Posts Tagged ‘Stephen Blose’

Many YSU Football Players Receive Academic Recognition

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Several Youngstown State University student athletes have recently been recognized nationally for their excellence in the classroom.

The Youngstown State football team had four former student-athletes named to the 2011 National Football Foundation Hampshire Honor Society, the organization announced on Wednesday. Stephen Blose (Erie, Pa.), Kyle Banna (Canfield, Ohio), Luke Matelan (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and Eric Rodemoyer (Sharon, Pa.) were YSU’s selections.  Blose, Banna, and Erik Johnson received the Missouri Valley Football Conference President’s Council Academic Excellence Award, the league announced on Tuesday.

Being selected to receive the Commissioner’s Academic Excellence Award, which requires a minimum GPA of 3.2 for the previous two semesters, were Blose, Bobby Coates, Tyler Figueroa, Chris Gammon, Johnson, Marc Kanetsky, D.J. Moss, Dom Rich and Nate Schkurko. A total of 104 student-athletes received the league’s Commissioner’s Academic Excellence Award.

Penguins Fall One Last Time In Last Minute, 30-24

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Youngstown State University and Indiana State University entered Saturday’s game with no shot at a playoff berth or a conference championship.  This game was simply a way to play out the string and look to next year, a test of pride.  For the Senior Class, this was it, the last game and last chance to shine as a Penguin.  The young Penguins proved truth to the old adage that you cannot play to the level of your competition for 59 minutes every week.  In a game that YSU should have won on paper, playing to the level of their competition again hurt the home team, as the Penguins fell, 30-24.

The Penguins jumped out to the early 7-0 lead two-and-a-half minutes into the contest.  Adaris Bellamy capped off a six-play drive with a one-yard scamper.  The lead was short-lived as Indiana State responded.  Ronnie Fouch found Alex Jones for a 68-yard score, and just like that (two plays), the Sycamores had a chance to tie the game.  The Penguins were whistled for a penalty on the extra point enticing ISU to go for a two-point try.  The attempt was successful as Darrius Gates converted on the run to give the Sycamores an 8-7 lead.

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Indiana State would extend their lead to 15-7 with 6:45 to go in the opening period as Fouch kept the hot hand and found Bryant Kent for a 50-yard hookup.  The Sycamore drive covered 66 yards in 3:25.  The Penguins would respond when Jamaine Cook found the end zone on a 5-yard rush.  The Stephen Blose extra point was good and the Penguins only trailed by one.

With 7:27 left in the half, YSU claimed the lead when Stephen Blose nailed a 19-yard field goal to cap off a 10 play 46 yard drive . Fouch and Bryant again connected, this time on a scoring strike covering 11 yards.  Indiana State showed some poise controlling the ball for 5:34 on a drive that took 11 plays and covered 67 yards.

Youngstown State got the ball back with a 1:45 left in the first half.  Kurt Hess tried hard to maneuver the Penguins into at least field goal range but was picked off by C.J. Cook (below).  The Penguins were able to keep the Sycamores off of the scoreboard and the half came to a close with the Sycamores ahead of the Penguins, 23-17.  Fouch had a great first half for Indiana State completing 11-15 passes for 199 yards and three touchdowns.

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On their first possession of the second half, the Sycamores pushed their lead to 30-17.  Jones was the recipient of an 8-yard pass from Fouch capping off a 4 four play, 52 yard drive.

The Penguins showed some resolve as they marched 81 yards in 13 plays to cut the lead to 30-24.  Bellamy jaunted in for his second 1-yard touchdown run of the day and Dominique Barnes had a few touches within the drive to keep things rolling.  Brandian Ross came up big with an interception to give YSU the ball back on their own 47-yard line.  The Penguins would not convert the turnover into any points.

The Penguins defense held tough and the offense got the ball back on their own 12 with 8:56 left in the game.  On the drive, Dominique Barnes threw a pass on a reverse finding Ely Ducatel for a sizable gain.  The Paneech.com player of the year was doing a little bit of everything in this one.  On a fourth-and-four, YSU went for it, but came up empty giving the Sycamores the ball back with 5:20 to go in the game.

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YSU would get one last crack gaining possession at their own 21-yard line with 2:19 left in the game and no timeouts left.  Hess and Barnes hooked up for a couple of key completions covering about thirty yards.  From the Indiana State 31, and facing a fourth down and 14 to go, Hess scrambled for a first down.   With nine seconds left in the game, YSU had the ball down to the Indiana State 11-yard line. On the first shot, Hess looked for Barnes, but it was broken up in the end zone.  On the final play of the game, Hess, threw to the middle again, but overshot Barnes and Indiana State held on for a 30-24 win.

For YSU, Hess finished the game 12-27 for 191 yards and was picked off four times.  Dominique Barnes had 10 catches for 132 yards and one pass for 50 yards.  Bellamy and Cook combined for 39 carries for 155 yards.  For Indiana State, Fouch was 16-23 for 290 yards and four touchdowns.  Gates had 16 carries for 75 yards and a pair of scores for the Sycamores.

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After the game, a dejected Eric Wolford addressed the media.  ”As bad as we played we had an opportunity, that part is exciting.  We have to find a way to make a play when your number is called.  Give respect to Indiana State, they have developed their players and a pretty good quarterback.  Those kids (seniors) are heartbroken.  They will be successful and able to handle adversity, I can guarantee you they learned those lessons this year.  We are in it together.  We have some work to do.  We just don’t match up well and have to get caught up with the rest of the league.”

Dominique Barnes talked about the end of his career.  ”I think the future is bright.  Youngstown will make noise next year in the conference.  I take my hat off to Wolford and his staff, they have things headed in the right direction.  I cannot be happy about the result of this game or this season, there is a lot of emotion going through me right now.”  Barnes and the other seniors deserve praise for smoothly escorting in the Wolford era and having to undergo so many changes.

The Penguins finish the year at 3-8, and 1-7 in the Missouri Valley Football Conference.

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YSU Football Profiles: Dominique Barnes, Player of The Year

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Favorite Penguin. Not an easy choice with Ross, Blose, Elliott, and Rodemoyer in the category.  This was a great bunch of seniors, but one is a future YSU Hall of Famer, one has his name etched in the record books, one scored a touchdown against a 1-A opponent on a bubble screen.  Perhaps the biggest reason why Dominique Barnes is the Paneech.com Player of The  Year is because he would trade those last three achievements in for a shot at the playoffs and a better ending for his team.  Barnes is humble, still somewhat shy, and is a huge-hearted person.  Youngstown State will lose a great wide receiver, but more importantly, a great leader, the kind who led by example both on and off of the field.

Paneech: What is it going to feel like when this all ends?

Barnes: It still hasn’t hit me.  I have played in every game here since I got here in 2007.  It’s probably going to hit me after the game Saturday, it’s going to be emotional.  I just hope we can go out with a win.  When I got here as a freshman, I was immature and young, not really sure what I was doing.

Paneech: Who was influential to you here and helped you?

Barnes: The old coaching staff taught me how to grow up, how to mature.  Playing with Donald Jones for two years taught me a lot, and I still talk to him.

Paneech: What’s next?  What will you do after football?  You have looked forward to next year since fourth grade knowing for sure there would be a next year, so where can you go from here?

Barnes: Who knows.  Hopefully I can get a shot at the next level.  I’m here and my mom wants me to graduate, and I really want to graduate from here.  I only have a few classes left, not too much longer.  I’m pretty sure that me, Brandian [Ross], Andre Elliott, Ely [Ducatel], Deonte Snow, a lot of us came in together and formed solid friendships.  It’s going to be tough not playing with those guys anymore.  I’m sure we are going to keep in contact in the future.  I’m still gonna come and see games, I still have friends who will be back next season.  I think next year, we are going to be really good, I’ll be excited.

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Paneech: This team was upset about being picked seventh in the preseason polls.  The record does not indicate what kind of year YSU had and it has to leave a sour taste to come so close so many times.

Barnes: It hurts, any loss leaves a sour taste in your mouth.  Our record could be very different based on four or five plays.  We could be 8-2 and getting ready for a playoff game.  It really hurts with all of the time that the seniors put in here and this being the end.  We came into the season with a new coaching staff and it is what it is, but it will always hurt.

Paneech: What was it like adjusting to a new coach and new staff?

Barnes: I won’t lie, it was hard.  They came here in the Spring and we had our differences with the coaching staff.  I was so used to Coach Heacock and his staff because that is who brought me here and that is who I grew up with.  I think I adjusted well and had a pretty good year.

Paneech: What is your proudest achievement here?

Barnes: Well, Youngstown State is a known school across the country.  The fact that I played in every game and when I leave here, people will remember my name, they will remember who Dominique Barnes was.  I was fortunate to break a consecutive games reception record and my name is in the top five on a few other lists too.  Don’t get me wrong, all of the records and history-making stuff is good, but I would trade it all for winning.

Paneech: This is an active group on Twitter.  Are you going to keep Tweeting?

Barnes: When you are winning and everybody loves you, it’s easy to tweet, tweet, tweet.  I’ll make sure I go on Twitter when this story goes up so I can re-tweet it to my followers.

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Paneech: I thought Coach Wolford showed a lot of class when he said he would make sure that this graduating class would get a ring when the Penguins win a championship.

Barnes: It’s a great honor.  I wish we could have earned it ourselves.  Once you play at Youngstown State, you are always a Penguin, and thats a great honor.  We are all going to thank him for that and I think within a few years that it is going to happen.

Paneech: Reflect on scoring a touchdown against Penn State, what was going through your mind as you were running down the sideline?

Barnes:  Don’t get caught, don’t get caught! I seen Coach Wolford on my left as I ran by and I kept thinking about not getting caught.  I looked back a few times and thought that if I did get caught how everyone back home would harass me about it, but I made it.

Yes, you did make it. Congratulations on a great career and best wishes for a productive and healthy future Dominique!

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One Word Answers

Favorite Cartoon Character: Superman.

Favorite Meal: McChicken, Fries, and a Sweet Tea at McDonald’s.

Worst Class You Took: Accounting.

Best Class You Took: Public Relations, taking it now.

Favorite Halloween Costume As A Kid: Football Player.

Favorite NFL Player of All-Time: Donald Jones.

Other Colleges You Watch: Michigan and Michigan State.

A Coach You Would Love To Play For: (laughs) Whoever is throwing the ball 45 times a game, like Boise State.

Cell Phone Choice: iphone and A T & T.

Favorite ESPN Anchor: Chris Berman.

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More Heartache, 41-39 Loss Stings Penguins

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If you analyzed the turnover that first-year coach Eric Wolford had to deal with in his inaugural season, you probably would scratch your head trying to figure out how Youngstown State was even in so many close games.  Saturday, the Penguins dropped another heartbreaker, 41-39, to Illinois State.  The loss dropped the Penguins to 3-7 overall, and 1-6 in the Missouri Valley Football Conference.

The NCAA standard for scholarships to award for a football program sits at 63.  Youngstown State is only using 53 due in part to some of the fallout of a new program.  People quit when they do not buy in to something new.  Wolford is a hard-nosed coach who wants his team to be on the same page.  Some of the returning scholarship players from last season’s Jon Heacock era did not buy in to what Wolford was selling and left seeking greener pastures.  The result of this process is a group of talented seniors who are surrounded by youth and inexperience.

The best example would be the defensive secondary.  The loss of Andre Elliott has crippled the Penguins defense, period.  One guy does not make a team, but his senior counterpart, Brandian Ross, just can’t do everything else while the new guys learn as fast as they can.  Coach Ron Stoops recently discussed the blowing of late leads and how inexperience can contribute to such patterns.  We discussed Donald D’Alesio, the talented Cardinal Mooney recruit who earned playing time.  “Donald is good and has the talent, but he hasn’t even had a year to adapt to the speed difference at this level, has not had a full year of weight training which will help him down the road.”  D’Alesio, Will Shaw, and Randy Louis tried to do as much as they could to keep opposing teams out of the end zones late in games.  Since the loss of Elliott, the Penguins are winless.

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My praise goes to Defensive Coordinator Rick Kravitz, as well as Stoops, for working with what they have to come so close.  In Saturday’s loss, this defense actually kept the Penguins in the game allowing the offense to score a couple of times before yielding the big play at the end of the game again.  In this situation, Kravitz has tried many different things.  He has blitzed and gotten burned, he has sat in a prevent, like he did yesterday setting up a pair of defenders 25 yards off of the ball, he has disguised blitz and dropped back into coverage, he has disguised coverage only and blitzed…  bottom line is Kravitz is relying on mostly inexperienced players to make big plays at a new level, and it hasn’t worked yet.  He has no alternative, and I am sure it drives him crazy, as much as it baffles Wolford.

“We got closer, there was only point seven seconds left this time.  Usually we let it get away with 53 seconds or so”, commented Wolford after the game.

The critics are running their mouths about how the coaches are losing games.  Coaches do not lose games, despite Wolford always taking the heat with every loss to keep the negativity off of his players.  You can put guys in position to make plays all day long.  If no one makes a play or steps up in these crucial situations, it can’t be pinned on the coaches.  The players are giving their all, some have just never been in these situations at a higher level.  It is unfortunate, especially for the seniors.  In yet another classy gesture, Wolford has exclaimed then when this team wins a championship (and they will within the next three years), he will make sure that this year’s senior class receives rings for their contributions into the new program.

This coming Saturday marks the end for Dominique Barnes, Brandian Ross, Stephen Blose, Eric Rodemoyer, Andre Elliott, Nick Gooden, Bob Gratz, Erik Johnson, Kyle Banna, Jaimie Frasure, Rob Fernbeck, Luke Matelan, Torrance Nicholson, Brad Miller, Bobby Coates, Kyle Brown, Chris Gammon, and Tyler Figueroa.  This senior class did all they could to win, the situation with the turnover in roster hampered their chances. 

Plan on showing up to honor these seniors Saturday as they take the field one last time as Youngstown State Penguins, they are a great bunch of young men who stuck things out when they doubted where the program was headed and came out better people for it.

Kickoff against Indiana State is at 1 p.m. and the seniors will be honored. 

Penguins Drop Another Nailbiter, 34-30, To Northern Iowa

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The point was made earlier on this very website that YSU had lost their last nine games against Northern Iowa.  The argumentative point was also made that Coach Eric Wolford had never lost to the Panthers.  Something had to give and a streak would be broken. Unfortunately for YSU, Wolford did end up losing to Northern Iowa, 34-30, on Homecoming Saturday.

Youngstown State got on the board to take the lead with 11:18 to go in the opening period when Kurt Hess found seldom used Andre Barboza for a 33-yard touchdown.  The drive marked what had now become a Penguin stereotype of jumping out to early leads and yielding late touchdowns.

Northern Iowa scored on the last play of the first quarter.  Billy Hallgren kicked a 20-yard field goal.  The Panthers appeared to have scored a touchdown, but it was nullified by a penalty.  Hallgren’s kick made the score 7-3.

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With 14:14 left in the first half, Dominique Barnes did his thing, making yet another big play for Youngstown State.  Hess hit Barnes with a nice pass and Barnes ran about 40 yards down the YSU sideline for a 71-yard TD to increase the Penguins lead to 14-3.

Schuylar Oordt shrunk the YSU lead to 14-10 when he caught a 39-yard touchdown pass for the Panthers.  Tirrell Rennie, known more for his running than passing at QB, threw a nice ball to Oordt who ran a post and didn’t have a Penguin very close to him.

The Penguins threatened again as time was running out in the first half.  Will Shaw picked off a Rennie pass two yards deep in his own end zone and took off the other way.  Shaw made it all the way to the Northern Iowa ten.  After a couple of plays, the Penguins lined up for a third down FG attempt.  Marc Kanetsky, the holder for Stephen Blose, picked the ball up and barely missed a tight end on the fake. With one second left in the half, Blose connected from 27 to give the Penguins a 17-10 lead.

The second half was a true battle of field position and long drives.  Northern Iowa tied the game with 5:32 left in the third quarter. Rennie showed why he is such a threat as a runner for most of the drive.  The score came on Rennie’s 29-yard run to tie the game at 17-17.

The Panthers nabbed the lead with 14:20 left in the game when Hallgren booted a 32-yard field goal.  Northern Iowa capped off a nine play, 53 yard drive with the field goal to hold their first lead of the afternoon.

Youngstown State would respond when they pieced together a nice drive.  With 8:39 left in the game, Adaris Bellamy scored a touchdown on a two-yard run.  The drive that gave the Penguins a 23-20 lead took 13 plays and covered 81 yards.  Stephen Blose missed the extra point to the right to keep the Panthers just a field goal behind.

The Panthers took the lead back when Jarred Herring scored on an 11-yard run.  The touchdown capped off a seven play, 58 yard drive and made the score 27-23 in favor of visiting Northern Iowa.

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With 2:27 left in the game, Jamaine Cook broke off a 39-yard run for a touchdown.  With the run, Cook became the third person to gain 100 plus yards against a tough Panther defense.  The run also gave Cook 1,000 yards for his career so far as a Penguin.

Carlos Anderson took the kickoff 58 yards to the Penguin 19 yard line.  On the very next play, Rennie scored on a 19-yard run with 2:08 left to play and the trend of Youngstown State blowing late leads looked to be in the process of happening yet again.  The quick turn of events made the score 34-30 in favor of the Panthers.

Youngstown State (3-6, 1-5) had a chance, but they ran out of downs and the end result was a 34-30 win for Northern Iowa in another heartbreaking loss.  Kurt Hess, after the game, talked about the mindset of what happens to the Penguins through a game.  ”We were confident in our defense stopping them.  We also thought that if they scored that we could answer.  We will live with it for 24 hours, come Monday we need to prepare to play another game and put this behind us.”

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Coach Wolford talked about the loss and maybe playing to the level of the competition being a good and a bad thing.  ”We have guys who continue to massage this thing.  We have to contain the football, it’s a concept of knowing where the help is.  Make sure the ball doesn’t get outside you.  I can handle getting beat, but cant handle giving games away.  I am confident that we are very close.  I’m not going to make excuses for where we are at, but I will tell you that we are close.”

Hess finished the game 14-22 for 218 yards.  Barnes caught 4 balls for 89 yards, and Cook had 26 rushes for 127 yards and a touchdown. Cook also caught three passes for 26 yards.

Northern Iowa (5-3, 4-1) was led by Rennie who was 8-16 for 152 yards and 28 carries for 194 yards on the ground.  He had two rushing touchdowns and a passing touchdown for the Panthers.

South Dakota State Sends Youngstown State Packing On Hobo Day, 30-20

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Youngstown State (3-5, 1-4) was looking to finish strong.  Having held second half leads in six of seven games this season, the kryptonite has been finishing.  A big crowd was on hand in Brookings, SD as the South Dakota State Jackrabbits held their annual Hobo Day.  Finishing would not be an issue because the Penguin Defense had no way to stop both Kyle Minett and Thomas O’Brien and YSU never had a lead in the second half and fell 30-20.

Kyle Minett wasted little time establishing the game plan the Jacks would want to follow.  South Dakota State took the opening kickoff and drove 68 yards in seven plays to take a 7-0 lead.  On the drive, Minett had four carries for 28 yards, and all the rest of the yardage, except for six,  was Minett receiving yards from Thomas O’Brien.

Youngstown State responded with their first offensive possession as Stephen Blose knocked in a 34-yard FG to make it 7-3.  On third down, deep in SDSU territory, an apparent pass interference call was never flagged, keeping the Missouri Valley Football Conference’s wishy-washy refs as an additional obstacle the Penguins must overcome to win.

Dominique Barnes took a step into the YSU all-time greats list when he caught a pass in his 31st consecutive game.  Barnes would also cap a drive that allowed YSU to nab the lead momentarily.  Kurt Hess found Barnes for a 33-yard strike.  Oddly enough, the drive Barnes establishes his record, Blose misses his first extra point attempt after converting 55 in a row.  With 1:41 left in the first quarter, it was YSU 9-7.

South Dakota State had been struggling with field goals.  Peter Reifenrath was called upon to attempt a chip shot of 25 yards. Reifenrath missed wide right and the Jacks were now 2/9 on FG’s this season.  Jamaine Cook fumbled finishing a hard run and Reifenrath got another shot, this time from 43 yards away.  He nailed the field goal to give SDSU a 10-9 lead with 4:59 left in the half.  On the drive, Minett was absent and believed to be banged up.

The Jackrabbits got a 53-yard hookup from O’Brien to Brandon Hubert with the first half time winding down to set up a first-and-goal on the YSU nine.  Colin Cochart hauled in an O’Brien heave on the next play to give the Jacks a 17-9 lead at the half.

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At the half, Penguins Coach Eric Wolford commented on being down after two quarters.  ”As sloppy of a half that we had, we are only down 17-9.  We have to quit shooting ourselves in the foot, but we will be ok.  I expect us to have a real good second half.”

The two teams exchanged third quarter field goals with YSU’s Blose connecting from 19 and SDSU’s Riefenrath nailing a 42-yarder to make the score 20-12 in favor of the Jackrabbits.

Youngstown State ran a fake punt toward the end of the third quarter.  YSU Punter, Nick Liste, ran 12 yards to pick up a big YSU first down as Louie Matsakis digs into the special teams grab bag.  The Penguins ended up punting for real three plays later as they failed to get any deeper into Jackrabbit territory.  When the Jacks got the ball back, Minett lined up in a Wildcat formation and took the snap 42 yards to put SDSU inside YSU’s 10-yard line at the end of the third quarter.  After the play, Minett again exited the game and was attended to by trainers for an apparent shoulder problem.  Minett had 19 carries for 164 yards to this point, the first back the Penguins have faced this season to gain more than 100 yards on the ground.

Reifenrath again connected to push the lead to 23-12, this field goal coming from 25 yards out at the 14:56 mark of the final quarter. When YSU punted, Minett again came out in the Wildcat to continue giving the YSU Defense fits.  On a third-and nineteen the Penguins blew a coverage and O’Brien threw a slant to Aaron Rollin to the middle of the field where there was nobody within ten yards.  With the extra point, the Jackrabbits took a 30-12 lead on the 41-yard strike.

Down 18 with about nine minutes left in the game, YSU went into hurry-up mode.  Ely Ducatel hauled in a Hess pass for a 15-yard YSU TD to pull the Penguins to 30-18.  Hess snuck in for a successful two-point conversion to cut the lead to ten with 5:34 remaining in the game.

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After the game, Wolford made no excuses.  ”We’re not ready to win.  We don’t execute things.  We signal things in and our guys turn their heads before they get the whole signal.  We need to keep working to get better, it’s hard to say something positive.  They like to eat and lift weights like Youngstown State used to, there is no candy coating it, they kicked our ass.”

Jamaine Cook led the penguin rushing attack with 18 carries for 78 yards.  Kurt Hess finished 26-46 passing for 263 yards, and Dominique Barnes caught ten balls for 110 yards and a TD.  Ely Ducatel played a bigger role also scoring a touchdown and catching five passes for 70 yards in his best game.  John Sasson and Donald D’Alesio both finished the game with ten tackles.

South Dakota State was paced by Kyle Minett. Minett ended the game with 236 all-purpose yards (185 rushing, 51 receiving).  Thomas O’Brien was 14-25 for 283 yards.

YSU returns to Stambaugh Stadium for Homecoming next week against Northern Iowa, a team they have lost nine in a row against.  Call the YSU ticket offices and grab a seat for all of the festivities Homecoming Week has to offer!

YSU Loses Third Consecutive Game On Late TD, 40-38, to Western Illinois

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Youngstown State University headed off for Macomb winless on the road (0-2) this season.  Western Illinois entered Saturday perfect at home and statistically smashing any team that came near Hanson Field. In the end, nothing changed. YSU still could not win on the road, Western Illinois still was undefeated at home, and YSU still couldn’t hold a lead with less than two minutes left, losing this one, 40-38.

Youngstown State got on the scoreboard first when Stephen Blose booted a 35-yard field goal.  The drive ate up 65 yards and took up 3:29.

Western Illinois roared back when Matt Barr orchestrated a perfect drive leading the Leathernecks down the field and hooking up with Terriun Crump for a 22-yard touchdown.  The Leathernecks only needed 1:23 to go 74 yards and to claim the lead at 7-3.

Not to be outdone, Kurt Hess moved the Penguins right back into the end zone to allow YSU to reclaim the lead at 14-10.  Hess and the offense enjoyed being in Leatherneck territory most of the first half.  The great field position on this particular drive can be credited to the Penguin defense.  After going for a touchdown inside Western Illinois’ 2-yard line unsuccessfully, the Penguin defense got stingy and forced WIU to punt after running three plays, setting up Hess and the offense in great shape.

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Western again reclaimed the lead when Barr found one of his favorite targets, Lito Senatus, on a second-and-eight for a 21-yard touchdown.  The dual-threat capabilities of Barr shined through on the drive as he both passed and ran.  With 12:07 left in the first half, Western Illinois held a 14-10 lead.

Youngstown State would score the next 14 points on a pair of Adaris Bellamy runs (top photo, courtesy Ron Stevens and YSUSports.com).  With 7:24 left in the half, Bellamy plunged in from one yard out giving the Penguins a 17-14 lead.  Bellamy again scored with 2:16 remaining in the half, this time from three yards away to increase the YSU lead to 24-14.  YSU’s defense held off the Leathernecks and the time elapsed ending the first half with Youngstown State ahead, 24-14.

In the second half, Western Illinois put together their own 14 unanswered point run to reclaim the lead.  In the third quarter, Western Illinois exposed the YSU defense, much like the last two opponents.  With 11:23 left in the third quarter, Barr snuck in from three yards out to make it 24-21.  A few minutes later at the 3:30 mark, Barr again plunged in to give WIU their first lead of the second half, this time from five yards away.

YSU found a way, again to reclaim the lead.  Bellamy scored his third touchdown of the game, this one a two-yard squeaker.  Blose’s extra-point attempt was true and YSU had a 31-28 lead after three quarters.

In the fourth quarter, Caulton Ray gave the Leathernecks the lead back when he scooted into the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown.  Charlie Jouett missed the extra point, so Western held a 34-31 lead.

YSU reclaimed the lead with a solid drive aided by a helmet-to-helmet hit on Kurt Hess to keep the drive going.  With 5:27 left in the game, Jamaine Cook sprinted into the end zone to put the Penguins ahead 38-34.

In the nailbiter, Western Illinois went 80 yards in no time at all to take the lead.  Jouett missed his second consecutive extra point to make it 40-38 in favor of the Leathernecks.  Barr found Senatus again, this time from 17 yards out to put YSU in another disastrous predicament of blowing a lead with less than two minutes to go in a game.

YSU got the ball back with a little less than a minute to go.  Hess got sacked and was lucky to get the ball back.  On 4th and 2 yards to go, the Penguins failed to convert an out pattern, Hess threw a great pass, but it was dropped.  WIU took over on downs and ran the clock out.  The Penguins lose their third in a row, third consecutive on the road, and are still trying to learn how to win.

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Wolford commented on the loss and not being able to hold a lead.  “I don’t know what to say.  I really don’t know what to say.” The poor officiating continued this week.  On the last WIU scoring play, a flag was thrown but later picked up.  Wolford was asked about the conversation he had with the ref about the disregarded foul. “We got homered.”

To reflect back to the Jim Tressel glory days at YSU, the Penguins were not blowing anyone out, they were winning games in the last couple of minutes.  That is what made those teams so special, they could make the plays to win.  This team is soooo  special, the record would not do the talent any justice.  Big tip of the cap to Torrance Nicholson who played like a man possessed tonight.  Nicholson was everywhere, all game long.

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Penguins Drop 34-29 Heartbreaker to North Dakota State

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Youngstown State University has been exceptional at jumping out to a lead all year.  Saturday, the Penguins scored first for the fifth time this season.  Unfortunately, they rarely score last and that formula held true again as North Dakota State (4-2, 1-2) rallied to take a lead with under a minute left in the game, giving up a 45-yard touchdown to fall 34-29.

The Penguins took the opening drive deep into North Dakota State territory but had to settle on a 43-yard Stephen Blose field goal.  The field goal came at the 10:45 mark of the first quarter.

With 6:49 left in the first quarter, YSU found the end zone. Kurt Hess plopped in on a quarterback keeper from two yards away to increase the Penguin lead to 10-0.  The drive was set up when David Rach recovered a fumble from Bison QB Brock Jensen at the NDSU 37-yard line.  The Penguins covered the 37 yards in 5 plays over a 2:28 stretch.

North Dakota State got on the scoreboard on the first play of the second quarter when DJ McNorton caught a 4-yard pass from Jose Mohler.  Mohler replaced Jensen who left the game with a collarbone injury.  The Bison drove 50 yards in seven plays to make it 10-7.

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The Penguins responded when Mr. Excitement, Dominique Barnes, caught a Hess long ball that covered 50 yards.  The duo (pictured) would hook up seven times for 117 yards in the first half.  With the touchdown the Penguins took back a ten-point advantage.

The advantage would not last very long.  North Dakota State scored on their next possession to make it a 17-14 Penguin lead.  Derrick Lang punched it in from a yard away capping off an 80-yard drive.  North Dakota State then claimed the lead with their next possession to take a 21-17 lead with 4:55 remaining in the first half.  Mike Sigers broke a big run (below) for a 56-yard touchdown to give the Bison their first lead of the game.

Blose got the Penguins to a one-point deficit with a 24-yard field goal.  At the half, the Penguins trailed the Bison 21-20.

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On their first drive of the second half, the Bison went 62 yards in six plays to extend their lead to 28-20.  The drive was capped off when Mohler found Matt Veldman for a five yard touchdown with 11:47 left in the third quarter.

YSU squandered chances on their next couple of drives.  Kevin Watts found some space on a reverse that went left but was stripped on the Penguin 49.  On their next drive, the Penguins faced a third down and twenty situation.  Hess hit Barnes on the right sideline and YSU picked up a personal foul to put YSU on the Bison six.  Adaris Bellamy ran hard through a hole but fumbled just before he crossed the plane.  The ball squirted out of the end zone and North Dakota State took over on their own twenty in an unpopular ruling with the crowd.

The Penguin defense rose to the challenge and Stephen Meadows sacked Mohler forcing a punt.  Bellamy came back out like a man possessed and carried the Penguins the majority of the way to score on a two-yard jaunt.  Bellamy did a great job of setting up blocks with steps and cuts of precision.  His balance and vision looked good and he topped the 100-yard plateau on the drive.  The Penguins, trailing 28-26, opted for a two-point conversion attempt.  On the chance, Hess through the ball to the back of the end zone where the ball was caught by Juilian Harrell, but Harrell could not get a foot down.  As a result, the Bison held a 28-26 fourth quarter lead.

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North Dakota State drove all the way to YSU’s six-yard line, but again the Penguin defense was up to the challenge.  The Bison had to settle for a Ryan Jastram 25-yard field goal attempt that missed the mark to the right.  The Penguins took over and rode the hot hand of Bellamy.  On a crucial third-and-six, Hess threw for Barnes who tipped the ball to himself and managed to catch it on a spectacular grab to keep the drive alive at the Bison 26 with 1:08 left to go in a 28-26 game.

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Stephen Blose had the stage set for a 38-yard field goal attempt to give the Penguins a 29-28 lead with :51 seconds left in the game.  The Penguins ate 4:34 up on the drive.  North Dakota State got a big return to their own 41.  A defensive holding penalty gave the Bison the ball on the Penguin 45 with :42 left on the clock.

Dustin Howard hauled in a backbreaker from Mohler covering 45 yards putting North Dakota State ahead 34-29.  NDSU went for a two-point conversion unsuccessfully setting the stage for Hail Mary central, but Kurt Hess fumbled and never really had a chance.  NDSU took over and ran the remaining time off of the clock to preserve their win.

The Penguins were led by Adaris Bellamy on the ground with 158 yards on 21 carries.  Kurt Hess was 22-31 for 252 yards and Dominique Barnes caught 10 balls for 151 yards.

The Bison got good efforts from Jose Mohler who ended up 11-14 for 192 yards.  DJ McNorton gained 90 yards on 17 carries and also caught 6 passes for 131 yards and a touchdown.

After the game, Barnes dejectedly addressed the media.  ”They played a good game and fought back.  We watched the film and used what we saw.  Any loss is a tough loss, this one is really hard.  You have to win the turnover margin, and we did not do that today. We have to come back Monday and get ready for next week.”

Adaris Bellamy shared the frustration.  ”I think I was in or down, but it’s on the referee.  It was real fulfilling to take the lead.  Coaches tell us to leave everything on the field.  This game I truly believe I left everything on the field. We lost it for ourselves, they had one more big play than we did in the end and that was the difference in the game.”

Coach Eric Wolford also assessed what he saw.  ”When you kick the ball off, it should be in the end zone, not the thirty yard line.  Last week we gave a game away, this week we gave a game away.  Give them credit, they found a way.  We continue to give football games away with useless penalties and until we make a decision to rid that, we can’t win.  It is a problem when the kickoffs fall short of the 20. It is the kicker’s only job to kick the ball in the end zone, we couldn’t do that today, expect changes.

The Penguins dropped to 3-3 and 1-2 in the Missouri Valley Football Conference.  The Penguins head to Western Illinois in Macomb, Illinois to take a shot at rebounding from the last two devastating losses.

Youngstown State Loses 35-25 At Missouri State

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Youngstown State entered the game ranked for the first time in a couple of years.  First-year Coach Eric Wolford said before the Penguins meeting with Missouri State that this game would be no cake walk.  ”They don’t care that we are ranked, nor do they care that we are 3-1. All they care about is that they can beat Youngstown State.”  In the end, the Penguins came out on the short end of the stick and were handed a 35-25 setback.  The Penguins opened strong racing out to a 17-0 lead, but Missouri State roared back countering with 27 unanswered points to grab control.  It is also hard to win when you compile 106 yards in penalties.

Youngstown State got out of the gate early as Jamaine Cook (above) burst through the right side of the line for a 71-yard touchdown. On the play, Senior guard Eric Rodemoyer (next photo down) pulled and buried Missouri State’s DE to spring Cook for the long run. Stephen Blose knocked in the extra point to put the Penguins ahead 7-0.

Blose increased the lead to 10-0 when he connected on a 24-yard field goal.  On the drive, the Penguins were deep in Missouri State territory when Jordan Thompson mishandled the exchange from quarterback Kurt Hess.  Thompson fell on his own fumble to retain possession, but the chance for a touchdown instead of a FG was decreased.

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On the ensuing kickoff, the Penguins caught a big break when Jamarious Boatwright fell on a free ball deep in Bears territory at the 25-yard line.  With 3:10 remaining in the opening quarter, Cook scored from five yards out to give YSU a 17-0 cushion.  Missouri State responded before the half when Cody Kirby hooked up with Cadarriu Dotson from 30 yards away to cut the YSU lead to 17-7 with 13:43 left in the half.

In the second half, the Penguins came unglued and played very undisciplined football.  With a 17-7 lead and the ball on their own two yard line following a punt, Hess and Thompson again had exchange problems, this time in their own end zone, and this time resulting in a Bears touchdown.  Howard Scarborough pounced on the loose ball in the paint to make it a 17-14 game.

On the next drive, Hess was picked off by Bears LB Adam Beauchamp who returned the pick 40 yards to give the Bears a 21-17 lead. Jordan Chiles, who had a rough day missing three field goal attempts for the Bears, knocked in all of his PAT’s on the day.  Suddenly, Youngstown State’s Offense was shooting itself in the foot.  Two defensive touchdowns should not be indicative of the performance of YSU’s Defense.

After Missouri State made it 28-17 on Chris Douglas’ 22-yard scoring run, YSU found some rhythm on offense.  Hess connected with Sophomore Juilian Harrell for gains of 11, 24, and 12 yards.  Those gains set up a 2-yard Thompson touchdown to make the score 28-23.  Coach Wolford opted to go for two points to draw the Penguins into a three rather than four point deficit.  The decision was a good one as Hess popped in for a successful conversion to make the score 28-25.

Starting the next drive on their own 38, the Bears marched the field in nine plays with the end result a Jemain Saffold 43-yard touchdown reception on a third-and-twelve.  Chiles kick was good to make the score Missouri State 35, Youngstown State 25.

The Penguins got the ball back when Chiles missed his third field goal of the game with 2:46 left in the game.  After moving the ball about 30 yards, YSU ran out of downs and Missouri State was able to kneel on the ball to run out the clock.  The Bears improved to 2-2 on the season and 1-1 in the Missouri Valley Conference.

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Sophomore Juilian Harrell lead the Penguins receivers with five catches for 65 yards.  For Harrell, a transfer from Miami (OH), it was his best game of the season.  Jamaine Cook racked up 167 yards on 26 attempts with a pair of touchdowns.  Kurt Hess was 13-33 for 165 yards but was picked off twice.  Freshman Donald D’Alesio had 11 tackles and John Sasson 9 to lead the Penguins defensively.

For Missouri State, a much more experienced team, QB Cody Kirby connected on 24 of 39 for 298 yards and a pair of touchdowns.  Chris Douglas recorded 11 carries for 63 yards and a touchdown.  Jermaine Saffold hauled in nine balls for 114 yards and a score.  The Missouri State offense only had a couple of truly effective drives, but the Bears (based in Springfield, MO, home of Brad Pitt) came up with the big plays and used their prevailing veteran status to punch the ticket when they needed to most.

The statistic that was the hardest to comprehend were the penalties.  The Penguins compiled nine penalties for 106 yards. Many of the penalties were of the undisciplined variety, things such as late hits and personal fouls.  Many of the nine penalties were also 15 yards or more.

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After the game, Coach Wolford commented on his predominantly young team’s mental mistakes and penalties.  ”It’s hard to win games in the conference on the road, especially when about 30 of our guys have never played a conference game on the road before.  I have to watch the film and I’m sure I’ll be sick. We have to get those kind of mistakes corrected or we are not going to win many conference games.”  Wolford also put the blame on himself and the coaching staff, deflecting the heat from any of the players, yet another reason to like him.

With the loss, the Penguins dropped to 3-2 and 1-1 in the conference.  YSU will return home to face North Dakota State and kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m.  The Penguins are 3-0 at home and look to keep the momentum at The Ice Castle intact.

YSU Football Profiles: Ely Ducatel

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Health,  it affects all of us at some point in our lives.  Ely Ducatel has been a member of the Youngstown State University Football Team for awhile, but in 2010 something is very different — he’s healthy.  Ducatel has not enjoyed the countless hours of pain and rehabilitation to get back, but he is enjoying his role on the team.  The 6’1″, 195 pound junior from Naples, Florida has goals beyond the field and had some enlightening answers to many questions.

Paneech: You had a couple of years where you got hurt.  How hard is it to sit there and just watch?

Ducatel: It is really hard to deal with.  I put a lot of time in, especially my first year going into that Spring.  I redshirted and worked on getting stronger and faster and ended up tearing my ACL.  After that, I had a series of injuries including reinjuring the ACL, dealing with back spasms, and hamstring injuries.  It feels really good to get back on the field.  I took care of myself this year which meant working hard but also eating right.  Coach Longo always let me hear about eating right and kept telling me to stay away from McDonald’s.

Paneech: Let’s shift gears and talk about your education, how is school going for you?

Ducatel: My education and studies are going really well.  I am surrounded with good people, such as tutors,  who are willing to help me when I need it.  The football players have a great academic center to work with.  We have study tables where people are making sure that you are going to class.  Even the teachers are willing to work with you because they know you travel and they really do hold the players best interests at heart.

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Paneech:  Dominique Barnes is the big-play receiver on offense, do you feel like if a team wants to take him out of the offense that your role expands?

Ducatel: When our top receiver, Dominique Barnes, is getting double-teamed, of course I want to step up and make plays knowing that I have one-on-one coverage on me.  Usually they will just move the safety over and that leaves just a cornerback for me to work on and I can run routes into areas where there is a linebacker.

Paneech:  Is the team chemistry better this year than it had been since you arrived here?

Ducatel:  It’s much different, I can’t really say what is better and what is worse.  This year, we are definitely more focused.  These coaches really get after you, but they honestly want the best for you.  They are not here to be your best friend, they are here to coach you up to be the best player that you can be.

Paneech:  Who is going to the Superbowl this year and who wins?  Stephen Blose picked the Raiders.

Ducatel:  I definitely want to see the New England Patriots go.  I would say the Saints or the Packers, although the Packers lost their running back.  Michael Vick is starting now, so I am going to say it will be New England and Philadelphia.  The NFC won last year, so I think it will go back to the AFC, I will say the Pats win it all.

Paneech:  What other sports do you follow besides football?

Ducatel:  I like basketball, both NBA and college.  I love watching certain players like Lebron James.  Lebron is still growing as an athlete and he will keep improving.  With him going to Florida, it is just electrifying down there right now.  I also watch a little Tennis, the Williams Sisters are interesting to follow and you can actually pick up things to try on the football field such as lateral movement.

Paneech: Now that Coach Longo has left the field, please tell me what you were eating that was so unhealthy.

Ducatel: (laughs)  I love Charley’s Steakhouse.  After the season is over, I will probably go over there and grab me a little steak sub, some fries and a lemonade.

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One Word Answers

Best Show On Television: Sportscenter.

Favorite Pro Wrestler: I loved Hulk Hogan.

Song No One Would Expect On Your ipod: Christina Aguilera – I’m A Genie In The Bottle.

Gum You Chew: Minty or Winter Fresh Orbit.

Favorite Beverage: Lemonade.

Best Move You Ever Made On The Field:  Catching a bubble screen and cutting across the middle of the field for about a 60-yard touchdown.

Toppings On A Pizza:  Supreme, everything.

Tell Me What Picture To Use In Your Profile: I would like something of me and all the other receivers together.  That would be a really cool thing.

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