‘Winning becomes a habit’: YSU looking to make it back to back wins this weekend


The YSU Football Team will host North Dakota Saturday in the home finale

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – On Saturday, the YSU Football team will kick off their final home game of the 2021 spring season. The Penguins will enter on a high note, coming off a 28-10 victory over South Dakota last Saturday.

“I’ll say one thing about creating a culture, winning becomes a habit,” said Penguins senior safety Zaire Jones. “And with us just forming that habit and getting that taste of success, it gives guys in the locker room that extra motivation to do extra, and hey, we can actually get this win. What else can I do this week?”

A bright spot for the Penguins this season has certainly been junior running back Jaleel McLaughlin. He racked up 166 yards rushing last Saturday. That’s the most by a Penguin’s tailback since 2018. He’s also rushed for over 100 yards in three straight games. That hasn’t been done at YSU since 2016.

“Number one, he’s fast. He’s explosive. He has great vision and he’s been doing it,” said YSU head coach Doug Phillips. “The last two years, he’s had over five thousand yards. So, he definitely knows how to find open space and how to finish a run.”

“Guys love a guy that works hard, and that’s what Jaleel is,” Jones said. “And I think one thing about Jaleel that is keeping him so productive is Christian Turner. There’s a lot of competition in that running back room, and I think that’s just showing on Saturdays.”

Saturday will mark just the third meeting ever between Youngstown State and North Dakota and the first since 1962. The Fighting Hawks and Penguins will get reacquainted Saturday at noon at Stambaugh Stadium.

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