The Game of the Week for Week 8 did not live up to expectations. It was over almost at quickly as it began. South Dakota State ran away with things early as the Jackrabbits put up 2 touchdowns in the first 4 minutes of the game. Brady Mengarelli capped off a 75 yard drive with a 2 yard run for the first SDSU touchdown and Jacks QB Taryn Christion connected with Connor Landberg to give the Jackrabbits a 14-0 lead with 11:14 left in the first quarter. Youngstown State tagged on a FG to make it 14-3 heading into the 2nd quarter.
But it was tough sledding from there for the Penguins. Their next 8 drives would stall out with 4 punts, a missed FG attempt, the end of the half and a turnover on downs. They scored their only touchdown of the day with 2:59 left in the game and it was too little, too late.
In a lopsided game like this between two highly ranked teams you would think there must have been a large discrepancy in the turnover margin. That was not the case in this one. Each team lost a fumble and threw an interception.
Christion had a fairly quiet day by his standards. He went 15 for 21 through the air for 189 yards, 2 touchdowns, and the aforementioned interception. He would add 60 yards on the ground on 11 carries.
Mengarelli was the leading rusher on the day for the Jacks with 74 yards on 15 carries and the first touchdown of the game.
The Penguins held SDSU WR Jake Wieneke to 33 yards on 5 catches, 1 for a touchdown. They couldn’t contain TE Dallas Goedert. He pulled in 6 catches for 108 yards to lead the SDSU offense in receiving yards.
The Penguin offense had a decent day and they did it by committee. Two different quarterbacks took snaps, five players had rushing attempts, and seven different players caught a pass. They combined for 159 yards on the ground and 152 yards through the air.
Youngstown State had not posted any highlights at the time of publication. They will be added later if they post any.
South Dakota State continues to hold their destiny in their hands. They have a road game against an Illinois State team that has dropped off quite a bit from 2015 before hosting Missouri State and South Dakota. Their biggest challenge may be a Northern Iowa squad with a brand new quarterback and offense. If the Panthers get things rolling then the last game of the season in the UNI-Dome may be a battle against a Northern Iowa team trying to get into the playoffs. That could be a concern given how SDSU finished against Western Illinois last season.
Youngstown State SHOULD be fine. Whether or not they will be is another story. The only real challenge left on the schedule is North Dakota State, so at worst the Penguins should be in the playoffs at 8-3. The issue is that YSU has a history of falling apart as the season rolls on. I’ll withhold the negativity unless they drop the game with Indiana State this weekend.