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Penguins beaten in spring opener

FARGO, N.D. — A Trumbull County touchdown connection — Girard’s Mark Waid to Kennedy’s Jake Coates — pulled Youngstown State within 11 points, 18-7, of three-time FCS defending champion North Dakota State late in the third quarter on Sunday, in YSU coach Doug Phillips’ first game at the helm of the Penguins.

The Bison responded as one would expect a team on its way to extending its winning streak to 39. North Dakota State put together a nine-play, 60-yard drive and put the game away with a 7-yard touchdown run by Jalen Bussey with 7:10 remaining.

North Dakota State (2-0, 1-0 MVFC) beat Central Arkansas 39-28 in the Bison’s lone fall game on Oct. 3, which featured the final game in the career of redshirt sophomore Trey Lance. Lance, who declared for the NFL Draft, is expected to be a high, first-round pick on April 29.

Absent Lance, the Bison used a stout running game to control the line of scrimmage and a stingy defense on the opposite side of the ball.

In securing its ninth-straight win over the Penguins, North Dakota State amassed 243 yards rushing on 40 carries (6.1-yards per carry). Lance’s successor, Zeb Noland threw 18 times and completed nine pass attempts for 74 yards but protected the ball without an interception.

Kobe Johnson led the Bison on the ground with 114 yards and a first-quarter touchdown. ND State led 11-0 at halftime and Bussey’s 22-yard rushing score made it 18-0 early in the third quarter.

The 12-yard scoring pass from Waid to Coates was the first touchdown pass in the career of both athletes.

YSU’s defense was solid, holding the Bison to just 140 yards in the first half. NDSU ended up with 317 yards, 243 coming on the ground.

Waid was 4-for-11 passing for 45 yards and Joe Craycraft, the starting QB, was 8-for-11 for 75 yards.

Youngstown State plays the first home game of this unusual spring football season on Saturday. Northern Iowa (0-1) invades Stambaugh Stadium for a noon kickoff.

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