Leyland’s Field Goal Propels Football over No. 20 Penguins
6 mins read

Leyland’s Field Goal Propels Football over No. 20 Penguins

Following their Dakota Days victory over Murray State, the Coyotes jumped to No. 17/10 in the FCS rankings with their upcoming matchup against newly ranked Youngstown State Penguins. 

On the opening drive, the Penguins started driving down the field. However, the drive was abruptly stopped as South Dakota’s sophomore defensive back Shahid Barros forced a fumble that was scooped up by junior defensive lineman Blake Holden. The Coyotes would start their first drive from there at their own 42-yard line.

The Coyotes capitalized on the fumble with a 41-yard field goal from sophomore kicker Will Leyland. 

South Dakota forced another fumble on the ensuing Penguin drive this time by redshirt freshman linebacker Gary Bryant III. The ball was grabbed by junior defensive back Josiah Ganues. He returned it to the USD 36-yard line where he fumbled which was recovered by the Penguins senior tight end Jake Benio which was then spotted at the USD 42-yard line. 

The Penguins capitalized on the great field position with a field goal of their own as redshirt freshman place kicker Andrew Lastovka drilled a 33-yard field goal to tie the game at three with 3:56 left in the first quarter. 

With neither team able to score on their next possessions, the Coyotes received a punt and started their next drive on their own 34. From there, the Coyotes drove down the field where freshman running back Keyondre Jones swept to the left side of the field and into the endzone for a 34-yard touchdown to put USD up 10-3.

Youngstown State was unable to score on their next possession and punted once again. The Coyotes started their drive from their own 13-yard line with 7:03 left in the first half. 

From there, the Coyotes, once again, drove down the field to the Penguin 36-yard line. Sophomore quarterback Aidan Bouman ran a play action and threw a ball into the endzone for junior wide receiver Carter Bell which was caught after a tip to himself to put USD up 17-3 with 1:34 in the first half.

South Dakota received the ball first in the second half. They drove down the field and found themself on the Penguin 10-yard line. Bouman, once again on a play action, found junior tight end JJ Galbreath who ran it into the endzone for Bouman’s second touchdown of the game. This pushed the Coyote lead to 24-3. 

On the following Penguin drive, senior quarterback Mitch Davidson connected with redshirt freshman wide receiver Joey Farthing for a 65-yard touchdown pass. The Coyotes still lead 24-10. 

The Coyotes answered the Penguins drive with a 56-yard touchdown pass from Bouman to Bell once again. USD led 31-10 with 7:10 in the third quarter. This would be the Coyotes final touchdown of the game. 

Less than a minute later, Youngstown State went deep once again as Davidson threw another touchdown pass this time to sophomore wide receiver Max Tomczak. This was a 66-yard touchdown to cut the lead back down to 31-17 with 6:13 in the third quarter. This touchdown would be the final of the quarter. 

The Penguins found themselves on the USD one where senior tailback Dra Rushton punched in a touchdown to cut the USD lead to 31-24. 

On the ensuing Coyotes’ possession, Galbreath fumbled the ball after catching a pass. The Penguins’ senior linebacker Greg Benton Jr. recovered the ball at their own 34-yard line with 12:25 in the fourth quarter. 

Youngstown State would capitalize on the Coyotes turnover as Davidson found his senior wide receiver Bryce Oliver sliding in for a 6-yard touchdown pass to tie the game at 31-31 with 5:48 left. 

After an empty possession from the Coyotes, they punted the ball away with 2:27 left on 4th and two from the Penguins 44 yard line. The Penguins started their next drive at their own 17-yard line and drove down to their own 42 before being forced to punt. When South Dakota got the ball back on their own 39-yard line, there was 19 seconds left. 

The drive started with a deep pass from Bouman to Bell which fell incomplete however, the Penguins’ junior defensive back Troy Jakubec was called for defensive pass interference (DPI) moving the ball to the Penguin 46-yard line. 

After the DPI call, Bouman connected with sophomore wide receiver Makai Lovett for a 22-yard pass completion to the Penguin 24. That was the first career catch for Lovett.

With three seconds left on the clock, Leyland made his way onto the field for a 41-yard field goal try. With the clock winding down, Leyland’s kick split the uprights and the Coyotes were victorious. 

Bouman finished 24 of 29 of his passes with a career high of 369 yards and throwing for three touchdowns. 

Jones finished as the Coyotes leading rusher with three carries tallying for 40 and a touchdown. Junior running back Travis Theis finished with 10 carries for 32 yards. 

Both Bell and Galbreath finished with over 100 yards receiving. Bell finished with five receptions for a season high 131 yards and two touchdowns. Galbreath caught six passes for a career high of 101 yards and a touchdown.

Senior linebackers Brock Mogensen and Stephen Hillis finished with the team high in tackles with nine. Hillis also had 1.5 tackles for loss. Senior defensive lineman Micah Roane had a game and career high 1.5 sacks.

Youngstown’s Davidson finished 15 of 26 passing with 267 yards and three touchdowns. 

Rushton finished with 16 carries for 116 yards and a touchdown. 

Tomczak finished as the Penguins leading receiver with six catches for 134 yards and a touchdown.

Youngstown State falls to 3-3 on the season with a Missouri Valley Football Conference (MVFC) record of 1-2. Their next game will be at home against Illinois State on Oct. 21. 

The Coyotes record improves to 5-1 on the season with a MVFC record of 3-0. Their next matchup will be at Indiana State on Oct. 21. 

Following the win, the Coyotes jumped only one spot in the FCS Coaches poll to No. 16 as for the Stats Perform FCS poll, the Coyotes moved from their previous position of 10 to No. 6. 

Photo Credit: Sydney Kolln | The Volante