Throwback to YSU vs Ohio State 2007

YSU CB Coach Ashton Youboty Heads To Purdue
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In the early 2000s and 2005s, the Youngstown State Penguins started to play teams from the Football Bowl Subdivision.  The first game when they met an FBS opponent was during the 2001 season against Marshall, the same team they knocked off to win their first FCS championship.  YSU nearly got the win, but fell 38-24.  Other games included Kent State in 2003, Pittsburgh in 2005 and Penn State in 2006. But there was another marquee game and we take a look at the throwback to YSU vs Ohio State 2007.

Their biggest matchup however came in 2007 against the Ohio State Buckeyes, who had just come off of a 12-1 season, losing only to Urban Meyer and the Florida Gators. Meanwhile, Youngstown State finished off a season going 11-3, making the playoffs for the first time since 2000 before losing to Appalachian State in the third round of the FCS Playoffs.

The Ties

General college football fans wondered why this was a big matchup? After all, one is a Division one national championship powerhouse while one made the playoffs for the first time in six years.  A few reasons for this.  The first is Jim Tressel coaching against the same program he led to the FCS championship six times ands won four with, making it a great reunion.  Second, this game had both the Heacock brothers facing off against each other, John Heacock against the defensive coordinator at the time Jim.  Jim Heacock, just like his brother had a head coaching job at one point too, YSUs Missouri Valley conference rivals the Illinois State Redbirds.  Thirdly, the tight end coach and recruiting coordinator at the time for the Buckeyes was John Peterson who years later got the job with tight ends and offensive linemen at Youngstown State.

Lastly, Mike Tomczak, who played for the Buckeyes and then in the NFL for the Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers was the color commentator calling this game on the first ever airing of the Big Ten Network.  This would be important as the former Buckeye became a volunteer coach for the Penguins, helping now their new starter Demeatric Crenshaw.

The Game

For Youngstown State the goal was simple, try your best and put up a little fight with the 11th ranked team in the nation.  Ohio State’s goal was simple, win, gain the momentum that they have lost during that National Championship game and head to week two injury free. On Youngstown States side, you had Tom Zetts at quarterback.  Zetts, would graduate from Youngstown State at the time being their all-passing leader before he got passed up by Kurt Hess from 2010 to 2013. On the Buckeyes side of the ball, you had quarterback Todd Boeckman, running back Chris “Beanie” Wells, Brian Hartline, James Laurinaitis and more.

Ohio State handled the Penguins in the game, starting off in the first quarter when Boeckman went to Dane Sanzenbach three-yards out making it seven to nothing.  The Buckeyes scored two more times in the second with a wells and Brandon Saine one-yard touchdown run.  Finally, Ohio State scored two more touchdowns to Trevor Robinson and Taurian Washington along with a Ryan Pretorius 24-yard field goal.

Youngstown state did not go scoreless as at some points in the game, the Penguins were able to drive down the field with Zetts finding receivers and tight end in Jordan Edwards, Da’Michael Horne and Louis Irizarry.  Ohio State’s talented defense stopped the Penguins both times which led to two field goals by Brian Palmer.  The Buckeyes ended up winning by the final of 38 to six.


After the regular season, Ohio State would end up back in the National Championship after just losing a few weeks ago 28 to 21 against rival Illinois Fighting Illini 28 to 21 in the battle for the IlliBuck. Ohio State ended back in the number one spot thanks to the Pitt Panthers beating number two West Virginia 13 to nine and number nine Oklahoma beating number two Missouri 38-17.  Jim Tressel’s Buckeyes faced off against another SEC Opponent in Les Miles and the LSU Tigers, falling 38-24.  LSUs defensive coordinator Bo Pelini who also played for the Buckeyes would become the head coach for the Penguins in 2015 after Parting ways with Nebraska. Pelini led the Penguins to the 2016-17 FCS National Championship, unfortunately falling to James Madison 28 to 14.

Youngstown States 2007 season ended up being a step backwards from their 2006 playoff campaign.  The team finished seven and four, but where eliminated from playoff contention following a last minute 14 to 13 loss against the Northern Iowa Panthers.  YSU season ended with back to back wins against Indiana State 40 to seven and Western Illinois 31 to 24.  Both teams met agains in 2008 with Ohio State leaving YSU Scoreless 43 to 0.  The Penguins would part ways with Heacock following the 2009 season, but with all the experience against FBS programs, The GRIT U Penguins would shock the Football nation for a night, beating the Pitt Panthers 31 to 17 under coach Eric Wolford and quarterback Kurt Hess.

Youngstown State has a list of different FBS opponents coming up in the next coming seasons, starting with the Kentucky Wildcats in 2022.  Will they be able to get another upset? Only time will tell.