(STATS) – Standout linebacker Armand Dellovade said he felt like he barely played in sixth-ranked Youngstown State’s 19-7 win over No. 4 South Dakota State Saturday night.
The Penguins possessed the ball for 45 minutes, 14 seconds. Nope, that’s not a misprint.
The best defense is a ball-control offense, and when the Penguins add in their dominating defense, they go out and post such statement wins in the Missouri Valley Football Conference.
The 2016 FCS runner-up wasn’t supposed to be as strong this season after losing key players, but the STATS FCS Team of the Week is off to an even better start at 4-1, losing only to Pittsburgh in overtime.
“I thought we had a good game plan. I liked what we came into to do,” coach Bo Pelini said. “I thought our kids executed real well. We played physical and we played hard. Across the board, that was a good team win.”
The Penguins ran 86 offensive plays to South Dakota State’s 37, also more than doubling up the Jackrabbits in offensive yards – 448 to 222. Running back Tevin McCaster rushed for 183 yards and a touchdown on 35 carries, while quarterback Nathan Mays directed the offense, adding 65 yards and a touchdown on the ground. They converted 10 of 16 third downs and both of their fourth-down attempts.
On defense, Dellovade had a third-quarter safety that pushed the lead to 16-7 and a fourth-quarter interception, while free safety Jalyn Powell posted a team-high six tackles and forced a fumble for a takeaway at his team’s 6-yard line in the first quarter. The defense never let the powerful SDSU offense, led by 2016 MVFC offensive player of the year Taryn Christion, find rhythm.
“That’s the game that we’ve been talking about since camp started,” Dellovade said, “and that’s the game we wanted to win.”