Football

 
November 15, 2011

YSU Plays Home Finale Against Missouri State

Game Notes vs. Missouri State (PDF) | Coach Wolford Video | QB Kurt Hess Video | DE Daniel Stewart Video

   Fresh off a victory over the nation's top-ranked team, the Youngstown State football team plays its final home game of the regular season against Missouri State. Kickoff for the contest is set for 1 p.m. at Stambaugh Stadium. The game will be carried live on 570 WKBN and on tape delay on MyYTV in Youngstown.
   YSU (6-4 overall and 4-3 in the MVFC) remained in the playoff hunt with a 27-24 win at previously unbeaten North Dakota State last Saturday. The Penguins overcame two 11-point deficits and rode a staunch fourth-quarter defensive effort to knock off NDSU at the Fargodome.
YSU trailed 14-3 and 21-10 but each time answered NDSU touchdowns with scores to get back within four points.
   The Bison fumbled deep in YSU territory on the first play of the third quarter to turn the game's momentum. The Guins marched 86 yards in eight plays as Kurt Hess connected with Jamaine Cook for a 10-yard touchdown to put the Penguins in front 24-21.
   NDSU tied the contest on a 27-yard field goal from Ryan Jastram with 8:52 left in the third. YSU followed with a go-ahead 30-yard field goal by David Brown with 2:49 left in the quarter in what were the final points of the game.
   Missouri State (1-9 and 1-6) suffered a 28-20 loss to Indiana State in its home finale. Early in the third quarter, MSU trailed 14-13 before two straight touchdowns by Indiana State put the game out of reach.
   The Bears (1-9 and 1-6) own a 31-17 win at Western Illinois this season for their lone victory. However, their non-conference opponents featured BCS top-six teams Oregon and Arkansas. Four of their other seven losses have been by eight points or less, including three in conference play.
   The Bears have had the upper hand as of late winning, three straight meetings, including a 17-7 win at Stambaugh Stadium in 2009. Last year in Springfield, YSU could not hang onto a 17-0 lead before falling 35-25 at Plaster Field.
   The Penguins won the first eight meetings in the series but, in 2004, the Bears broke through for a 42-28 win in the season finale. YSU rebounded to win the next three contests before the current run by Missouri State, which started in 2008.

NDSU Notes
• YSU knocked off the No. 1 team in the country for the first time since 1997 (Villanova) and the fourth time in school history.
• NDSU previous highs allowed in the following categories before YSU set new marks were: points (24), rushing yards (168), total yards (397), times in red zone (4), red zone scores (3), first downs (21), time of possession (37:31). TB Jamaine Cook rushed for 147 yards - the most allowed by the Bison this year while TB Jordan Thompson's 38-yard run was the longest.
• The Penguins had more first downs (24-11), rushing yards (214-160), pass completions (20-11), total plays (69-50), total offensive yards (451-293), third-down conversions (5-4), sacks (2-1) and time of possession (37:36 to 22:24) in the game.
• The Penguins had a season-high 37:36 in time of possession. However, YSU went three-and-out on its final four possessions.
• PK David Brown has made three straight field goals after drilling a 33-yard kick in the first quarter and a 30-yarder in the third quarter.
• Sophomore QB Kurt Hess threw a touchdown pass in his 10th consecutive game.
• Freshman WR Christian Bryan and sophomore WR Jelani Berassa have each had receptions in every game this year.
• Of the 11 pass incompletions by NDSU QB Brock Jensen, four were pass breakups by the Penguins. The 11 completions were a season low.
• Senior DT Andrew Johnson recorded a sack for the fifth time in six games.

NDSU Recap: YSU 27, NDSU 24
    The Penguins overcame two 11-point deficits and rode a staunch fourth-quarter defensive effort to knock off top-ranked North Dakota State 27-24 at the Fargodome.
    YSU trailed 14-3 and 21-10 but each time answered NDSU touchdowns with scores to get back within four points.
    The Bison fumbled deep in YSU territory on the first play of the third quarter to turn the game's momentum. The Guins marched 86 yards in eight plays as Kurt Hess connected with Jamaine Cook for a 10-yard touchdown to put the Penguins in front 24-21.
    NDSU tied the contest on a 27-yard field goal from Ryan Jastram with 8:52 left in the third. YSU followed with a go-ahead 30-yard field goal by David Brown with 2:49 left in the quarter in what were the final points of the game.
    In the fourth quarter, the defense stepped up to put heat on NDSU QB Brock Jensen. Second-down sacks on two of the final three possessions proved to be too much for the Bison to overcome.

MSU Scouting Report
    Missouri State suffered a 28-20 loss to Indiana State last Saturday in the Bears' home finale. Early in the third quarter, MSU trailed 14-13 before two straight touchdowns by Indiana State put the game out of reach.
    The Bears (1-9 and 1-6) own a 31-17 win at Western Illinois this season for their lone victory. However, their non-conference opponents featured BCS top-six teams Oregon and Arkansas. Four of their other seven losses have been by eight points or less, including three in conference play. MSU lost by two at Southern Illinois, seven in overtime to South Dakota State and eight last week to Indiana State.    

Last Year Recap
    YSU led 17-0 after dominating the first quarter and 17-7 late in the third before Missouri State's defense scored two touchdowns in a span of 90 seconds as the Bears rallied for a 35-25 win at Plaster Field.
    The Penguins jumped on top just three plays into the game when Jamaine Cook went 71 yards for a touchdown. After a Stephen Blose field goal, Cook scored from five yards out to increase the lead to 17.
    MSU hung around, and trailing 17-7 in the third, recovered a fumble for a score in the end zone and returned an interception 40 yards for a score.
    The Bears led 28-17 before YSU pulled within 28-25 in the fourth on a two-yard touchdown run by Jordan Thompson and two-point conversion by Kurt Hess.
    However, Cody Kirby threw a 43-yard touchdown pass on a 3rd-and-12 play with 3:33 remaining to preserve the come-from-behind win.
    Cook finished with 167 yards on 26 attempts and had two touchdowns.

Series History
    The Bears have had the upper hand as of late winning three straight meetings, including a 17-7 win at Stambaugh Stadium in 2009. Last year in Springfield, YSU could not hang onto a 17-0 lead before falling 35-25 at Plaster Field.
    The Penguins won the first eight meetings in the series, but in 2004, the Bears broke through for a 42-28 win in the season finale. YSU rebounded to win the next three contests before the current run by Missouri State which started in 2008.
    Outside of losing the 2009 contest, the Penguins have won all six other meetings.
    The series has featured six contests decided by a touchdown or less, five of which have gone in favor of the Guins.
    With the addition of South Dakota to the MVFC next year, YSU will not play the Bears in 2012 and 2013.

Beating the No. 1 Team
    YSU knocked off the nation's top-ranked team for the first time since 1997 with the 27-24 win at North Dakota State. The Penguins' previous wins over No. 1 were: 1997 at Villanova (37-34), 1993 vs. Georgia Southern (34-14) and 1991 at Nevada (30-28).

Three is Still Important
    YSU, which was 12-of-14 on field goals last year, has now made three straight this year after missing on its first two attempts earlier this season. The Penguins did not make a field goal in the first eight games before converting a 28-yard kick at UNI and two (33 and 30) at North Dakota State. The 30-yard kick by David Brown in the third quarter turned out to be the difference in the game.
    YSU was the last FCS team to make a field goal in 2011.

Second-Half Adjustments
    The Penguins have allowed 30 points in the second half of their last four MVFC games. Last Saturday, North Dakota State managed a field goal in the third quarter and was held scoreless in the fourth. In the week prior, UNI scored a fourth-quarter touchdown. Western Illinois scored touchdowns in the third and fourth quarters while Southern Illinois had a touchdown in the third quarter. NDSU had 21 in the first half, UNI had 14 and SIU had 21. WIU was held scoreless.

One of Four with 50 TDs
    YSU is one of four FCS schools to score 50-or-more touchdowns entering the final week of the regular season. Stony Brook leads the nation with 54, Sam Houston State is second with 53, YSU is third with 51 and Old Dominion is fourth with 50. The Penguins are one of 11 teams to score at least 360 points this season as well.

Senior Day Success
    The Penguins have won six of their last seven home finales to send their seniors off on a positive note. Since 2001, YSU is 8-2 in home finales, losing to Indiana State last year and Western Kentucky in 2003.
    Playing their final home games on Saturday are QB Marc Kanetsky, WR Ely Ducatel, WR Pat White, WR Andre Barboza, TE David Rogers, DE Obinna Ekweremuba, DE Daniel Stewart, DT Andrew Johnson, CB Josh Lee, FS Scott Sentner and LB John Sasson. LS Nate Schkurko is injured but will take part in ceremonies on Saturday.

Line Holding up Well
    Through 10 games, the YSU offensive line is allowing under a sack per game (0.80), which ranks 10th in the FCS. The Penguins rank ninth in fewest tackles for loss allowed per game (4.20). YSU has started the same line in nine of the 10 games. Redshirt freshman Eric Franklin started for D.J. Main against Western Illinois. Main has started the past two games. The other four - LT Andrew Radakovich, LG Lamar Mady, C Mark Pratt and RG Chris Elkins - have started all 10 games this year.

More Close Ones
    The Penguins' last six conference losses have come by a total of 25 points. The final three defeats of the 2010 season were by a total of 12 points while all three this season have been by a combined 13. This year, YSU has lost to Indiana State by two, UNI by four and South Dakota State by seven. The Guins' four MVFC wins have been by four, seven, 14 and 42 points.

Cook Remains Dependable
    Junior TB Jamaine Cook has rushed for 90 yards or more in each of the last nine games. Cook ran for 147 yards on a season-high-tying 33 carries at North Dakota State. His total was the most allowed by the Bison to a single player this year.
    This season, Cook has rushed for more than 100 yards on seven occasions and has gone over the century mark 13 times in his career.
    He has scored a rushing touchdown in each of the past six games and in seven contests this year. At NDSU, he had his second career touchdown reception.
    For the year, he has rushed for a career high in yards (1,282), carries (243) and touchdowns (13). In 2010, he rushed for 1,276 yards on 241 attempts.
    In the seven conference games, Cook has carried the ball 184 times for 918 yards and scored seven touchdowns. In the three non-conference games he carried the ball just 51 times. In league action he is averaging 26.2 carries and 131.1 yards per game.
    Cook ranks fifth in the FCS and second the MVFC in rushing averaging 128.2 yards per game.

Johnson Turns up the Heat
    Senior DT Andrew Johnson has registered a sack in five of the past six games. At North Dakota State, Johnson and Daniel Stewart wrapped up Brock Jensen for a 15-yard loss on a second-and-four play from the YSU 49 with just over six minutes left in the game.
    For the year, Johnson has 6.5 sacks for 51 yards in losses and 11 tackles for loss. His six sacks are the most since Harry Deligianis' school record 17 in 1997. Deligianis had seven in the regular season that year.
    As a team, YSU has 20 sacks and 51 tackles for loss. The 20 sacks are the most since the Penguins registered 28 in 2007.

Hess Continues to Impress
    Sophomore QB Kurt Hess is averaging 216.2 yards passing per game while completing 165-of-256 passes (64.5 percent) for 2,162 yards. His 21 touchdown passes are the most by a YSU quarterback in a regular season.
    Hess joins Mark Brungard (1994 and 1995) and Trenton Lykes (1986 and 1987) as the only quarterbacks in school history to pass for more than 2,000 yards in consecutive seasons.
    Hess threw for 2,117 yards last year as a redshirt freshman.
    Hess's best day this season was a 293-yard, four-touchdown effort against Illinois State. He also threw four touchdown passes against Western Illinois. He completed 20-of-24 passes for 237 yards and two touchdowns at NDSU.
    Twelve times in his 21 career games, Hess has thrown for more than 200 yards.
    He is one of three quarterbacks in school history to throw for at least 200 yards in 12 different games. The school mark is 13 by Tom Zetts during a four-year career that featured 47 starts while Ron Jaworski did it 12 times.

Bryan Breaking Records
    Freshman WR Christian Bryan has set YSU freshman records for season yards and receptions as well as game receptions and yards.
    Bryan has 41 receptions for 644 yards and five touchdowns. Bryan is averaging 64.4 yards per contest and 15.7 per catch.
    He set a freshman record for most receptions in a game with seven at Indiana State and set the mark for receiving yards with a 131-yard performance at Southern Illinois.
    His 41 receptions topped the previous freshman standard of 25 set by Renauld Ray while his 644 yards have bettered Ray's 507.
    Bryan has caught a touchdown pass in four of the past six games.

Top of the Liste
    Sophomore punter Nick Liste has been a key contributor as both punter and kickoff specialist this season.
    In the past two games, Liste has enjoyed punting in domes. At NDSU he had four punts for an average of 44 yards a kick, including a 53-yarder. At the UNI-Dome, he had one of the best games of his career averaging 45.7 yards per punt, including a season-long 54-yard boot. For his efforts at UNI he was named the MVFC Special Teams Player of the Week.
    Liste is averaging 39.9 yards per punt while 15 of his 47 attempts have been inside the opposition's 20-yard line. The coverage has been solid with 17 of his punts resulting in fair catches while the 18 that have been returned have resulted in a gain of 121 yards (6.7).
    He averaged 41.1 yards per kick last season, but the trade off was that 15 were returned for an average of 11.7 yards. He also had two kicks blocked. Through 10 games this year that has not been the case.

Offense High In FCS Ranks
    The Penguins rank in the top 20 in the FCS in 13 offensive categories.
    YSU is third in touchdowns scored; third in total offense; fifth in first downs per game; seventh in time of possession; seventh in fumbles lost; eighth in scoring offense; eighth in passing efficiency; ninth in fewest tackles for loss allowed; ninth in red-zone offense; 10th in rushing offense; 10th in fewest sacks allowed; 11th turnovers lost and 14th in fourth-down conversion percentage.

Impressive First Halves
    The Penguins have scored 250 of their 364 points (68.7 percent) in the first half this year. YSU has scored 118 points in the first quarter and 132 in the second quarter.
    The Penguins have scored a touchdown in every second quarter this year and all but four first quarters (SIU, Michigan State, UNI and NDSU). In 10 of the 20 periods, YSU has scored at least two touchdowns. The Penguins have scored 35 first-half touchdowns this season. Three times YSU has not punted in the first half - Illinois State, Valparaiso and Saint Francis.

Big League Wins
    YSU's last three MVFC wins have been by a combined total of 57 points (3 at North Dakota State, 42 vs. Western Illinois and 12 at Southern Illinois). In their 12 prior league games to the win at SIU, all of the Penguins' contests had been decided by a 10 points or less. During that 12-game run, the total margin of victory of all contests was 62 points.
    Dating back to November 2009, 12 of YSU's last 16 league games have been decided by a touchdown or less.

Penguin Sack Attack
    The Penguins have 20 sacks this season, smashing the total of 12 from a year ago.
    Eight different players have registered at least one sack this year, led by senior DT Andrew Johnson's 6.5. Senior DE Daniel Stewart has 4.5 while DE Obinna Ekweremuba has three and LB Davion Rogers has registered a pair.
    Johnson is the team's active career leader with 7.5 sacks. Stewart has 6.5 sacks and Ekweremuba has four.
    YSU has been credited with a sack in nine of 10 contests this year.

Preaching Red-Zone Success
    Head Coach Eric Wolford continues to stress Red Zone play in his second campaign. In 42 trips this year, the Penguins have scored 35 touchdowns and kicked three field goals. YSU was an impressive 5-of-6 against North Dakota State.
    In his 21 games as coach, the Penguins are 79-for-88 (89.8 percent) inside the red zone.
    Last year, YSU was 41-of-45 in the red zone, which ranked third in the FCS, for a conversion percentage of 91.1 percent.

Berassa A Playmaker
    Sophomore WR Jelani Berassa has been a key contributor throughout the season, but more specifically in MVFC games.
    In YSU's seven MVFC games, Berassa has 26 of his 30 receptions for 427 yards and six touchdowns. He is averaging 16.4 yards per catch and 61 yards per game.
    Berassa caught five passes for 97 yards and had a 12-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter.
    In league play, Berassa has touchdown catches against NDSU, Western Illinois, Indiana State (two), South Dakota State and Southern Illinois.

Youngsters at LB
    YSU has started three freshman linebackers the last seven contests. Redshirts Davion Rogers and Travis Williams along with true freshman Teven Williams have been key contributors early in their careers. Teven Williams leads the team with 63 total tackles, including 36 solo stops. Travis Williams ranks second with 56 stops and 29 solos. Rogers, who has blocked two kicks, has two sacks and an interception to go along with 43 tackles and 6.5 TFLs.

Milestone Update
    TB Jamaine Cook has eclipsed the 2,500-yard mark for rushing yards (2,669). TB Adaris Bellamy is 110 yards shy of 1,000. QB Kurt Hess has eclipsed the 4,000-yard mark for career passing yards (4,279). WR Jelani Berassa is over 500 yards (509), Cook has 410 yards receiving in his career on 46 all-time receptions. Sophomore P Nick Liste is two attempts shy of 90 punts.

Career Update
    TB Jamaine Cook ranks seventh in rushing yardage (2,669) and is 70 shy of sixth place. He is also 10th in all-purpose yards (3,693). QB Kurt Hess is fifth in completions (344). Hess is seventh in touchdown passes (33) and is two shy of sixth. He is eighth in passing yardage (4,279).
    Some streaks of note, Hess has a passing TD in 10 straight games. PK David Brown has made 33 straight extra points.

Defense Tough Against Run
    The Penguins held UNI to just 30 yards rushing on 27 attempts. It was the fewest yards rushing allowed in a game since holding Illinois State to 18 on 23 carries on Oct. 28, 2006 in Normal, Ill. YSU had three sacks for 23 yards in losses and totaled eight tackles for losses in the game.

Illinois Sweep
    For the first time since 2006, the Penguins won all three games against Illinois State, Southern Illinois and Western Illinois. That year YSU beat the Salukis at home and won the other two on the road. The Guins went on to knock off Illinois State at home during the playoffs.

Four-Takeaway Streak
    YSU forced a season-high four turnovers against Western Illinois. The Penguins had two interceptions and recovered two fumbles, which both came on mishandled punts. YSU has now won 18 straight games when it forces at least four turnovers. The last loss was against UNI in 2006. Since 2006, the Guins are 20-1 when they have at least four takeaways in a game.

Four-TD Scorers
    For the first time since 1979, YSU has had a quarterback throw four touchdown passes and a player score four rushing TDs in the same campaign. Jamaine Cook had four rushing touchdowns against Saint Francis (Pa.) while Kurt Hess threw four scoring passes against Illinois State and Western Illinois. In 1979, the Penguins' Keith Snoddy had four touchdown passes twice while Robby Robson had four TD rushes three times. In 1978, Snoddy tossed four TDs while Marschell Brumfield ran for four.

Since Carbondale
    Since the second half of the game against Southern Illinois, the Penguins have played some solid all-around football.
    In the last 18 quarters, YSU has outscored its opponents 177-88 while outgaining them 2,152 yards to 1,409.

Distributing the Ball
    YSU quarterbacks have completed passes to 15 different players so far this season. Eight wide receivers, four tight ends and three running backs have combined for 168 receptions so far this year.
    Of that group, only TE David Rogers and WRs Andre Barboza, Ely Ducatel and Pat White are seniors. YSU's leading receiver is freshman Christian Bryan with 41 catches. Sophomores Jelani Berassa (30) and Kevin Watts (23) have combined for 53 receptions. Barboza leads the seniors with 16.

Changes in Secondary
    The Penguins have had seven different starting secondaries this season. YSU did start four players in consecutive games against Western Illinois and UNI before changing the lineup at NDSU. Entering the season only Donald D'Alesio had starting experience, and he was lost for the season against Illinois State with a shoulder injury. Eight different players have started at some point during the season with two being seniors, two being junior-college transfers, two being sophomores and two being freshmen.

Single Digits in Fumbles
    The Guins have lost five fumbles (two on non offensive plays) after 10 games. YSU is trying to make it eight straight years of losing single digits in fumbles.
    In 2010, the Penguins lost nine fumbles. In 2009, YSU lost just three fumbles. In 2008, YSU lost nine in 12 games. YSU had nine fumbles lost in 2007, five in 2006, eight in 2005 and eight in 2004. Prior to the current seven-year streak, the Guins had committed single digits in fumbles lost in consecutive years just twice in school history (1986-87 and 1958-59).

Another QB With Four TDs
    Sophomore QB Kurt Hess is the eighth quarterback in school history to throw four touchdown passes in a game. He is just one of three players to do it twice in a career, joining Brandon Summers and Keith Snoddy.
    Hess tossed four touchdown passes against Western Illinois and Illinois State this year.
    In his 21-game career, he has 12 multi-touchdown pass performances. He has a touchdown pass in 16 games, including 10 straight.
    YSU has had five four-touchdown passing performances since 2005. Prior to that it had seven total in school history.

Block Party
    The Penguins have blocked four kicks - three PATs and one punt - and returned a punt for a touchdown and recovered a fumble punt for a score so far this season. It's the third time since 2001 that YSU has blocked four kicks in a season (2001 and 2004). The last time the Guins blocked at least five kicks was in 1996 when they blocked six.

No Seniors on the Line
    The Penguins have no seniors on the offensive line this year. The last time no seniors started on the line was in 1998.
    Since at least 1978, this is the first time no seniors at all were part of the offensive line. YSU starts four juniors and a sophomore.

Fresh Faces Again
    This season the Penguins have played a total of 21 redshirt, transfer or true freshmen. Of the players who have not redshirted or transferred after sitting out a year, four started (WR Christian Bryan, WR Andre Stubbs, CB Jimmy May Jr. and LB Teven Williams). Freshmen who were not with the program last year but have started include LT Eric Franklin, LB Travis Williams and LB Davion Rogers.
    Last year, a total of 13 freshmen saw the field, including five who started.
    Of the eight active players that are true sophomores, five are on offense and three are on defense. CB Donald D'Alesio, CB Jamarious Boatwright and C Zach Larson are redshirting because of injuries. Also, Stubbs was lost for the season against Illinois State.

Numbers of Note
• Turnover Margin: Since 1996, the Penguins are 102-22 when they win or tie in the turnover margin. When committing more turnovers, YSU is just 13-49.
Since 1990 YSU is:
• 131-18-2 when holding opponents to fewer than 21 points in a game.
• 106-11 when rushing for 200-plus yards.
• 126-19 when scoring 28-or-more points.
• 66-7-1 when holding opponents to fewer than 100 yards rushing in a game.
• 154-9 when leading entering the fourth.
• 68-3-2 when holding opponents to 10 points-or-less in a game.

Up Next: TBA
    YSU is among a group of teams fighting to make the FCS playoffs. With a win, the Guins become playoff eligible with seven Division I wins. The selections will be announced on Sunday, Nov. 20, at 10 a.m. on ESPNU.