Football

 
October 25, 2011

Penguins Face Western Illinois in Homecoming Tilt

Game Notes vs. Western Illinois | Coach Wolford Video | QB Kurt Hess Video | LB Teven Williams Video

   The Youngstown State football team looks to extend its modest two-game winning streak on Saturday in the annual Homecoming Game against Western Illinois. Kickoff for the contest is set for 1 p.m. at Stambaugh Stadium and will be carried live on 570 WKBN and tape delay by MyYTV in Youngstown.
   YSU (4-3 overall and 2-2 in the MVFC) is coming off a 49-23 non-conference victory over Saint Francis (Pa.). Jamaine Cook rushed for four first-half scores as Youngstown State built a 42-3 halftime lead before going on to earn the win.
   Cook had scoring runs of one and four yards in the first quarter and eight and 26 in the second quarter while Adaris Bellamy had a five-yard score and Kurt Hess connected on a 19-yard toss Christian Bryan for YSU's six first-half touchdowns. Jordan Thompson added a school-record-tying 95-yard touchdown run put the game away in the fourth quarter.
    The Penguins amassed 646 yards of total offense, including 450 on 49 rushing attempts.
Western Illinois (2-5 and 1-3) comes to Youngstown following a disappointing 31-17 loss to Missouri State. The Leathernecks were marching for the potential game-tying score late in the fourth quarter before MSU returned an interception 91 yards for a touchdown.
    WIU's Larry Patterson returned the opening kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown and in the third quarter had 38-yard scoring grab which tied the contest at 17. Missouri State took a 24-17 lead late in the third before WIU moved the ball deep in Bear territory late in the game.
The Penguins had a six-game series winning streak snapped last year dropping a 40-38 decision in Macomb. Youngstown State holds a 15-11 lead in the all-time series with the Penguins winning eight of the 11 contests played in Youngstown.
    The series has featured its share of high-scoring games of late. YSU has scored 30-or-more point in the last five games while the Leathernecks have scored 21-plus points in six consecutive contests.
    Of the 26 all-time matchups, nine have been decided by a touchdown or less while six have been of the four-points-or-less variety.
    YSU travels to Cedar Falls, Iowa, to face No. 2 UNI on Nov. 5.

Saint Francis (Pa.) Notes
• YSU scored 28-or-more points for the sixth consecutive game.
• YSU has gained at least 400 yards in each of the past six games after out-yarding SFU 646-410 in the contest.
• The 646 yards of total offense ranks as the second most in school history behind the 657 earlier this year against Valparaiso.
• Junior FS Sir Aaron Taylor had the first interception of his career in the second quarter.
• Senior DT Andrew Johnson recorded a sack for the third consecutive game.
• TB Jordan Thompson's 95-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter tied the school record for longest run by a Penguin. Marcus Mason scored on a 95-yard run at Western Illinois in 2006.
• Junior TB Jamaine Cook eclipsed the 100-yard mark for the sixth time this season and 12th time in his career.
• Sophomore QB Kurt Hess threw a touchdown pass in his seventh consecutive game. However, his streak of passing for more than 200 yards in a game was snapped at five.
• Freshman WR Christian Bryan has caught a touchdown pass in three consecutive games.
• Senior QB Marc Kanetsky completed his first passes of the year and first since his freshman campaign against Southern Illinois (Oct. 18, 2008).
• Junior TB Jamaine Cook became the first Penguin since P.J. Mays (at Indiana State on Oct. 6, 2001) to rush for four touchdowns in a game.
• The Penguins scored six touchdowns on seven first half possessions.
• Nine players had receptions while eight had rushing attempts.

SFU Recap: YSU 49, SFU 23
    Jamaine Cook rushed for four first-half scores as Youngstown State built a 42-3 halftime lead before going on to beat Saint Francis (Pa.) 49-23 in the first meeting since 1953 between the programs.
    Cook had scoring runs of one and four yards in the first quarter and eight and 26 in the second quarter while Adaris Bellamy had a five-yard score and Kurt Hess connected on a 19-yard toss Christian Bryan for YSU's six first-half touchdowns.
    In the third quarter, Saint Francis scored two touchdowns to get within 42-16, but Jordan Thompson's school-record-tying 95-yard touchdown run put the game away.
    The Penguins amassed 646 yards of total offense, including 450 yards rushing on 49 attempts.
    Cook finished with 162 yards on 19 carries while Thompson had 135 and Torrian Pace finished with 81 on 15 attempts.

WIU Scouting Report
    Western Illinois comes to Youngstown following a disappointing 31-17 loss to Missouri State. The Leathernecks were marching for the potential game-tying score late in the fourth quarter before MSU returned an interception 91 yards for a touchdown.
    WIU's Larry Patterson returned the opening kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown and in the third quarter caught a 38-yard touchdown pass to tie the contest at 17.
    Missouri State took a 24-17 lead late in the third quarter before Western moved the ball deep in Bear territory late in the game. The interception was the fifth turnover of the contest for the Leathernecks, who are 2-5 overall and 1-3 in the MVFC.
    WIU has wins this season over Jacksonville (35-21) and Southern Illinois (27-21).
    
Last Year Recap
    In a contest that featured nine lead changes, the final one went to Western Illinois as the Penguins dropped a tough 40-38 decision to the Leathernecks.
    YSU led 24-14 at halftime, only to trail 28-24 late in the third quarter. Adaris Bellamy's third touchdown run of the game put YSU ahead 31-28 with 57 seconds left in the quarter.
    On the first play of the fourth quarter, WIU went on top 34-31, but the Guins fought back to lead 38-34 on a five-yard touchdown run by Jamaine Cook with 5:27 remaining.
    The YSU defense held, but on third-and-four from the YSU 44, Cook was stopped for a loss with 2:22 left.
    WIU moved 80 yards in seven plays and took the lead for good when Matt Barr hit Lito Senatus on a 17-yard score with 1:00 left. Barr and Senatus hooked up on the final three plays of the drive.
    Any final YSU comeback hopes ended when Kurt Hess's pass to Kevin Watts was incomplete on fourth down.

Series History
    The Penguins had a six-game series winning streak snapped last year dropping a 40-38 decision in Macomb. That game featured nine lead changes with the last coming on a WIU touchdown with 1:00 remaining.
    Youngstown State holds a 15-11 lead in the all-time series with the Penguins winning eight of the 11 contests played in Youngstown.
    The series has featured its share of high-scoring games of late. YSU has scored 30-or-more point in the last five games while the Leathernecks have scored 21-plus points in six consecutive contests.
    Of the 26 all-time matchups, nine have been decided by a touchdown or less while six have been of the four-points-or-less variety.

Cook Remains Dependable
    Junior TB Jamaine Cook has rushed for more than 100 yards in the past six games following the 12th 100-yard rushing performance of his career against Saint Francis (Pa.).
    In one half of work, Cook had 162 yards on 19 carries and scored a career-high four touchdowns.
    For the year, he has rushed for 949 yards on 164 carries and scored a career-high 10 touchdowns with four regular-season games remaining.
    In the four conference games, Cook has carried the ball 115 times for 585 yards and scored four touchdowns. In the three non-conference games he carried the ball just 51 times. In four league games he is averaging 28.8 carries and 146.3 yards per game.
    Cook ranks second in the FCS and the MVFC in rushing averaging 135.6 per game, trailing Indiana State's Shakir Bell (156.0 yards).

28-or-More Points
    YSU has scored 28-or-more points in six consecutive games. The last time the Penguins scored that many points in consecutive games was a seven-contest stretch during the 1989 season. YSU has scored 77, 34, 35, 28, 35 and 49 after scoring six in the opener at Michigan State.

Eclipsing 400 Yards Rushing
    The Penguins rushed for 450 yards on 49 attempts in the win over Saint Francis (Pa.). It marked the second time this year that YSU rushed for at least 450 yards in a game. Earlier this year, the Penguins gained 453 yards against Valparaiso. Entering the season, YSU had rushed for more than 400 yards in a game on five occasions, the most recent in 2001. The 453 against Valpo is the second most in school history while the 450 against Saint Francis ranks fourth.

Four-TD Scorers
    For the first time since 1979, YSU has 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. 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 Marchell Brumfield ran for four.

Homecoming Turnaround
    The Penguins will be looking to stop a trend of losing on their Homecoming. YSU has dropped five straight and seven of its last eight Homecoming contests. The Guins' lone Homecoming win since 2003 was a victory over Missouri State in 2005 (31-7). All-time in Homecoming games, the Penguins are 47-21-1, including 19-10 at Stambaugh Stadium.

Cook Ties Century Mark
    Jamaine Cook has rushed for more than 100 yards in a school-record tying six straight games. Cook joins Marcus Mason (2006) as the only two Penguins to rush for more than 100 in six consecutive contests. Mason rushed for more than 100 yards 10 times in 14 games that season. Shawn Patton (1994) and Tamron Smith (1991) each went over the century mark nine times in the same campaign (including postseason games). His season low is 76 yards at Michigan State, but that is the second-highest total against the Spartans this year.

Biggest Margin of Victory
    The 12-point win at Southern Illinois snapped YSU's streak of 12 consecutive MVFC games played within 10 points or fewer. Ironically the last time YSU played a game decided by 10-points-or-more was also a 12-point win (30-18 over Illinois State in 2009).
    Dating back to November 2009, YSU has played 10 of 13 league games decided by a touchdown or less.

Bryan Breaking Records
    Freshman WR Christian Bryan has set YSU freshman records for season receptions and game receptions and yards this year.
    In his first seven games as a Penguin, Bryan has caught 33 passes for 493 yards and four touchdowns. Bryan is averaging 70.4 yards per contest and 14.9 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 33 catches are already more than YSU's top receiver had in six of the past 15 seasons. His mark for receptions, topped the previous mark of 25 set by Renauld Ray. The record for yardage is 507 (also by Ray), and Bryan sits just 14 behind.
    Bryan has caught a touchdown pass in three straight games after a 19-yard score against Saint Francis (Pa.).

Johnson Turns Up the Heat
    Senior DT Andrew Johnson has a sack in three consecutive games. Johnson had a sack for a 13-yard loss against Saint Francis (Pa.). Previously he had a sack at Southern Illinois and two against South Dakota State.
    The last time a Penguin had a sack in three consecutive games prior to Johnson was Jeff Koval, who had at least a half-sack in four straight in 2006.

Hess Continues to Impress
    Sophomore QB Kurt Hess is averaging 218.0 yards passing per game while completing 120-of-187 passes (64.2 percent) for 1,526 yards. He has thrown 14 touchdown passes for the year. The school record for most in a regular season is 18.
    In conference play, Hess has completed 80-of-125 passes (64 percent) for 1,024 yards (256 yards average).
    Hess's best day this season was a 293-yard, four-touchdown effort against Illinois State.
    Against Saint Francis, Hess completed 11-of-14 passes for 172 yards and a touchdown. It was the seventh straight game in which he has thrown a touchdown pass.
    Ten times in his 18 games, Hess has thrown for more than 200 yards in a game.
    He is one of five quarterbacks in school history to throw for at least 200 yards in 10 different games. The school mark is 13 by Tom Zetts during a four-year career that featured 47 starts. Ron Jaworski did it 12 times while Mark Brungard and Trenton Lykes each did it 10.
    In his career, Hess has completed 299-of-491 passes for 3,643 yards and 26 touchdowns.

New Line Holding up Well
    Through the seven games, the YSU offensive line is allowing under a sack per game, which ranks 13th in the FCS. The Penguins rank seventh in fewest tackles for loss allowed per game (4.14). The same unit has started each contest together -  LT Andrew Radakovich, LG Lamar Mady, C Mark Pratt, RG Chris Elkins and RT D.J. Main.

Offense High In FCS Ranks
    The Penguins rank in the top 20 in the FCS in 12 offensive categories. YSU is first in first downs per game; third in scoring offense and total offense; fifth in rushing offense; seventh in fewest tackle for losses allowed; 10th in fourth-down conversion percentage; 11th in turnovers lost; 13th in time of possession and fewest sacks allowed; 18th in passing efficiency; 20th in third-down conversion pct. and fewest fumbles lost.

Impressive First Halves
    The Penguins have scored 181 of their 264 points (68.5 percent) in the first half this year. YSU has scored 84 points in the first quarter and 97 in the second quarter.
    The Penguins have scored in every second quarter this year and all but two first quarters (SIU and Michigan State.)
    YSU did not punt in the first half against Illinois State, Valparaiso and Saint Francis. Against the Redbirds, YSU scored touchdowns on each of its four first-half scoring drives. In the Valpo game, YSU scored on its first nine possessions and took a knee to end the opening half. The Penguins had scores on six of seven possessions against SFU with a turnover.

More Sacks Already
    The Penguins have 14 sacks through seven games. Last year, YSU had 12 in 11 games. Senior DT Andrew Johnson leads the way in that category with five sacks while Daniel Stewart has 2.5 and LB Davion Rogers has a pair.
    Each member of the starting defensive line -- Stewart, Johnson, Aronde Stanton and Obinna Ekweremuba - has recorded at least one sack.
    Johnson is the active leader with six career sacks. Stewart has 4.5 and Ekweremuba has two.
    In seven games, YSU has been credited with a sack in six contests.

Preaching Red-Zone Success
    Head Coach Eric Wolford continues to stress Red Zone play in his second campaign. In 30 trips this year, the Penguins have scored 26 touchdowns. YSU went 5-for-7 against Saint Francis, marking just the second time in the last two years they had two scoreless red-zone visits in a game. YSU missed a field goal (at Michigan State) and was held on downs late in the game against South Dakota State.
    In his 18 games as coach, the Penguins are 67-for-75 (89.3 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.

Now We're Cooking
    Junior TB Jamaine Cook, who is on the Watch List for the Walter Payton Award, is making a good candidacy for the award averaging 135.6 yards and 23.4 carries per contest. He is averaging 5.8 yards per rush and scored a career-best 10 touchdowns. He is second in the FCS in yards per game average.
    For his career, Cook has rushed for 2,336 yards on 425 carries and scored 21 touchdowns while averaging 5.3 yards per carry. He also has 37 receptions for 335 yards.
    Cook, a second-team All-MVFC selection in 2010, has rushed for more than 100 yards on 12 occasions in his career.

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.

Milestone/Career Update
    Junior TB Jamaine Cook needs 51 yards to rush for 1,000 yards for the second consecutive season. His 2,336 career yards rank him 12th in school history. Cook has 3,285 all-purpose yards, which rank him 13th in school history. Sophomore QB Kurt Hess's next completion will be the 300th of his YSU career.  Hess is at 3,643 and has 26-touchdown passes. He ranks 10th in school history in career touchdown passes. Some streaks of note, Hess has a passing TD in seven straight games. Cook has rushed for 100 yards in six consecutive contests. David Brown has made 20 straight extra points.

Youngsters at LB
    YSU has started three freshmen linebackers the last four contests. Redshirts Davion Rogers and Travis Williams along with true freshman Teven Williams were all in the starting lineup. The trio combined for 24 tackles at Southern Illinois and had 22 stops against South Dakota State. Travis Williams had 11 at SIU, while Teven Williams had 10 tackles versus SDSU. In limited action against Saint Francis, all three players had three tackles.

Barboza More than TDs
    Senior WR Andre Barboza has 15 receptions on the year, including 14 in the past five contests. He had a career-high six catches against South Dakota State. For the year, he has 208 yards and three touchdowns.
    In 2010, he had three total receptions for the entire season. This year he has that many touchdown catches.

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 122 receptions so far this year.
    Of that group, only TE David Rogers and WRs Andre Barboza, Ely Ducatel and Pat White are seniors. The trio has combined for 25 receptions. YSU's leading receiver is freshman Christian Bryan with 33 catches. Sophomores Jelani Berassa (21) and Kevin Watts (13) have combined for 34 receptions. Barboza leads the seniors with 15.

Berassa A Playmaker
    Sophomore WR Jelani Berassa has been a key contributor in conference games.
    In the four MVFC games, Berassa has 17 receptions for 234 yards and four touchdowns.   He had two scoring catches against Indiana State. He is averaging 13.7 yards per catch and 58.5 yards per game.
    He had four catches for 62 yards and a touchdown at Southern Illinois.
    For the season he has 21 catches so four came in the three non-conference games.

Changes in Secondary
    The Penguins have had five different starting secondaries in the seven games. 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.

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 accomplished the feat against Illinois State. Hess had scoring throws of 44, 25 20 and 10 in the game.
    It was the first time a YSU quarterback threw four in a single game since Brandon Summers against Austin Peay in 2009.
    In his 18-game career, he has 10 multi-touchdown pass performances. He has a touchdown pass in 13 games.
    YSU has had four four-touchdown passing performances since 2005. Prior to that it had seven total in school history.

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 started last week include CB Devont'a Davis, 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.

Top of the Liste
    Sophomore punter Nick Liste has been a key contributor as both punter and kickoff specialist this season.
    Liste is averaging 38.3 yards per punt while nine of his 31 attempts have been inside the opposition's 20-yard line. The coverage has been solid with 13 of his punts resulting in fair catches while the 10 that have been returned have resulted in a gain of 75 yards.
    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.

Rogers with a Pick Six
    Freshman LB Davion Rogers returned his first career interception for a touchdown against South Dakota State. In the third quarter, Rogers returned an interception 27 yards for a score, which put the Penguins in front 28-21. It was the first interception return for a touchdown since Na'eem Outler's 37-yard return at Indiana State in 2009.

Lee with Two Scores
    Senior CB Josh Lee set a school and conference record with his 96-yard punt return for a touchdown in the second quarter against Valparaiso. It was the second straight season that a Penguin returned a punt for a touchdown in the home opener (Dominique Barnes returned one 80 yards vs. Butler).
    He scored the second touchdown of his career at Southern Illinois. Late in the fourth quarter, he pounced on a fumbled punt in the end zone to put the game away.

Wolford in Second Year
    Head Coach Eric Wolford is in his second season looking to build on last year's three-win campaign. Historically, the second years of head coaches have gone either way.
    Here is a look at the previous five coaches and how they fared their first two years: Coach Dwight Beede won four games in each of his first two seasons; Rey Dempsey improved from four to eight; Bill Narduzzi went from five to four, Jim Tressel went from two to eight and Jon Heacock went from eight to seven.

Eight is Enough
    The last three times the Penguins dropped eight games in one campaign, they rebounded strong the next year.
    YSU is 4-3 in 2011 surpassing the win total of a hard-luck 3-8 season last year. Most recently, the Guins lost eight times in 1995 and rebounded to win eight in 1996.
    In 1986 (Coach Jim Tressel's first season), YSU suffered nine defeats but regrouped to win eight games and reach the postseason in 1987. In 1980, YSU was 2-8-1 and rebounded with a 7-4 mark the following year.
    The only time YSU did not win at least seven games in the immediate year following an eight or nine-loss season was following the lone winless campaign in school history (0-9 in 1970). The Guins won twice in 1971.

Single Digits in Fumbles
    The Guins have lost four fumbles (two on non offensive plays) after seven games.
    Last year, YSU lost just nine fumbles marking the seventh straight season they have lost single digits in 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).

Numbers of Note
• Turnover Margin: Since 1996, the Penguins are 100-22 when they win or tie in the turnover margin. When committing more turnovers, YSU is just 13-48.
Since 1990 YSU is:
• 130-18-2 when holding opponents to fewer than 21 points in a game.
• 104-11 when rushing for 200-plus yards.
• 125-19 when scoring 28-or-more points.
• 66-6-1 when holding opponents to fewer than 100 yards rushing in a game.
• 152-9 when leading entering the fourth.
• 68-3-2 when holding opponents to 10 points-or-less in a game.

Up Next: at UNI
    YSU opens November with a road trip to second-ranked UNI. Kickoff for the contest at the UNI-Dome is set for 5 p.m. Eastern/4 p.m. Central time.