Youngstown State University (4-1, 1-0) started their conference schedule on the right foot with a 14-7 win at #23 Missouri State. The Penguins played brilliant defense in the win and the offense did just enough to secure the win. Newly promoted Defensive Coordinator, Jamie Bryant, seemed to successfully put together a good game plan in showing blitz packages and coverages not shown in the previous four contests.
Junior Safety Tre’ Moore picked off two Kierra Harris passes including the proverbial nail in the coffin at the 2:21 mark of the fourth quarter to seal the win. Harris saw pressure all day long from a vigorous YSU rush courtesy of Terrell Williams (above) and company. Dubem Nwadiogbu, Desmond Williams, and Jaylin Kelly all recorded sacks for the Penguins defense.
Sloppy plays and problems on special teams allowed the Bears to hang around. YSU missed a field goal and had a punt blocked in the fourth quarter which led to Missouri State’s only points. Once YSU’s offense got the ball back, they successfully killed the clock to secure the win.
Offensively, Dante Nania found Andrew Williams for an eight yard touchdown completion just over a minute after the game started. The touchdown was set up by a 56-yard pitch and catch from Nania to Williams to the Missouri State nine yard line.
YSU would take a 14-0 lead into the locker room at the half courtesy of Jody Webb (above) busting an 81-yard touchdown run on a counter play behind Penguin center Stephen Page. Webb would finish the game with 126 yards on 10 carries. Martin Ruiz added 82 yards on 24 carries for the dynamic backfield duo.
Nania would finish the contest completing ten passes in 16 attempts for 160 yards while adding 20 yards on the ground. Williams contributed 83 yards on five catches.
It should be noted that this win was YSU’s third to open conference play. Following the first two conference opener road victories, the Penguins advanced to postseason play both times. Good omen?
The Penguins will open their home conference schedule Saturday against Western Illinois with kickoff set for 7 pm at Stambaugh Stadium. Show some support and head to the Ice Castle to root for the Guins!