Posts Tagged ‘Jamaine Cook’
Youngstown State junior offensive guard Chris Elkins was selected as the Missouri Valley Football Conference’s Offensive Lineman of the Week, the league announced on Monday.
Elkins played all 69 offensive snaps for the Penguins in the season-finale win over Indiana State. YSU had 248 yards passing and 146 yards rushing in the impressive victory again st one of the nation’s top defenses. The 27 points scored by the Guins were the most allowed by the Sycamores in a game this season.
TB Jamaine Cook rushed for 124 yards while quarterback Kurt Hess threw for 248 yards in the victory. YSU had 394 yards of total offense in the contest.
Elkins was the team’s Offensive Line of the Game for his performance. He had an overall grade of 88 percent, a technique grade of 100 percent and led the way with five knockdowns.
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Youngstown State came into their last regular season game knowing that they had to win against a good Indiana State team to have any chance at all to make the postseason. Taking care of their business to the tune of 27-6, all YSU could do was hope for some help to make the playoffs.
The billing for this game was the matchup of running backs as Jamaine Cook and Shakir Bell, the two anchors of their teams respective offenses. However, field goal kicking took center stage, and nobody would have predicted a David Brown and Tanner Fritschle matchup to determine the outcome of two potent offensive units.
Bell, reportedly, did not start the game for disciplinary reasons. Toward the end of the first quarter, the Sycamores junior tailback emerged from the bench. In the end though, the YSU offense proved to be the best defense against Bell. By building a big lead, the Sycamores were forced to pas more than they normally would like, meaning no Bell to worry about.
Brown booted a 20 yard field goal in the first quarter and a 47-yarder before the half. Fritschle kicked a 30-yard field goal. With the two field goals, Brown put the Penguins ahead, 6-3, at the half.
Fritschle would boot a 32-yard field goal that made it a 6-6 game. Once the Penguins punted on their ensuing possession, the Sycamores drove deep into Penguin territory, but came away with zero points as Donald D’Alesio picked off a pass attempt at the YSU three yard line.
The Penguins would take that possession and turned it into a 97-yard drive that culminated in Kurt Hess throwing a beautiful fade pattern to Andrew Williams with 3:20 remaining in the third period.
With that touchdown pass, Hess’s 52nd, the junior quarterback surpassed Tom Zetts as the Penguins all-time touchdown tosser. In the present, it gave the Penguins a 13-6 lead.
The Penguins controlled all three phases of the game. The special teams were the best they have been all season, and the defense has improved steadily to look as good as they had all year.
“Our conference deserves to have four teams in the playoffs. It is like the SEC at this level. We beat a BCS team [Pitt] and I have always been told that those count as two”, said YSU Coach Eric Wolford.
Coach Wolford was as pleased as he had been with any of the other six Penguin victories.
“I feel confident with our strength of schedule, it will be enough for the committee to take a look at us. Anytime you can hold Bell under 100 yards, it’s a good day for your defense”, commented Wolford.
On their next possession, which started in the the third quarter and went into the 14:18 mark of the fourth, the Penguins scored again to make it 20-6. Cook capped off the short, six-play drive with a 32-yard burst off the left edge.
Once the Penguins went back on defense, they had Indiana State in an obvious passing mode and did a great job preventing anything big from happening. Dom Rich came off the right edge for a big sack on a first down blitz and Mike Perish had two more incompletions before the Sycamores would be forced to punt the ball away again.
“It was my guaranteed last game”, said Cook. ”We wanted to go out with a bang. I will be praying tonight. Anytime you have a winning record, it is a successful season, but we have a standard here to make the playoffs, so it will be bittersweet.”
The Penguins scored on their third consecutive possession when Hess again went deep, finding Williams for the second time. The pitch and catch covered 43 yards and built the lead to 27-6.
“If we do make the playoffs, I don’t think we will lose again, we are absolutely playing our best right now”, said Rich.
Julius Childs accented the defensive effort with an interception, the second of the game for YSU. Going into this game, the Penguins only had two interceptions for the whole season.
Cook had a good game to close out his career as a Penguin. The senior tailback rambled for 124 yards on 30 carries. Cook entered the game with 3, 938 yards. This effort put him over the 4,000 yard mark, and he also eclipsed Adrian Brown for second on YSU’s all-time rushing list.
Besides breaking the record for passing touchdowns, Hess settled down, especially in the second half. Hess engineered several first downs and kept the Penguins way ahead in the vaunted time of possession category, which they won, 36:36-23:24. Hess was 20-28 for 248 yards and two touchdowns.
Bell didn’t have the Saturday he had last season against a Penguin defense that has been improving steadily all season. The junior had 18 carries for 54 yards.
Aronde Stanton talked about the YSU defensive success against Bell.
“It shows how much we improved, it is a credit to the coaches. There was a lot at stake today, and we came out and laid it all on the line. It bothers me because we left a few games out there, hopefully the good Lord will take care of us.”
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One last gasp. Youngstown State will celebrate the careers of the senior football players, cheerleaders, and band members this Saturday. The last note, cartwheel, and reception can all take place within a few seconds of each other. Then it is gone. All that is left for the great majority of those seniors is the memories of the days when they were that person.
Indiana State comes to town ranked #7 and having a sensational year. They are a good football team that will try to jam the ball down the throats of the eight YSU defenders in the box. Last season, they did exactly that, racing out to a 21-0 and holding on for a 37-35 lead. The underlying themes of that game were that Shakir Bell is really good, and Youngstown State will not quit.
Maybe a coincidence, but the Penguins are again chasing the Sycamores. This race however covers a season, and YSU is trailing again. The Penguins are mathematically alive for a playoff spot but will need to knock off Indiana State before any consideration will be given. It is a must win game for both teams.
At the weekly press conference, YSU’s Jamaine Cook was asked to compare himself to Bell.
“We are very different, he [Bell] is a quicker back than me, but I think I run with a little more power”, said Cook.
“Cook is a veteran. I am not so sure he has more power than me. Pound-for-pound I think I got him. I’m quicker, but I think I am just as, if not more, powerful.”
Either way, both backs have had great years at their respective universities and the ground enthusiasts will be real happy to attend this game. Bell, a junior, is a finalist on the Walter Payton Watch List.
Indiana State will ride a bus to Canton on Friday and have a walkthrough practice at Fawcett Stadium. After the walkthrough, the players will get to visit the NFL Hall of Fame.
“We visited the Hall of Fame two years ago on this trip in. I enjoy going through there and noticing how many great running back only averaged four to five yards per carry”, said Bell.
As far as last season’s meeting, Bell was quick to be quoted in the present.
“Last year was last year, it’s in the past and does nothing for us now. They [YSU] beat Pitt and Pitt almost beat Notre Dame. They are a good team and they like to hit. We are going to do all we can to execute and we are not thinking about losing.”
YSU’s Aronde Stanton also talked about the weapon the Sycamores use best.
“Bell is a really good back, but we have seen some good running backs all season. He is probably the best running back we will see though and we have to find a way to get it done.”
While Bell was quick to shun last years game, many Penguins pointed toward a regular season ending loss to Missouri State that kept them out of the postseason.
“Last year we overlooked our opponent and looked toward the playoffs”, said Cook. ”We won’t make that mistake this year.”
Penguin TE Will Shaw commented on what it will take to post a win. ”Last year at Indiana State we dug ourselves too big of a hole. We want to have a fast start and take care of business this year.”
Coach Wolford respects the Sycamores and knows that YSU has a tough task to deal with this weekend.
“Anytime you beat North Dakota State, it is a good season. They are a creative team with a wide-open playbook and they make you accountable.”
The playoffs are a coveted goal for all teams. YSU can win and still be left out thanks to the month of October. However, Wolford thinks that a win should be enough.
“If it’s meant to be, then it’s meant to be. Seven of the ten teams we have played so far have been ranked in the Top-25 this season.”
Kickoff is set for 2 pm with a decent weather forecast to look forward too. See you at the game that I predict the Penguins to win, 31-28.
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Youngstown State (6-4, 3-4) kept their playoff hopes alive with a 31-7 victory at Western Illinois. The Penguins played a very methodical game and had a big edge in the time of possession, 39:52 to WIU’s 20:08, nearly a twenty minute difference.
Jamaine Cook (above) carried the ball 32 times for 113 yards in the win. Cook scored the first Penguins touchdown on the opening march of the game with a two-yard plunge to give the Penguins an early 7-0 lead.
Western Illinois freshman QB, Hayden Northern scored on a fourth-and-goal from the one to tie the game. The touchdown was the first for the Leathernecks since October 6.
YSU’s defense buckled down after the Leathernecks scored. The defense played well in the win, limiting Western Illinois to 142 yards of total offense for the afternoon. The numbers do not lie, 52 yards on 23 carries is a damn good defensive showing.
Meanwhile, the Penguins run game was in high gear. YSU would finish the game with 225 rushing yards on the ground. Kurt Hess and Torrian Pace scored touchdowns on the ground. Adaris Bellamy looked healthy as he tacked 60 rushing yards onto the total. The offensive line blocked well and their lone blemishes were a couple of penalties for false starts.
Hess had some problems with his passing as he was picked off to give Western Illinois the starting field position of YSU’s 17 on their lone scoring drive. Hess did make some good passes in the win, however, and finished the game 14-22 for 152 yards.
So the stage is now set for a meaningful war with Indiana State at Stambaugh Stadium next week. If Indiana State wins, they will get in. If YSU wins, there is a good chance that they will get in. The loser of this game will definitely see their season end.
The Sycamores had a bye week, giving them a couple of weeks to prepare for the Penguins. The vanilla ball-control offense Eric Wolford used to defeat the Leathernecks with was a perfect script of simplicity that Indiana State will learn little they already didn’t know when reviewing it.
The last two games against Western Illinois and South Dakota could be called cupcake games, but it should be noted that the teams ahead of YSU in the standings played one, or both, at some point this season as well. The timing couldn’t be better though for the Penguins, as getting on a little roll is huge going into a game that definitely puts the season on the line next week.
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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.
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.
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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Youngstown State senior tailback Jamaine Cook was named the Missouri Valley Football Conference’s Offensive Player of the Week for his performance against South Dakota, the league announced on Sunday.
Cook rushed for a 203 yards on 42 carries and had a touchdown in the Penguins’ 13-10 win over South Dakota. Cook had season-high totals in both carries and yards in the contest. He scored on one-yard run in the third quarter. He moved into third in rushing yards for a career in school history and eclipsed 1,000 yards for the third consecutive season. He had 103 yards on 23 carries in the first half and 90 on 19 totes in the second half.
He moved into third place in school history in career rushing yardage. Cook now has 3,815 and trails just Adrian Brown at 3,978 and Tamron Smith at 4,866 in school history. Against South Dakota, Cook had 42 carries for 203 yards. The carries rank as the fourth most in a single game in school history. The 203 yards is the 21st time in school history a Penguin has eclipsed the 200-yard mark in a contest.
Other players honored for their performances on Saturday were S Caleb Schaffitzel of Missouri State (defense); LB T.J. Lally of South Dakota State (newcomer); and PK Justin Syrovatka of South Dakota State (special teams).
The Penguins return to action on Saturday at Western Illinois. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. Eastern/1 p.m. Central.
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Youngstown State University needed to win a game in the worst way. South Dakota, the new kid on the block in the Missouri Valley Football Conference came in with a 1-7 record. When the two struggling teams faced off, the Penguins ended up ahead, 13-10, and halted a four-game losing streak.
The Penguins defense, for the most part, played a very solid game. The offense did enough to win.
“It was an ugly win, but obviously we will take it”, said Eric Wolford. ”The defense played great. It starts up front. Going in, I had some concerns about their running game, but our front seven held them in check.”
Kurt Hess found Nate Adams (below) in the first quarter to give YSU a 6-0 lead. The normally reliable David Brown, the teams extra point specialist, hit the right goalpost to record his first miss in 35 attempts this season.
Adams released to the right pylon as Hess scrambled around before completing the easy three yard pitch and catch. The touchdown completed a drive that covered 84 yards in 15 plays. The catch would be the only one Adams would have in the game.
With less than a minute to play in the first half, the Penguins tried a trick play. Hess got the ball to Micheal Wheary who never crossed the line of scrimmage. Wheary cranked up a pass from about 12 yards and unloaded into a crowded end zone. The result was a red zone turnover with less than a minute to play in the half.
Youngstown State took the opening kickoff to start the second half and drove 75yards in nine plays. The big play in the drive was a 28-yard run by Jamaine Cook that got the ball to the one yard line. Cook would plunge in on the very next play and Brown would knock in the extra point to make it a 13-0 YSU lead.
South Dakota put together their most productive drive of the afternoon. Eric Wolford said earlier in the week that Coyote quarterback, Josh Vander Maten, was a threat with his arm and his feet. Vander Maten proved to be dangerous on the drive as he rushed for 39 yards on four carries and threw three completions for another twenty yards.
“The month of October was very difficult, we had to fight for 60 minutes to get a win”, said Wolford. ”I have been places where guys miss classes, talk back, and have discipline issues. We aren’t having those issues here.”
The Penguins defense stiffened, however, and the Coyotes had to settle for a 37-yard field goal from Kevin Robb.
After the South Dakota field goal, Youngstown State mounted a drive that would kill a lot of clock. The YSU special teams blunder of the week was up next. Brown lined up for a 45-yard field goal. The field goal was blocked and South Dakota ended up with possession inside the Penguins 50.
What happened next encapsulated what has gone wrong for the Penguins in the last four weeks. The Coyotes used two plays to go 47 yards and make it a 13-10 game. On the short possession, Dale Peterman picked up a 15-yard penalty on a flea-flicker that Vander Maten ended up keeping with all of his receivers covered, for a modest ten yard gain. On the next play, Jasper Sanders gashed through several missed tackles for a 22-yard score.
Once YSU got the ball back with over ten minutes left in the game, they went back to the running game to grind the clock. After a couple of first downs, the Penguins punted. Nick Liste hit a nearly perfect punt that rolled into the right pylon for a touchback. Football truly is a game of inches.
South Dakota got the ball back and after picking up a first down, faced a fourth-and-eleven on their own 41 yard line. Aronde Stanton sealed the deal as he dragged Vander Maten down to force a change of possession.
“I tried to strip him, so my initial reaction was to just hold on”, said Stanton. ”We have been getting better. This win gives us confidence to go into the next game. If we don’t win the rest of our games, we know we don’t have a chance.”
For the Penguins, Cook carried the ball 42 times for 203 yards, a season-high in yardage, and a career-high in attempts. The 42 carries were the fourth highest amount attempted in YSU history. Hess finished 11-17 for 133 yards.
“Hats off to the offensive line, they did a great job up front”, said Cook. ”I feel fresher carrying the ball 42 times in a win than I would twenty times in a loss, I’m sure I will feel it tomorrow.”
“The coaches deserve all of the credit for putting a great game plan together”, said OT DJ Main. ”We definitely executed the game plan better than we have. The offense struggled and the defense played great and kept us in the game, we executed when we had to.”
With the news that Indiana State was losing, there was a sudden renewal of hope for the Penguins. If they can win at Western Illinois next week, they face Indiana State at home on November 17. If they can win that game, both teams would have four losses and YSU would be selected over ISU because of the head-to-head logic.
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The 2012 football season that started with such a bang is fizzing away. After a 4-0 start, and then an 0-4 stretch, the Youngstown State University Penguins have gone from the headlines to the bread lines in just a month. There is no magical answer as to why, but a logical guess would be turnovers, failing to defend any passing game, and special teams weekly blunders.
Coach Eric Wolford knows that this stretch has been taxing on the psyche of his players and assistant coaches. Turnovers are not something that can be schemed against. Period. Any team that turns the ball over as much as YSU has in the last three games (11) will not win, and sometimes not even get close to winning.
Okay. So what happens now? The Penguins could very easily pack up the tent and post the ‘wait until next year’ taunts, ala Cleveland sports teams since 1949, or the Penguins can continue to try to win games.
Keep in mind, at 4-3 going into last week, this team was ranked #22. If the Penguins can defeat South Dakota this week and Western Illinois next week, they may very well end up right back in the polls at 6-4. If that does happen, the home finale against Indiana State will have plenty of importance in determining whether or not the Penguins will play the following week.
In true Penguin fashion, however, these games must be won one week at a time. Kurt Hess has struggled. Jamaine Cook has had limited production in two of the last four games because the Penguins have trailed, meaning the pass game becomes the dominant choice on offense. In obvious passing situations, teams can sit back and use numbers to conjure turnovers. They can also send more than what can be blocked to hurry or sack Hess.
Defensively, consistency is the biggest issue. South Dakota’s Tyler Starr, a sophomore linebacker, thinks his team is struggling with the same issues on the defensive side of the ball.
“It comes down to discipline and execution”, said Starr. ”People can get carried away during a game and miss an assignment or take a play off here or there. Suddenly what was a 7-7 game becomes a 21-7 game, and you are trying to figure out what just happened.”
When asked who is a bigger threat to his defense, Hess or Cook (pass or run), Starr gave an honest and candid answer.
“They are both great players. We have to concentrate on shutting down the run game early and force them to pass.”
The meeting against South Dakota will be the first ever. USD is in its first year in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. It will also mark the 71st Homecoming game in school history. Since relocating to Stambaugh Stadium, the Penguins are 20-10 in Homecoming games.
The game has the potential of being a blowout for the home team, or a disastrous next chapter in a book Penguin fans do not want to read.
“It’s not hard to see that turnovers have made the difference in these last few games”, said Wolford. ”We preach how important it is to take care of the ball, and we have failed to do that.”
The Homecoming Parade will start at Noon and the game will kickoff at 2 pm.
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Eric Wolford started a new practice week like a politician, promising change. Wolford made good on the promise of a more stubborn defense. Something Wolford can’t scheme against or plan differently are the mistakes that doomed his Penguins. Southern Illinois blocked a punt for a score, landed on a loose ball in the end zone, intercepted passes and recovered a fumble to defeat the Penguins, 38-21.
“We didn’t play very well. There are three phases and we only played good defense”, said Eric Wolford. ”We know we are capable of being a good football team but we have been shut out the last three games on offense. We need to simplify some things.”
YSU started the game in very workmanlike fashion. The Penguins marched 55 yards in ten plays to take a 7-0 lead on a 1-yard Jamaine Cook plunge.
The Salukis scored by the end of the first quarter on a 26-yard Austin Johnson field goal that cut the YSU lead to 7-3.
Cook garnered his second touchdown of the game on a 4-yard scamper that would increase the lead to 14-3 for the Penguins. The touchdown came with 11:43 left in the first half and capped off a ten play, 65-yard drive.
Big special teams plays by the Salukis hindered YSU’s improved defensive effort in the first half. Southern Illinois blocked a punt with 5:36 left in the half and Courtney Richmond pounced on the loose pill in the end zone to close the gap to 14-10.
YSU would again retaliate with a good drive. Cook had his third rushing touchdown of the half when he dove in from a yard out to increase the Penguin lead to 21-10. It marked the third successful scoring drive of the half, this one covering 76 yards.
As a steady mist fell, Southern Illinois would cut the lead to 21-17 when Kory Faulkner spotted LaSteven McKinney for a 10-yard touchdown.
On a third-and-short, Southern Illinois used play-action to catch the YSU defense out of position. MyCole Pruitt was pretty much by himself, catching a Faulkner pass on about the ten and jogging into the end zone to give the Salukis their first lead of the afternoon at 24-21.
On the next YSU possession, with the Penguins trying to drive and get their lead back, an errant snap exchange between Hess and center Mark Pratt from the shotgun formation rolled into the Penguins end zone and Southern Illinois’ Tyler Williamson landed on the ball for a 31-21 Salukis lead.
With five minutes left and YSU driving, Hess was stripped of the ball while trying to make something out of nothing. Southern Illinois recovered with a 10-point lead.
The final straw was a last gasp drive that ended in Hess getting picked off in the end zone and running 100 yards for a game-sealing touchdown.
The Penguins fell to 1-3 in the conference and probably can’t lose again if they want into the postseason.
“It hurts [the loss] just like the rest of them. Our defense played a great game and as a leader, I can take the blame, our offense did not get the job done”, said YSU’s Cook after the game.
Aronde Stanton, another captain, gave his views. ”We lose as a team, so it doesn’t matter who plays better, offense or defense, it is a team loss.”
“I will be thinking all night about how to keep this team loose”, said Wolford. ”We play South Dakota next week and we have not beaten them since I got here, so we have to really focus.”
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Youngstown State watched a 21-point lead evaporate as Illinois State (6-1, 3-1) scored the last 28 points of the game to complete a comeback that sends the Penguins (4-2, 1-2) losing streak to two games.
“Offensively, we had some foolish penalties that kept us behind the chains”, said Eric Wolford. ”We probably have to make some personnel changes. We can’t keep thinking that things are going to change with the personnel we are using.”
The Penguins opened the game with a ten-play, 76 yard march. Jamaine Cook, who had a huge day, punched it in from seven yards away to make it 7-0 in favor of the Penguins. That lead would increase to 14-0 when Kintrell Disher caught a nice fade route in the corner that Kurt Hess delivered to the only catchable spot.
The Redbirds found the scoreboard by the end of the first quarter. Darrelynn Dunn tallied from eleven yards away to make it 14-7 in favor of the Penguins.
Before the first half would end, the Penguins would go up, 28-7 on a pair of Cook touchdowns from one and 14 yards away. The resilient Redbirds closed it to 28-14 before the half ended.
The Redbirds took their first lead of the game when Brown was ruled across the plane of the goal line. Watching the replay on television a few times, I’m not so sure. Either way, it made the score 35-28 in favor of Illinois State with 2:44 left in the game.
YSU would get the ball with plenty of time left in the game but ran out of downs as the comeback attempt was thwarted with less than a minute left in the game deep in Redbirds territory.
Brown started slow for ISU but would finish the game 20-31 for 225 yards, passing for three touchdowns and rushing in the game-winning score. Dunn had 19 carries for 75 yards.
For the Penguins, Cook had 30 carries for 177 yards and three scores. Hess finished 16-29 for 201 yards and a touchdown.
The Penguins return home next week to face Southern Illinois at 4 pm.