YSU strikes early, downs South Dakota for first conference win

The Penguins improved to 3-1, racked up 450 total yards and held South Dakota to just 254 yards

YSU football Robert Morris

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Youngstown State grabbed an early two-touchdown lead Saturday against South Dakota. The Penguins defense took control from there.

Led by a quick offensive start and plenty of sturdy defense, YSU defeated the Coyotes, 30-20, at Stambaugh Stadium in its first Missouri Valley Football Conference game of the season.

The Penguins, who improved to 3-1 (1-0), racked up 450 total yards and held South Dakota (1-3, 0-1) to just 254 yards.

Senior running back Martin Ruiz got the Penguins (2-1) on the board first with a 1-yard TD run just four minutes into the first quarter. Zak Kennedy also notched a 26-yard field goal in the first, while Ruiz added an 8-yard touchdown rush to open the second quarter. YSU led 17-3 at that point.

Then, Kennedy — a Cardinal Mooney graduate — nailed a 28-yard field goal as time expired in the first half and a 24-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter to give the Penguins a 23-6 advantage.

YSU’s defense put the finishing touches on the game when Jalyn Powell scored on a 21-yard interception return late in the fourth quarter.

Quarterback Ricky Davis went 15 of 23 through the air for 281 yards and two interceptions. He also rushed for a team-high 66 yards on 21 attempts.

Ruiz finished with 65 yards on 19 carries and Damoun Patterson caught two passes for 86 yards.

YSU travels to Illinois State next Saturday for a 3 p.m. contest.