McCaster scores four TDs. but Penguins can’t stop Coyotes
USD takes down mistake-prone Penguins
By Brian Dzenis
There were chances in the fourth quarter for Youngstown State to win back-to-back games against top-10 opponents in the Football Championship Subdivison.
Instead, it was No. 7 South Dakota that rose to the occasion, driving down the field to set up Ryan Weese’s 29-yard field goal to give the Coyotes a 31-28 win with seven seconds to spare.
“We didn’t play very well,” Penguins coach Bo Pelini said. “We didn’t execute very well. We didn’t communicate very well and that’s what happens.”
The Penguins pulled out all the stops with two gutsy calls in the fourth quarter to rally from a two-touchdown deficit. The first one failed while the second succeeded.
Early in the fourth quarter, YSU attempted a fake punt in the fourth quarter facing a fourth-and-12 from their own 39. Punter Mark Schuler completed the pass to Anthony Parlante, but he was nine yards short of the first down.
“We thought the play was there and we didn’t execute it very well and that was the story of the day,” Pelini said. “It was my call.”
YSU’s defense did well to keep the Coyotes from scoring despite starting with the ball at the Penguins’ 35. Back-to-back holding penalties ultimately forced South Dakota to punt.
The Penguins were again faced with a fourth down in their own territory, a fourth-and-1 at their own 29 down by a touchdown with 8:12 left to play. Mays ran up the middle for the first down. The Penguins grinded down the clock to 3:49 left in regulation when Tevin McCaster had a 3-yard touchdown run for the equalizer.
Defensive tackle Donald Meiser made a critical third-down stop on the ensuing Coyotes possession, deflecting quarterback Chris Streveler’s pass to send it bouncing to the DakotaDome turf.
South Dakota punted the ball to YSU and with the Penguins on their 12 with 2:20, it was the perfect time for the two-minute drill.
But the Penguins went seven yards in the wrong direction in three plays, forcing a punt.
“I’m not sure we did anything much different [from the rest of the game],” South Dakota coach Bob Nielson said. “They ran the ball, we loaded the box up and some guys made tackles.”
Christian Turner was tackled for a 3-yard loss, McCaster’s run on second down went nowhere and quarterback Nathan Mays was sacked on third down. Mays was sacked six times by the Coyotes.
“We had a game plan for them and we knew the pressures they like to bring and we knew what they were doing,” Mays said. “The didn’t do anything different than what we expected. We didn’t pick it up the way we wanted to. It’s on me. It’s on the o-line. It was a team loss.”
Pelini was less forgiving toward his offensive line.
“It wasn’t on [Mays]. Our offensive line played terrible,” Pelini said. “They didn’t play near where they were capable of playing.”
Streveler and the Coyotes got the ball at their 47 with 1:24 left to play. An 18-yard pass to Brandt Van Roekel provided the decisive play to put Weese in range to win the game.
“They were just — I don’t know — they just got open on us,” safety Jalyn Powell said of the Coyotes’ last drive. “They had been playing pitch and catch on us all day.”
Starting with Streveler’s 15-yard touchdown pass to Randy Baker near the end of the first quarter to tie the game at 7, the Coyotes went on a tear of four consecutive scoring drives stretching into the third quarter. Streveler threw for 360 yards, three touchdowns and was the team’s leading rusher with 48 yards. Wideout Shamar Jackson caught 11 passes for a South Dakota-record 229 yards and a touchdown.
McCaster scored all four of YSU’s touchdowns and ran for 90 yards.