSU.
“We usually know on third down if we get within two yards there’s a good chance we’re going to go for it on fourth down,” he said. “That’s something we work on in practice, we’re going to continue to work, I think that is one thing we were successful on in the spring, we [were] successful last week, and that’s a positive coming from the game on fourth down, I’ll take four for four.”
Senior linebacker Grant Dixon and Crenshaw said it is important to stay focused, especially after big plays such as MSU’s 75-yard touchdown to open the game.
“Just can’t let it happen again, he made a great play, and just go out there and flush it, move on to the next possession,” Crenshaw said.
“Obviously it was frustrating to start like that, we came back to the sideline, regrouped, reset, a play, a trick play like that, just got to rebound and set it behind us,” Dixon said.
Phillips emphasized the team has learned from the game and will take the positives from the game to foster improvement during the bye week.
YSU has a bye-week this week before starting off conference play Sept. 25 against the University of Western Illinois Leathernecks at Stambaugh Stadium.