By Dan Hiner
For the last two seasons, the Youngstown State University football team lost to South Dakota State University.
This season, the Penguins saw themselves as the top team in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. But following the team’s loss to the Jackrabbits, the Penguins are trying to regain their momentum for the rest of the season.
On Tuesday, the football team held its weekly press conference. During the press conference, YSU defensive tackle Cody Squiric said the Penguins are a playoff team and they’re hoping for another shot at SDSU.
“We’ll definitely see them again,” Squiric said. “We’ll see them again … I hope we see them again. I think if we definitely get one more chance with that team … if we inspect what we did wrong, what they did right and we get everything corrected, we’ll definitely get to see them one more time.”
The Penguins lost 24-10 on Saturday. The Jackrabbits scored their first touchdown of the game on a Brady Mengarelli two-yard run, YSU’s first rushing touchdown allowed this season.
“I think we’d hold them to a lot less than 24 points. We didn’t give up a rushing touchdown [all season],” Squiric said. “We’d love to have that back, it’s definitely something I’d love to get back.”
YSU committed two turnovers and the Jackrabbits converted those miscues into 14 points. Head coach Bo Pelini said he’s not paying attention to the fans’ reaction to the loss and also wants to get another chance against SDSU.
“That’s a good football team. We spotted them 14 points and I hope we see them again,” Pelini said. “We got to earn our way to get there.
“It’s up to us. If we approach it the way we did last week, and we don’t make our adjustments … you’re not gonna hope it to get better. You got to get better, you got to execute better, you have to earn it and that’s up to us. The process continues. There’s no secret. There’s no magic wand. You roll up your sleeves, you point the thumb at yourself and you get back to work.”
Pelini said that his message would have been the same whether the Penguins won on Saturday or not. He said the team didn’t play up to its potential against the Jackrabbits, and he believes the Penguins could compete with anyone when they play up to their potential.
YSU guard Gavin Wiggins said the Penguins want to get a second chance to prove they are the best team in the conference. Wiggins said one more game would allow the Penguins to prove what YSU is made of.
“After the loss, I thought we’d definitely see this team again as soon as we get to the playoffs,” Wiggins said. “We’re gonna get after them next time.”