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YSU drops to 0-4 after late Jackrabbit kick

BROOKINGS, S.D. — Despite overcoming a nine-point, fourth-quarter deficit and getting a 126-yard rushing effort from tailback Jaleel McLaughlin, the Youngstown State football team fell 19-17 at South Dakota State.

Cole Frahm kicked a 29-yard field goal with 31 seconds remaining to lift the Jackrabbits to victory in the Missouri Valley Football Conference contest on a sunny Saturday at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium.

Frahm had missed a PAT attempt early in the third quarter and a 43-yard FG attempt early in the fourth.

The Penguins (0-4 overall, 0-4 MVFC) took a 17-16 lead on a 1-yard touchdown run by McLaughlin and Colt McFadden’s PAT with 6:21 remaining in the game.

Youngstown State had pulled within 16-10 with 13:31 remaining when McFadden kicked a 33-yard field goal.

However, that was an unfortunate capper to a great drive as the Penguins had marched 59 yards in 18 plays and chewed 10:14 from the clock.

Zaire Jones intercepted SDSU quarterback Mark Gronowski at the Jackrabbits’ 28-yard line and returned it to the 20 to set up YSU’s go-ahead score.

SDSU and YSU both went three-and-out before the Jackrabbits took over at their 21 with 2:53 remaining. The Penguins forced a third-and-11 at the 20, but a 39-yard pass from Gronowski to Zach Heins moved the ball into YSU territory.

On the next snap Gronowski found Heins again for a 16-yard pickup to the YSU 25. The hosts moved the ball to the YSU 12 before the Panguins forced a field-goal try.

YSU had three plays in its final possession, which ended with quarterback Mark Waid fumbling while being sacked as the final whistle blew.

SDSU (3-1, 3-1) took a 10-0 lead just 8:56 into the game. The Jackrabbits scored on their initial possession, going 75 yards in six plays with Gronowski tossing an 8-yard scoring strike to Jaxon Janke. Frahm tacked on a 52-yard field goal after Malik Lofton intercepted a pass from Waid.

Youngstown State responded with a 42-yard touchdown run from McLaughlin with 4:03 left in the first quarter.

The Jackrabbits extended the lead on their first posssession of the second half. South Dakota State gained possession at the YSU 49 and found paydirt nine plays later on a one-yard sneak by Gronowski. The extra point attempt by Frahm was wide left.

Pierre Strong Jr. ran 21 times for 124 yards to lead SDSU and Gronowski was 12-for-28 passing for 158 yards.

Waid was 7-for-13 passing for 55 yards with two interceptions and rushed 11 times for 41 yards.

The Penguins will seek their first win next Saturday when South Dakota visits for a noon kickoff.

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