Big Plays Hamper Leathernecks on the Road


The last time Western Illinois’ football team visited Stambaugh Stadium it took home a 30-24 victory over the host Youngstown State. Five years have passed since that meeting, and the Leathernecks’ return on Saturday (Oct. 26) didn’t go as hoped in a 59-14 setback. 

Big plays troubled Western all afternoon and heavily in the first quarter, where the Penguins held a 28-7 advantage. The opening 15 minutes saw YSU capture all four of its touchdowns on 40-plus yard plays, and the largest occurred on a 56-yard run. 

The game sat tied at 7-all with 10:29 on the clock after captains Connor Sampson and Clint Ratkovich hooked up for a 33-yard scoring reception. The two accounted for both WIU scores, as a four-yard pass capped a nine-play, 73-yard drive in the fourth quarter (12:43). 

There were several high notes for the Leathernecks, including the play of Justin Hall and Jared Drake. The duo shined in the return game with 107 and 83 yards, respectively. Both marked career-highs, while Demetri Royer set his own new collegiate-best with a game-high 11 tackles. 

The Leathernecks received an extra chance with the ball, and were on the brink of their third score, after Colton Folliard’s fumble recovery in the fourth quarter. The sophomore linebacker recovered the ball at the Western’s 47, and his team drove all the way to the red zone, before attempting a pass to the end zone on fourth down. 

South Dakota will take to Hanson Field next Saturday at 1 p.m. 

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