The No. 6 North Dakota Fighting Hawks (4-1, 4-1 MVFC) take on the Youngstown State Penguins (1-6, 1-6) in the final week of the unique spring season. A victory for the Fighting Hawks would lock up a spot in the 16-team FCS Playoffs that begin next weekend.
Saturday’s kickoff is at noon ET inside Stambaugh Stadium in Youngstown, Oh. The contest can be viewed on ESPN+.
According to the college football odds, the Fighting Hawks are 7½-point favorites on the road, with the over/under set at 38½ points.
What to Know – North Dakota Fighting Hawks
North Dakota hasn’t faced competition in nearly a month, playing its last contest on March 20. It has been a long wait for the Fighting Hawks, who are coming off their only loss, a 34-13 defeat to rival North Dakota State. North Dakota sits in third place in the conference standings.
The Fighting Hawks score 28.8 points per game while averaging 413.6 yards on offense. North Dakota’s offensive line has allowed a conference-best one sack through five games. North Dakota’s defense is a tough bunch, surrendering 20.6 points and 374.8 yards of offense per game.
North Dakota averages 207.2 yards per game through the air. Redshirt freshman quarterback Tommy Schuster has completed 100-of-153 passes for 992 yards, eight touchdowns, and three interceptions.
The Fighting Hawks balance out their offensive attack with a rushing game that averages 206.4 points per game on the ground. Sophomore running back Otis Weah (76 carries, 570 yards, seven touchdowns) and sophomore Luke Skokna (58 carries, 317 yards, three touchdowns) have combined to account for almost 86% of the team’s rushing output this spring.
Through the air, the Fighting Hawks spread the ball around with six players hauling in double-digit receptions. Junior wide receiver Garett Maag leads the team in receiving yards (373 yards), while tight end Adam Lavaleny paces the team with three touchdown receptions.
North Dakota’s defense goes through junior linebacker Devon Krzanowski, who has a team-high 31 stops with an interception and a pair of fumble recoveries.
What to Know – Youngstown State Penguins
This spring season is one the Penguins would like to forget, with a last-place position in the MVFC standings. Youngstown State is coming off a pair of road losses and is 1-2 on its home turf.
Offensively, Youngstown State averages 15.4 points and 267.1 yards of offense per game. The Penguins allow opponents to score 21.9 points per game and concede 312.1 yards of total offense.
Junior quarterback Joe Craycraft got his first start of the spring last week against Missouri State, completing 10-of-24 passes for 100 yards and one touchdown. On the season, Craycraft has completed 21-of-44 for 176 yards, one touchdown, and no picks.
Running back Jaleel McLaughlin has started five of the Penguins’ seven games, carrying the ball 133 times for 691 yards and five touchdowns. The Penguins average 166.7 yards per game on the ground.
Out wide, Youngstown State spreads the ball around to a handful of pass-catchers. Three wide receivers have hauled in 12 receptions apiece, with Natavious Payne leading the team in receiving yards with 141.
The Penguins have forced 10 turnovers, six fumbles, and four interceptions. Youngstown State’s defensive leader is senior linebacker Grant Dixon with 55 total stops, one interception, and one fumble recovery.
Youngstown State has the talent to compete, but you’ll be guessing on how motivated the team is going to be at this point in the season. North Dakota needs this win to strengthen its potential postseason position, so expect the Fighting Hawks to come out ready to go.
The Fighting Hawks showcase a balanced offensive attack, which, when paired with a defense that will hold a struggling offense in check, gives you the recipe for a second-half blowout.
When doing your college football betting, go with North Dakota to win and cover in this one.