Bouncing back

YSU rallies from last year’s loss, beats SDSU Jackrabbits

Tribune Chronicle / R. Michael Semple YSU’s Tevin McCaster, center, celebrates a score with teammates Saturday in his team’s 19-7 win in Youngstown.

YOUNGSTOWN — After a bad performance last year at South Dakota State University, Youngstown State University came out on a mission — hoping to avenge a 14-point loss.

In the first top-five matchup at Stambaugh Stadium since 1997, YSU defeated SDSU 19-7. That marks 12 straight wins at home dating back to last year.

“I thought we had a good game plan. I thought our kids executed well,” YSU coach Bo Pelini said. “We played physical, hard and our offensive line played very well.”

YSU (3-1, 1-0 Missouri Valley Football Conference) ran the ball for 310 yards and had the ball for more than 45 minutes.

The Penguins outgained the Jackrabbits in total yardage 448 to 222 — holding SDSU to 65 yards rushing.

Tribune Chronicle / R. Michael Semple YSU’s Kyle Hegedus stops South Dakota State’s Marquise Lewis after a first-half reception.

The ground game was working for the Penguins as Tevin McCaster had 35 carries fro 184 yards and a first-half score.

“At the end of the day, I’m glad we got the win. It’s a good way to start off conference play,” Pelini said. “Hopefully more people are starting to recognize the effort and this team a little bit more.”

YSU started off well as the Penguins caused an early turnover. SDSU (3-1, 0-1) got to near the YSU 5 before tight end Dallas Geodert fumbled.

YSU took over and went on a 16-play, 94-yard drive that ended in a Nathan Mays 4-yard touchdown that put the Penguins up 7-0 with 3:05 left in the first quarter.

Mays again replaced starting quarterback Hunter Wells, who appeared to reinjure his shoulder that he hurt in week two.

Tribune Chronicle / R. Michael Semple YSU’s Kyle Hegedus (10) and Bryce Gibson (7) halt SDSU’s Jacob Brown during Saturday’s 19-7 Penguins victory in Youngstown.

“It happened so early in the game that I didn’t have to acclimate to the game,” Mays said. “It was nice early. I had no stress, no butterflies. The o-line did amazing.”

SDSU responded early in the second quarter as quarterback Taryn Christion hit wide receiver Jake Wieneke on a 10-yard touchdown, tying the game at 7 with 14:15 left in the first half.

YSU responded as McCaster scored from a yard out for a 14-7 lead with 10:02 before halftime.

The Penguins almost scored again as McCaster got to the Jackrabbits 2, but time ran out and YSU led 14-7.

The Penguins seemed to dominate two-thirds of the way through the third quarter, but Mays threw an interception — his only pick of the game. The JackRabbits took over at the 1-yard line, but with no results.

YSU came back with a safety on a tackle by linebacker Armand Dellovade. YSU led 16-7 at the end of the third quarter.

With 10:21 left in the fourth, kicker Zak Kennedy hit a 24-yard field goal for a 19-7 YSU lead.

Dellovade wasn’t done yet. He intercepted a pass that set YSU up on its own 19, putting the victory well in the hands of the Penguins and sending 17,450 fans home happy.

“I want to thank everyone that came out,” YSU center Vitas Hrynkiewicz said about the crowd. “That’s what makes college football fun. The city really came out and supported us. Same with the student section, they did a great job.”

This Saturday, YSU travels to the University of South Dakota for a 3 p.m., kickoff.