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Hawks Overcome 11-Point Deficit, Defeat Penguins 24-21

Published: Nov. 7, 2021 at 10:29 AM CST
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GRAND FORKS. N.D. – North Dakota (4-5, 2-4 MVFC) trailed Youngstown State (2-6, 1-5 MVFC) by two scores with 10 minutes left in the game, but it was the Hawks picking up the 24-21 win after scoring 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter at the Alerus Center on Saturday afternoon.

Tommy Schuster led the offense with 191 yards through the air and two TD passes, going 23-for-35 passing. Bo Belquist was the favorite target with nine grabs for 52 yards, including a nine-yard touchdown catch. Brock Boltmann was the next most productive receiver, hauling in five receptions for 69 yards. Garett Maag also had a touchdown grab to go with three receptions for 28 yards.

Otis Weah led UND on the ground with 14 rushes for 90 yards, including the 43-yard game-winning touchdown run with 4:05 left in regulation to give the Hawks the victory. Isaiah Smith also spent time in the backfield and put up 30 yards on six carries.

Sixteen Hawks had at least one tackle on the day and were led by Jordan Canady and Devon Krzanowski with 10 and nine tackles, respectively. Marcus Vaughn-Jones put an end to one YSU drive with an interception. C.J. Siegel, Jaxson Turner and Ben McNaboe all racked up at least 1.0 sack.

North Dakota piled up 21 first downs in the contest to Youngstown State’s 17. The Hawks had 30 rushes for 163 yards and 191 yards through the air, while the Penguins recorded 45 rushes for 203 yards and finished with 75 yards through the air.

YSU took a 7-0 lead to open the game, receiving the kickoff and marching 75 yards down the field on nine plays in the first 4:27 to take the early lead. Originally, the Penguins opted to go for a two-point conversion, but it failed but was brought back with a roughing the passer penalty against UND to give YSU another attempt at the conversion. Instead, Youngstown State opted to kick the extra point to go up 7-0.

North Dakota responded less than six minutes later with a 10 play, 78 yard drive that was capped off with a nine-yard touchdown pass from Schuster to Belquist with 4:53 remaining in the opening stanza to knot the game up at 7-7.

Youngstown State started the next drive on the YSU 25 after a touchback on the kickoff. The Penguins used chunk plays, highlighted by two 18-yard runs from Jal McLaughlin and a 20-yard rush from Christi Turner to get the ball down to the UND 1 towards the end of the quarter. As time expired, YSU used a one-yard rush to get into the endzone for the second time of the afternoon and lead 14-7 at the end of the first quarter.

Neither team found the endzone in the second quarter, while North Dakota had four possessions to Youngstown State’s three in the quarter. The half ended with a 40-yard Hail Mary pass from Quincy Vaughn that found the endzone but was broken up as time expired, making UND trail 14-10 heading into the locker rooms.

Following offsetting penalties to open the second half and a YSU personal foul, leading to a re-kick, North Dakota started the first drive of the half at the UND 34. A Schuster pass to Boltmann put the Hawks at the UND 39 and a face mask penalty against YSU moved it to the YSU 46. Following a pair of incomplete passes and a rush from Weah and Isaiah Smith, Schuster rushed 14 yards to the YSU 19 and put the Hawks in the redzone. A Weah rush brought UND to the YSU 18 and the drive ended with Brady Stevens putting a 32-yard attempt through the uprights to cut the deficit down to 14-10. Following the field goal, both teams had two possessions that went scoreless to end the third quarter.

YSU started the fourth quarter with 1st and 10 at the YSU 35 and opened the drive with a one-yard pass completion, followed by six consecutive runs, bringing the ball down to the UND 5 before an incomplete pass. Two plays later, Demea Crenshaw rushed into the endzone to increase the Penguin lead to 21-10 with 10 minutes left in the contest.

After that point, North Dakota put its foot on the gas pedal and scored 14 unanswered points en route to the victory. The Hawks started with the ball down 11 with 10 minutes left and threw to incompletions to begin the drive. Following that point, Schuster completed five consecutive passes to move UND down to the YSU 16. The completions went to Boltmann for 12 yards, a reception by Bo Belquist for 9 yards, a 14-yard rush from Skokna, before three consecutive completions to Wright, Skokna and Boltmann. Later in the drive a 16-yard touchdown pass from Schuster to Maag cut the lead to 21-16 with 7:23 remaining. North Dakota attempted a two-point conversion to trim the lead to three, but it failed.

Youngstown State started the next drive at their own 25 after a touchback. Jasxon Turner dropped Crenshaw for a sack back to the YSU 14 on the next play, before Canady and Quentin Seguin dropped YSU behind the line of scrimmage after a pass completion to bring up 4th down at the YSU 7.

Following a 45-yard punt, UND started with the ball at the UND 48 and trailing 21-16 with 5:09 remaining.

The Hawks went to work right away with Schuster completing a nine-yard pass to Maag to get the ball down to the YSU 43 before Weah capped off the drive on the next play with a game-winning touchdown scamper of 43 yards to put North Dakota up 22-21 with 4:25 left in the ball game. After the touchdown, the Hawks opted to go for two and converted on a pass from Schuster to Belquist to increase the lead to 24-21.

Youngstown State started with the ball at their own 14 and brought the ball up to the YSU 39 after three straight positive rushes to bring up 1st and 10. Crenshaw completed a two-yard pass to Christi Turner on the next play and then a five-yard grab from Andre Ogletree brought up 3rd and three from the YSU 46. The next play was an incompletion before Krzanowski and McNaboe teamed up to sack Crenshaw at the YSU 39 to force the Penguins to turn the ball over and give North Dakota 1st and 10 at the YSU 39 with 1:47 left in the contest.

Weah rushed for three yards and an unsportsmanlike penalty against YSU gave the Hawks an automatic first down at the YSU 21.

Vaughn then rushed for four yards, followed by a three-yard carry from Weah to bring up 3rd and three from the YSU 14. The Hawks then took a knee and had to attempt one more play to run the clock out, with Schuster running around in the backfield for four seconds and then intentionally lobbing the ball out of bounds towards the back of the right-side of the endzone as time expired to secure the 24-21 victory for UND.

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