It’ll be a Top-20 FCS showdown at Stambaugh Stadium on Saturday, as No. 3 South Dakota State travels to Ohio to take on Bo Pelini and No. 17 Youngstown State.
The game (6 p.m. ET start time) won’t be on regular TV anywhere, but you can watch it live right here on ESPN+, the digital streaming service from ESPN that has exclusive coverage of dozens of college football games and other live sports every week, all the 30-for-30 documentaries and additional original content (both video and written) all for $4.99 per month.
You can sign up for ESPN+ right here, and you can then watch SDSU vs Youngstown live on your computer via ESPN.com, or on your phone (Android and iPhone compatible), tablet, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, or other streaming device via the ESPN app.
South Dakota State vs Youngstown State Preview
Following a seven-point loss at Minnesota to start the season, South Dakota State has reeled off wins over Long Island, Drake, Southern Utah and Southern Illinois by an aggregate score of 147-30. It has been an impressive display of domination from the No. 3 ranked FCS squad in the land, but the level of competition certainly leaves something to be desired–those four teams are a combined 5-15 overall.
That will change on Saturday, as the Jackrabbits get their first major FCS test of the season when they go on the road to take on No. 17 Youngstown State.
Bo Pelini’s squad is also off to a 4-1 start to the season, with their lone loss coming last week on the road against 10th-ranked Northern Iowa. Before that seven-point defeat, they had won their first four contests by an average of 26 points.
While SDSU rolled to a 36-7 thumping in last year’s head-to-head matchup, it was the Penguins who came away with the 19-7 win when these two teams last met in Youngstown in 2017. That’s one that the SDSU players still remember.
“We just couldn’t get off the field the last time we played them (in Youngstown) and at some point I feel like we started to feel sorry for ourselves,” said South Dakota State defensive end Ryan Earith. “Nobody quit, but things just didn’t go our way that night. We have to make sure we don’t let ourselves get in that position again. We want to be the most physical team out there every time we take the field. We know they’re gonna come out and try to run it down our throats but if we can make them one dimensional we’ll be set.”
These squads bring very similar gameplans to the table. They both lean on the running game on offense (the Jackrabbits rank 11th in FCS with 253.4 rushing yards per game, while the Penguins are right behind them with 248.0 per contest) and suffocate teams on defense (the Jackrabbits are third in the nation in yards per game allowed at 258.2, and the Penguins are 13th at 303.6).
With two teams that mirror each other so strongly, the game could very well come down to whoever wins the turnover battle. That’s an area in which the Penguins have excelled this season, as they rank third in the nation in turnover margin with 12 takeaways and only three giveaways.
“Our first priority is ball security, that takes care of a lot of those problems,” SDSU fullback Luke Sellers said. “We’ve got to stay on the field, let our defense rest and not give Youngstown extra chances. We can’t have our defense on the field the whole game like we did last time. No defense is going to be effective when they have to play that long.”
All things considered, this stacks up as one of the best games in all of college football this weekend.