YSU Look Back To 2006

YSU Look Back To 2006
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So the last throwback games that we covered for Youngstown State were the 1994 and 2012 games against Boise State and Pitt.  This time, the game that we take a look at is the first round of the 2006 FCS playoffs when the Penguins took on the Dukes.

YSU Look Back To 2006

1st Quarter

Fourth ranked Youngstown State came into this game with a regular season record of 9-2, the same for James Madison. The game was considered one of the biggest FCS games of the year. It was even shown live on ESPN2, a rarity for lover division games back then.

The Penguins got rolling with nine minutes to go in the first as running back Marcus Mason scored a one-yard touchdown putting the penguins up by seven.  On the ensuing kickoff however, James Madison’s Scotty McGee went 99-yards with the return, tying it at seven a piece.

The teams traded the lead back and forth later in the first.  The Penguins were the first ones to take the lead back after a Brian Palmer field goal. The Dukes came back to take the lead right before the end of the quarter with an 11-yard touchdown run to make it 14-10 James Madison.

2nd quarter

YSU head coach Jon Heacock  went deep into the playbook in the second quarter.  After taking the handoff, running back  Manquantae Gibson threw to receiver Rory Berry for a four-yard touchdown.  Both teams added a field goal in the second quarter to make it 20-17 YSU at the half.

Neither team was able to keep enough offensive momentum to widen the lead. Would one of them pull away during the second half? Well as Spongebob says, Never ever for never ever.

3rd quarter

James Madison had the only score in the third quarter when quarterback Justin Rascati found receiver Mike Caussin with a beautiful 14-yard dart and again. James Madison regained the narrow lead at 24-20. The Dukes defense played a big role here as they forced YSU quarterback Tom Zetts out of the pocket with increased frequency. Zetts had a more difficult time connecting with his receivers.

4th quarter

James Madison began to look like it could pull away in the final quarter.  It happened at the beginning of the fourth as Rascati ran for a 27-yard touchdown and now the penguins were in trouble down 31-20.

That is when Zetts, now a YSU Hall of Fame Inductee, decided to show why he was one of Youngstown State’s best quarterbacks as he drove the Penguins down the field. He found T.J. Peterson six-yards plus the two-point conversation making it 31-28, James Madison.  That drive only took six plays for 52 yards.

Later on, YSU had another drive in them.  This time, it was Mason, (who would go on to a NFL career), with a one-yard run and now it was 35-31 Penguins. There was just over a minute to go and the Dukes needed a prayer.

That is when it happened on a fourth and 10.  Rascati had a receiver who had enough yards for a first down, but he decided to tuck it and run.  Rascati looked as if he was home free, and headed for the end zone, but he was stopped short by the Penguins defense stopped the Dukes. Youngstown State had its biggest win of the year, 35-31 over JMU.

YSU got a big victory over Gateway (Missouri Valley) rival Illinois State 28-21 the following week,  but lost to an Appalachian State Mountaineers team by the final 49-20.  That next season, Appalachian State shocked the college football world by beating Michigan 34-32.

This was YSU’s last playoff appearance until 2016, where they made it to Frisco Texas to once again play against James Madison for the Division one FCS championship at Toyota Stadium, losing 28-14.

YSU Stats

Zetts finished the game 24-40 yards for 314 yards and a touchdown. Mason finished with 26 carries for 72 yards and two touchdowns.  Gibson was one for one with the running back pass that went four yards for the score.

T.J. Peterson was the star wide receiver in the game having 11 receptions for 144 yards and a touchdown. Berry finished with five receptions for 58 yards and a touchdown.

James Madison Stats

Rascati was 14 of 24 for 145 yards and a touchdown.  He then rushed for 93 yards on 11 carries and two touchdowns.

Running back Eugene Holloman finished with 20 carries for 89 yards while Alvin Banks finished with five carries for 59 yards.

Caussin finished the game with two receptions for 32 yards and a touchdown.



With FCS footballs set to be played during the spring, we may see these two teams once again in a playoff battle, especially with the Penguins new face in Doug Phillips.  Only time will tell however as the players and coaches are eager to get back onto the field.