April 5, 2014

Quarterbacks Show Progress In First Major Spring Scrimmage

The Youngstown State football team held its first major full scrimmage of the spring on Saturday morning at Stambaugh Stadium. After the first two weeks of spring drills, the quarterbacks have made strides while the Penguins continue to improve in all aspects.

On Saturday, Dante Nania and Ricky Davis had solid performances combining to complete 12-of-19 passes for 189 yards and two touchdowns. Nania was 4-of-8 for 78 yards and a touchdown while Davis went 8-of-11 for 111 yards. None of the four quarterbacks turned the ball over in 30 attempts.

Nania came out with the first-team to open the workout and promptly connected on a 31-yard toss to Jelani Berassa. Davis took over and hit Christian Bryan for a 15-yard gain before finding Berassa for nine yards on a third-and-6 play.

The Penguins then went through Red-Zone situations for the next six series. The offense scored three touchdowns while the defense snuffed out the drive on three occasions.

The defense held the first time, but Tanner Garry tossed a perfect fade to Andrew Williams for a two-yard score on fourth-and-goal. After taking eight plays to find paydirt, the offense came back and scored in two snaps as Davis threw a 12-yard pass to Andre Stubbs before Martiz Ruiz scored on a 12-yard rush.

The defense followed with a three-and-out, but the offense came right back Nania found tight end Jacob Wood on a perfect 20-yard toss. The defense closed out the situation with a three-and-out.

YSU spent a good portion of the workout on the moving-the-ball segment. Highlighting that section of practice was a 16-yard scramble by Davis, an 11-yard pass from Nania to Berassa, two sacks by Terrell Williams, a 16-yard pass from Davis to Williams, an 11-yard toss from Garry to Caver, a 16-yard pass from Nania to Berassa on a third-and-13, nine defensive stops on third down and a defense stop on fourth-and-two.

Davis engineered a nice 50-yard, eight-play drive for a touchdown. Facing a third-and-17, Davis had a perfect back shoulder throw to Berassa to pick up 32 yards. On third-and-12, Davis avoided pressure and found Jody Webb for a 22-yard gain down to the six-yard line. After Demond Hymes picked up four yards, Davis had a nice keeper for a two-yard score.

Berassa had five grabs for 99 yards while Williams caught three passes and Marcel Caver had a pair of catches. Ruiz had four rushes for 23 yards to lead the ball carries. Excluded plays that were stopped for touch sacks, YSU ran the ball 31 times showing some pretty solid balance during the workout.

YSU went through 10 third-down situations near the end of the practice. After allowing a first down on the first snap, a third-and-1, the defense stopped the offense on the final nine plays.

The last portion of practice was spent on the four-minute offense vs. defense.

The Penguins continue spring practice on Tuesday afternoon.