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The Press Box Sports

Youngstown State Heads to South Dakota for FCS Football’s Game of the Week

NCAA FCS Football Youngstown State Penguins South Dakota Coyotes

The Youngstown State Penguins are heading to the DakotaDome to take on the South Dakota Coyotes. For the second time in as many weeks, both teams are playing in a FCS Football Top-25 matchup. The Penguins are going into the game ranked No. 3 while the Coyotes are ranked No. 6. This is the second straight week that Youngstown State will play a top-ten team after beating South Dakota State 19-7 last week. South Dakota battled defeated Western Illinois last week 38-33 after losing a 38-6 lead in the second half. This is a premiere matchup for FCS Football and the DakotaDome is sold out for Saturday’s game. The Penguins have been reliant on a potent rushing attack while the Coyotes have a high-powered, balanced offense.

Nathan Mays is most likely starting at quarterback for the Penguins. His mobility outside of the pocket works fluently with Bo Pelini’s offense. Hunter Wells is more of a pro-style qb, but has been battling a should injury the past few weeks. With the Coyotes giving up 264 yards passing a game, Wells could be considered over Mays. Wells is completing 60 percent of his passes for 376 yards while Mays is completing 72 percent of his passes for 373 yards. Mays also has 226 rushing yards in four games. Chris Streveler is a phenomenal athlete at qb for the Coyotes. He can throw, rush, and score among the best in FCS Football. Streveler has South Dakota off to a 4-0 start with his playmaking abilities. He leads the Coyotes in rushing with 318 yards and is completing 65 percent of his passes for 1,168 yards and 17 total touchdowns.  Streveler is why South Dakota is averaging 48.8 points per game.

 

Besides Streveler, the Coyotes have a solid running back tandem in Kai Henry and Michael Frederick. The duo has combined for 441 yards and 5 touchdowns this season. For the Penguins, the running game has been their bread-and-butter. Tevin McCaster leads the team with 446 yards and 4 touchdowns. He’s patient in finding an opening and has great break-away speed. Christian is a solid No. 2 option that is averaging 5.8 ypc, and 274 yards. Combine that with Mays, and the Penguins will challenge a South Dakota defense that is only giving up 72 rushing yards per game.

Even with a run dominant offense, Youngstown State has four very capable receivers that could be a huge impact against the Coyotes secondary. Kevin Bailey has 18 receptions on the year and is a possession receiver that can make tough short to intermediate catches. Kevin Rader can gain separation and finds ways to get open. Christian Turner is used as a multipurpose back and leads the team with 193 receiving yards. The receivers may not have big numbers, but they are efficient the short passing game for the Penguins. South Dakota has one of the greatest receiver units in FCS Football. Levi Falck is their possession guy and Shamar Jackson is their burner. Falck leads the team with 16 receptions and Jackson leads the team with 224 yards. Josh Hale, Alonge Brooks, and Brandt Van Roekel are also big-time contributors for the Coyotes in the passing game.

The Coyotes have a strong presence in the secondary with Danny Rambo and Phillip Powell. They combine for 3 interceptions, 6 break-ups and 9 pass deflections. Rambo also leads South Dakota with 25 tackles. Linebackers, Alex Coker and John Wessel have 2 sacks each and are versatile between passing and rushing schemes. Darin Greenfield anchors the defensive line and leads the team with 3 sacks. The Coyotes specialize in stopping the rushing game as they only give up 72 yards and that contributes to only giving up 18.5 points per game.

The Penguins won’t force many turnovers, but their d-line is excellent at getting pressure on the quarterback. Defensive end, Justus Reed, leads Youngstown State with 4 sacks and 4.5 tackles for loss. Fazson Chapman holds down the other side of the d-line with 3 sacks. Safeties, Jalyn Powell and Kyle Hegedus are the reason teams are only throwing for 122 yards per game on the Penguins. Cornerback, Bryce Gibson has done well in man coverage on receivers.

Youngstown State has to establish the running game early if they’re going to put their second top-ten team in a row in the loss column. Mays will need to pick the Coyotes secondary apart with short passes to open up the ground game. If the rushing attack falters, Wells could be the answer with a more solid passing strategy. On defense, the Penguins have the extremely difficult task of containing Streveler. Keeping him on the run will help, but only if they can stop him from getting big gains with his feet.

For South Dakota, the game-plan is to strike early and get Youngstown State in a good size hole. The Coyotes need to take the rushing game out of the equation as early as possible. They need to challenge Youngstown State on defense with deep passes. The defense has to contain the run in a big way. The defense ran out of gas late last week against Western Illinois and the offense will have to find success in moving the ball to keep the defense off the field as much as possible. Game time is scheduled to 3pm est and you can watch the game on ESPN3.

 

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