Change of fortune

Coyotes’ offense rips Penguins; USD holds on in top-10 battle

VERMILLION, S.D. — A week after one its most impressive performances in years, the Youngstown State defense endure its worst showing of the season.

Sixth-ranked South Dakota racked up 486 total yards, including a record-setting performance by wide receiver Shamar Jackson, and beat No. 3 YSU, 31-28, on a field goal in the final minute of a Missouri Valley Football Conference clash. The win was the first for USD in six overall matchups against YSU.

The Penguins (3-2, 1-1) were coming off a dominant 19-7 win in a top-five matchup with South Dakota State, but the Coyotes (5-0, 2-0) found some holes in YSU’s defense. Quarterback Chris Streveler threw for 360 yards and three touchdowns on 21-of-35 passing and also led USD in rushing with 73 yards.

Jackson, a 5-foot-9, 160-pound slot receiver, ripped through the interior of the Penguins’ defense for a school-record 229 yards and one TD on 11 receptions (tying another school record). Jackson entered the contest with 11 catches for 224 yards in the first four games.

“Your inside receivers have to be guys that can get open and create some space based upon what they do coverage wise,” South Dakota coach Bob Nielson said. “Shamar is a guy that never says anything, practices really hard and does everything the right way. He has become, in his own way, a leader of our football team.”

YSU rallied from a 28-14 halftime deficit to tie the game in the final four minutes. Running back Tevin McCaster, who ran for a game-high 94 yards on 22 carries, scored his fourth touchdown of the day with 3:49 remaining in the fourth quarter. The Penguins actually forced a punt on the Coyotes’ next drive, but they took over at their own 12-yard line and went backwards, losing seven yards on three plays.

The ensuing punt gave USD the ball at its own 47, and Streveler drove the Coyotes 41 yards in 1:24, connecting with Brandt Van Roekel on a key 18-yard pass at the Penguins’ 16. That set up Ryan Weese’s game-winning 29-yard field goal with 7 seconds remaining.

“We do field goal for the game every day in practice,” Nielson said. “We surround the kicker with everybody in our program. Ryan stepped up there and confidently kicked it between the uprights.”

Nathan Mays started at quarterback for YSU, filling in for the injured Hunter Wells. Mays finished 12-of-25 for 153 yards with zero touchdowns and zero interceptions. He also ran for 30 yards on 14 carries but was sacked six times. Freshman running back Christian Turner added 42 yards on 11 carries. Alvin Bailey caught three passes for a team-high 68 yards.

The Penguins scored first on a 9-yard run by McCaster before giving up 14 straight points. YSU tied it at 14 on another short TD run by McCaster before again allowing 14 straight, including a 71-yard pass to Jackson on USD’s first play of the second half. The Penguins made it 21-14 on an 11-yard run by McCaster, who tied then tied the game in the fourth.

The Penguins host second-ranked North Dakota State University at 7 p.m. Saturday.