Western Illinois erases 28-point deficit to win MVC opener

Sep 25, 2021, 7:50 AM | Updated: 7:51 pm

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (AP) — Connor Sampson threw four touchdown passes and Mason Laramie kicked a 20-yard field goal as time expired to cap a rally from a 28-point deficit and Western Illinois stunned Youngstown State 38-35 in a Missouri Valley Conference opener on Saturday night.

Not only did the Leathernecks (1-3) hold the Penguins (1-2) scoreless in the second half, WIU stopped a fourth-and-1 attempt by Youngstown State at the Penguins’ 36-yard line with 1:49 remaining. The Leathernecks then drove inside the 10 and called timeout for Laramie’s kick.

Youngstown State dominated the first half, building a 35-7 lead before a late WIU touchdown made it 35-14 at the break.

Jaleel McLaughlin, who finished with 136 yards rushing, scored three touchdowns and quarterback Demeatric Crenshaw added two more in the first half for the Penguins. Crenshaw had 134 rushing yards but just 76 yards passing with an interception.

Western Illinois scored 21 points in the third quarter. Sampson, who threw TD passes for both of WIU’s first-half touchdowns, added two more in the third quarter, the latter a 7-yard pass to Dennis Houston to tie the score heading into the fourth.

Sampson finished 33 of 48 for 316 yards and the four touchdowns with one interception.

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Western Illinois erases 28-point deficit to win MVC opener