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Youngstown, Ohio – Senior Adaris Bellamy ran for career-high 203 yards on 17 carries, and the Penguins' defense made big plays at critical times to lead the Youngstown State football team to a 28-10 season-opening win over a gritty Dayton squad on Saturday evening at Stambaugh Stadium.
The Penguins (1-0) have now won 18 straight home openers and defeated Dayton (0-1) for the first time in school history.
Senior Kurt Hess, who was 9-for-19 for 73 yards, moved into second in YSU history with 551 completions and third all-time with 889 pass attempts.
Senior Torrian Pace scored two rushing touchdowns from two and eight yards and ran for 47 yards on 11 carries.
The Penguins defense played with moxy the entire game, allowing just 75 yards on the ground and gave up just 10 points despite four YSU turnovers. The defensive unit forced the Flyers to punt eight times and had two interceptions, two sacks and five tackles-for-losses.
Despite four turnovers, the Penguins offense racked up 440 yards in total offense, including 367 rushing yards.
Much of the second half, the Flyers seemed to hold the momentum. But midway through the fourth quarter, the Penguins were able to deflate their sails. Leading 21-10 and with the ball at the YSU 17, Bellamy, who had rushes of 29, 22 and 17 earlier in the game, exploded for a career-long 80-yard jaunt on 3rd-and-1 down to the Dayton three. On the next play, freshman Martin Ruiz scored from three-yards out at the 6:58 mark to seal the victory for the Penguins.
Dayton trailed 21-3 late in the third after a Bellamy three-run touchdown but got within 11 on a nifty rollout by Will Bardo, who hit Robert Washington on a 19-yard touchdown pass to cut the deficit to 21-10 with 2:27 to go in the third.
On the next possession, UD's Matt Bianco intercepted Hess and returned it 36 yards to the YSU 12 yard line. The Flyers had four chances from the Penguins' one-yard line before YSU senior linebacker Ali Cheaib intercepted Bardo's fourth-down pass on the third play of the fourth quarter.
YSU went 75 yards in 15 plays on the first possession of the game to take a 7-0 lead on Pace's two-yard plunge with 8:21 left in the first. The Flyers stingy defense limited the Penguins to just 82 yards over the next four possessions as the Penguins punted three times and committed a turnover.
The Penguins' defense was just as impressive allowing just 77 total yards in the first half, including just 27 rushing yards. In the first quarter alone, the Penguins limited the Flyers to just 21 total yards, including a mere six yards on the ground.
On the Penguins' first score, the Flyers forced the YSU into three third downs, but each time the Penguins converted. Hess completed a 13-yard pass to Marcel Caver on 3rd-and-7; Adaris Bellamy rushed for five yards on 3rd-and-3; and Hess connected with Andrew Williams for nine yards on 3rd-and-4 to extend the drive and set up Pace's first touchdown of the season.
Late in the second quarter, sophomore Andre Stubbs electrified the Stambaugh Stadium crowd with a dazzling, cross-field 60-yard sprint to the Dayton 22 yard line. Three plays later, Pace rumbled in from eight yards for his second touchdown and put the Penguins ahead, 14-0, with 2:33 left in the half.
Midway through the second quarter, the Flyers moved the ball 54 yards to the YSU 26 before Jamarious Boatwright intercepted a Bardo pass at the Penguins' 15 yardline. The Penguins went three-and-out and the Flyers regained possession at their own 14 with 7:16 left.
The Flyers capitalized on a YSU fumbled punt to cut the Penguins' lead to 14-3 after a William Will 37-yard field goal with 9:19 left in the third.
The Penguins responded swiftly going 68 yard in nine plays capped by three-yard touchdown run by Bellamy, who ran for 56 yards on the drive, to take a 21-3 lead at the 6:08 mark of the third.
The Penguins host Morehead State, Saturday, Sept. 7, at Stambaugh Stadium. Kickoff is slated for 4 p.m.