The Youngstown State football team last week had a slow start against the Howard Bison. But a strong second half performance had the Penguins pull away 54-28. Even after the win, head coach Bo Pelini was very unhappy and wanted the next game against the Duquesne Dukes to have more of a blowout feeling to it. It did not work out that way. Still, YSU Is 3-0 For The First Time Since 2012.
YSU Is 3-0 For The First Time Since 2012.
The first quarter started out good enough for YSU as quarterback Nathan Mays would find tight end Miles Joiner for a 58 yard completion to the Dukes 17. Former Girard Indians quarterback Mark Waid would also make his debut in the first half.
His first ever snap would be a two yard run. Later on during that drive, he would rush it six yards for a touchdown. It was Waid’s first as a Penguin and put them up early, 7-0.
The Dukes would go for it on fourth and 10 late in the first, but backup quarterback Brett Brumbaugh’s pass fell incomplete, turning the ball over on downs. Mays would find Joiner again on the drive. One was for a 16 yard pickup and another for was 14 yards.
Mays rushed it himself once for a 24 yard pickup during the drive and Joe Alessi had an 11 yard run. Waid would finish the drive with another rushing touchdown to begin the second quarter up 14-0. A Bryce Gibson interception would give the Penguins the ball back a short time later. They would convert it into a 31 yard touchdown from Joe Craycraft to the other running back London Pearson.
YSU would not score again in the first half and instead was hurt with penalty flags. One was a personal foul and the other was a hold on Gibson. Duquesne took advantage of that with a Parr to tight end Jake Dixon four yard touchdown making it 21-7 at the half.
Duquesne is a team that made the playoffs last season. finishing with a record of 9-4. They were NEC co-champions and made it to the second round of the FCS playoffs, losing to North Dakota State 51-6. They came into this game with three losses against the Penguins but looked as if they could come back and upset them, winning their first.
The second half would have YSU find that momentum that they were often missing, but there was a consequence to it. In the third quarter, defensive end Justus Reed blew by through the Dukes defensive and got to Parr, causing a fumble. He was called for targeting, however, and ejected from the game.
The Dukes made a big play when senior defensive back Kyle Hegedus forced Dukes running back Mark Allen to fumble. It was recovered by junior defensive back Zaire Jones. The extra point by Colten McFadden would however be blocked. This led to a Mays four-yard rushing touchdown putting the Penguins up 27-7 late in the third.
Youngstown State would score one more time in the fourth quarter. Mays would hand it off to running back Christian Turner who took it 16 yards for the score that this one away. Dukes freshman running back Lentivone Lesane would score the last points for them rushing it in from four yards out making the final 34-14.
The Youngstown State Penguins are now 3-0 for the first time since 2012. Their first three wins during that season were against the Pittsburgh Panthers (31-17), Valparaiso Crusaders (59-0), and the Albany Great Danes (31-24).
The Big play Makers For The Penguins
The big play makers for the Penguins could be the offense as a whole. Mays was eight for 11 for 131 yards and rushed for the one touchdown. Craycraft was one for one, the only completion being a 31 yard touchdown pass to London Pearson. Mark Waid had four carries for 14 yards and scored two touchdowns.
Joe Alessi led the running backs with 11 carries and 75 yards rushing. Christian Turner had five carries for 17 yards and the fourth quarter touchdown. Braxton Chapman had three carries for 13 yards.
Miles Joiner led the receiving core with three receptions for 88 yards. London Pearson had the touchdown which was his only reception. The rest had only one reception as well.
Jermiah Braswell ,after making the Sports Center Top 10 with that great diving catch against Howard, only had one reception for nine yards. The only other receiver to have multiple receptions was Samuel St. Surin who had two receptions for 11 yards.
The defense had a major role in this game. They forced the Dukes to punt three times, picked off Parr two times (one by Zaire Jones and DJ Smalls), and a forced fumble at the beginning of the third.
Youngstown State (3-0) will now look to go to 4-0 for the first time since 2012. They will take on the Robert Morris Colonials (0-3) at Stambaugh Stadium. Kickoff is 6pm on ESPN+.
Duquesne (1-1) will head to Welcome Stadium in Dayton Ohio to take on the Dayton Flyers (2-0). Kickoff for that game is 1:00pm.