A look back: Youngstown State vs Boise State 1994 1-AA Championship

Back in the 90's Youngstown State football was one of the dominant programs in Division 1-AA. Youngstown State played Boise State in the 1994 Championship.
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The last time out we discussed a throwback game where Youngstown State beat the Pitt Panthers in one of the memorable games of the school’s history. Therefore, to keep the trend going, let’s flashback to another game. This time Youngstown State was looking for their third championship in 1994, taking on the Boise State Broncos.  

Road to the Youngstown State 1994 Championship

1994 YSU Season Recap

The season started off in an odd way as the Penguins tied their first game of the season against Stephen F. Austin, but soon bounced back winning 14 straight games. YSU averaged 27.9 points per game and held their opponents 10.1 points.  

Probably one of their biggest games came in the playoffs against Alcorn State and future NFL quarterback Steve McNair.  Many thought “Air” McNair would shine in this game and take care of the Penguins.  That did not happen and the Penguins would get the win 63-20.  

Youngstown State then had a few other comebacks against teams such as Eastern Kentucky and a big win in the semi-finals against Montana to send them to yet another National Championship.  The Penguins were led by head coach Jim Tressel and quarterback Mark Brungard.  

1994 Boise State Season Recap

Coming into the 1994 season, Boise State needed a turn around after a 3-8 campaign in 1993.  Second-year coach Pokey Allen needed this to be the season. He got his wish. 

Boise State started off the 1994 season with six straight wins before their first loss coming against Idaho State in week seven.  The Broncos nearly won that game but just fell short losing 32-31.  Boise State won their last four games including wins against ranked number one Montana Grizzlies and number three Idaho Vandals.  

Allen’s Broncos survived the first round of the 1-AA playoffs against North Texas and the quarterfinals against Appalachian State.  Their biggest upset came against Marshall in the semi-finals.  Marshall won the championship in 1992 and were runner ups in 1993.  

In the article on idahostatesman.com, they mentioned that captain Jarrett Hausske wrote a letter that mapped out the season and that they found the way to beat Marshall with horrible statistics. 

Now, it was time for a new number two to try and take down the giants that were the Youngstown State Penguins who were once again looking to go on top. 

1st Quarter 

The first quarter of the game was really a defensive battle with no one scoring during the first part.  That would finally be broken with just under three minutes left when Broncos quarterback Tony Hilde found Randy Matyshock for a five-yard touchdown giving Boise State a seven-point lead.  However, after that first quarter struggle, the tides turned for the rest of the game. Boise State did not do very well for the next two quarters.  

2nd Quarter

The second quarter seemed to be in the favor of that tough Boise State Broncos defense again.  However, things quickly changed as Penguins’ quarterback Brungard led his team down the field. The running game by the backs was going nowhere so Brungard decided to take it in himself instead on a two-yard touchdown run. This run tied the game at seven with under 10 minutes to go.  The next several possessions, however, were not as good as one drive stalled and another was picked off by DaWuan Miller.

Brungard made up for his past drives right before halftime where the pocket passing quarterback decided to show off his speed. He took it 38 yards for a touchdown and made it 14-7 going into the half. 

3rd and 4th Quarter 

Boise State was caught off guard during the second quarter but was confident in making a comeback for the lead.

Instead, the defense got tired and YSU took advantage of the opportunity. Brungard got his third total touchdown of the day and his first passing one, finding Don Zwisler for a five-yard touchdown.  

Youngstown State would then put the game to rest with just over seven minutes to go in the fourth quarter.  The running game that struggled in the first half came back to life as tailback Shawn Patton ran 55 yards making it 28-7.  

Boise State only had one more touchdown in the game.  They tried to come back but there was not enough time.  Youngstown State won the 1994 National Championship making it the third for the Penguins and second straight. 


Youngstown State would win one more championship in 1997 where they beat McNeese State by a final score of 10-9.  After Tressel left to become the coach of Ohio State, YSU fell off, only making the playoffs again in 2006 and 2016.  In 2016 they made it to the FCS National Championship where they lost to James Madison 28-14.

Boise State went to the FBS where they have had some pretty good seasons.  One was their 12-0 season where the Broncos upset Oklahoma. Boise State won the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl on a Statue of Liberty trick play.

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