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UND football team trying to put late losses to ranked opponents behind them

The Fighting Hawks face off against Youngstown State at noon on Saturday at the Alerus Center.

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UND running back Otis Weah jumps over the pile against Missouri State on Oct. 30, 2021, in Springfield, Mo. Photo by Missouri State Athletics.

UND quarterback Quincy Vaughn was asked this week how his team would handle another deflating, close loss to a ranked Missouri Valley Football Conference opponent, coming off a fourth quarter faltering at Missouri State.

"Great teams in November you always remember and guys think about that," Vaughn said. "A lot of these guys aren't going to quit on our team. Being a quarterback, I need to inspire these guys."

The Fighting Hawks will look to shake any lingering disappointment Saturday when they take on Youngstown State at noon at the Alerus Center.

With three games left in the regular season, the best the Hawks can finish is with six Division I wins -- a mark that's a longshot to be considered for the FCS playoffs.

"After a tough loss like that, it's hard on everybody," Vaughn said. "To have all these losses stack up and have one we feel we should've won, it's easy to turn a shoulder and look the other way and say there's always next season. But the guys in the locker room are looking forward to this run."

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UND coach Bubba Schweigert said he doesn't plan to make any major changes for the remaining three games this season.

"We're in positions to win games," he said. "We have to change some things and how we help our team, but we're in a position to win a game on Saturday and there were some unfortunate miscues.

"We're going to stick with what we're doing. If we can tweak things to help us, yes, but we're in a position to win games against really good football teams. We're going to stick with it and work hard to develop a good plan for Youngstown State."

Schweigert didn't dismiss the potential of the FCS playoffs with a six-win season but said the focus is on the Penguins.

"We like to take things one day at a time and stack up wins," Schweigert said. "Three good wins and you never know. There's a lot of things going on across the country, but we have to focus on preparing for Youngstown State."

The Penguins are 2-5 this season but do possess an impressive 41-33 win over No. 17 Missouri State.

YSU running back Jale McLaughlin trails only South Dakota State's Pierre Strong in Missouri Valley Football Conference rushing this season. He averages 111 yards per game.

The Penguins have rotated quarterbacks this season between Mitch Davidson, Demeatric Crenshaw and Joe Craycraft.

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Crenshaw ran for 195 yards in the win over Missouri State but didn't play due to injury last Saturday in a loss against South Dakota State.

Miller has covered sports at the Grand Forks Herald since 2004 and was the state sportswriter of the year in 2019.

His primary beat is UND football but also reports on a variety of UND sports and local preps.

He can be reached at (701) 780-1121, tmiller@gfherald.com or on Twitter at @tommillergf.
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