YSU Travels To Macomb To Face Western Illinois

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Youngstown State will travel to Macomb, Illinois, for their final regular season road contest to face Western Illinois.  The Penguins (5-4, 2-4) are trying to regain the swagger that had them ranked as high as third in the polls.  Then October came.  The Leathernecks (3-6, 1-5) are having a pretty tough campaign as well, but hope that the adrenaline will propel them to a victory on Senior Day.

The Penguins have preached all season long that they will not look ahead, but rather, focus on the opponent of the week.  Coach Eric Wolford also vowed that this team could not put all of its eggs in one basket, but a loss would surely eliminate the Penguins from any hopes of postseason life.  The eggs are in one basket every week.

If the Penguins can secure a win in Macomb, next week’s contest against Indiana State will have huge playoff implications that could seed the winner.  One week at a time though, as the focus is on the Leathernecks of Western Illinois.

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Last season, the Penguins won a lopsided 56-11 verdict at Stambaugh Stadium.  The Penguins have owned the Leathernecks in the recent years, winning seven of the last eight games, and now hold a 16-11 edge in the series.  Even though Western Illinois has lost seven of their last eight, senior WR Charles Chestnut vows that his team is going to do all they can to win.

“It is our last home game, and it is senior day, we have to do this.  We are not eligible for the playoffs — this is all we have to play for”, said Chestnut.  ”The younger guys look up to us and we want them to have something to build on.  It will not be hard to get up for this game.”

Last week, the Leathernecks were shut out at home for the first time since 1994. Northern Iowa raced out to a 30-0 halftime lead and kept Western off of the scoreboard en route to a 40-0 win. Also last week, the Penguins were very effective in winning the time of possession battle as they held the ball for about ten minutes more than their opponent.

“Winning the time of possession is huge”, said Wolford.  ”Your defense rests on the sidelines and the offense is in a rhythm.  The best defense is to keep a good offense on their sideline.  When the opponents offense gets back on the field, they get a sense that they are underachieving.”

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The Penguins have turned up the pressure, recording eleven sacks in the last three games.  Aronde Stanton and Nick DeKraker have a sack in each of the three games.

Offensively, Kurt Hess needs one more touchdown pass to take sole ownership of the most touchdowns in a career.  The junior signal caller is tied with Tom Zetts at 51 aerial tosses.  RB Jamaine Cook (above) is the reigning MVFC Offensive Player of The Week as he popped out 203 yards on 42 carries last week in the win over South Dakota.

Cook is also chasing some historical marks.  He can set the career mark at YSU for all-purpose yardage if he can accumulate 180 yards.  He also trails Adrian Brown by 163 yards for second place on the all-time rushing yardage list.

“The win last week definitely helps us get our confidence back on track”, said OL Lamar Mady.  ”Everybody is level-headed and working hard to be prepared for the next game.  We want to get the whole offense running strong again.”

Kickoff from Macomb is 2 pm EST (1 pm CST) and the game will be carried on WFMJ. Don’t count YSU out yet.

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