FARGO, N.D. - Coach Eric Wolford's first game as the head coach of Youngstown State in 2010 didn't start that well - but the odds were stacked against him.
Wolford's first game was against Big Ten opponent Penn State in Happy Valley. In his debut, Wolford and the Penguins lost 44-14. Over his first two seasons, and the first few games of 2012, that was the worst defeat his tenure.
That was until Saturday when the North Dakota State Bison defeated the Penguins, 48-7, at the Fargodome.
"It's obviously very disappointing," Wolford said. "It's one game, though.
"At the end of the day, we said at the beginning of the week, this game was going to come down to turnovers and being able to convert on third down. Obviously, we didn't do well in either area. We played a good football team today."
The Penguins never had the lead, but were tied with the Bison at 7 early in the first quarter. The tie didn't last long as 2 minutes later, NDSU quarterback Brock Jensen found Zach Vraa on a 46-yard flea flicker, putting the Bison up 14-7. The score only increased from there.
"We let this game get out of control very early on because of self-inflicted turnovers," Wolford said. "We'll get that corrected, come back and look forward."
With the 41-point loss, it is also the first time in the history of this rivalry that the outcome wasn't decided by one score. In the six previous games, only 28 points had separated the teams.
HAS HIS NUMBER: When Marcus Williams intercepted YSU quarterback Kurt Hess in the second quarter, it wasn't the first time the All-American cornerback has picked off YSU's signal caller.
Last season against the Penguins, Williams intercepted Hess in the YSU victory. On Saturday, Williams again picked off Hess, but this time returned it for a 98-yard touchdown. It was Hess' first interception of the season. It was the junior quarterback's first of two interceptions on the day.
Coincidentally, Hess had not thrown an interception since the last time Williams picked him off. Hess had attempted 137 passes in that span over the two seasons.
SCORING HOWEVER THEY WANT: The Bison weren't picky on how they scored in their blowout victory.
NDSU scored touchdowns by running (two), passing (two), an interception return and a punt return. The Bison also added two field goals, including a 49-yard kick by Adam Keller, which was his career high.
STREAKS ENDED: Many streaks came to an end with Saturday's loss.
For the Penguins as a team, the loss ended the two-game winning streak the Penguins had over the Bison at the Fargodome. YSU still leads the overall series 4-3. The loss also ended the four-game winning streak to start the season.
RANDOM NOTES: The seven points the Penguins scored was the lowest since the season opener in 2011, when they only scored six against Michigan State. The 48 points surrendered was the highest number of points since Nov. 1, 2008, when the Penguins gave up 54 points to Illinois State. The 41-point loss was the worst Missouri Valley Football Conference loss ever by the Penguins. That trumps the loss the Penguins had to Northern Iowa, 47-9, on Nov. 1, 2003. The 94 yards rushing by the Penguins is a season low for the team, but coincidentally is the most allowed by the Bison all season.
UP NEXT: The 24-hour rule the Penguins live by is in effect as they will now prepare to take on Illinois State on the road. The Redbirds also suffered their first loss on Saturday, a 17-0 defeat from Southern Illinois.
The game will kick off at 2 p.m.