Veteran Players Wrap Up Impressive Careers at Youngstown State

2018 YSU Football season recap
2018 YSU Football season recap

The Youngstown State football team finished with a 4-7 overall mark while posting a 3-5 record in Missouri Valley Football Conference play in 2018. The Penguins earned wins over UNI, Southern Illinois, South Dakota and Valparaiso during the year and played three FCS playoff teams and West Virginia, who finished third in the Big 12 Conference.

Highlighting the campaign were performances by a group of veteran players who had successful careers in a YSU uniform.

  • Senior linebacker Armand Dellovade was a four-time All-MVFC selection, earning second-team honors on three occasions. Dellovade had 102 tackles in just 11 games in 2018, averaging 9.3 tackles per contest. In 49 career contests, Dellovade was in the starting lineup on 47 occasions. His only two non starts were the first game of his career at Pittsburgh in 2015 and later in the year when the Guins started six defensive backs vs. Missouri State. He had 337 total tackles in his career, including 198 solo stops. He finished 12th in school history in career stops and had the most tackles by any YSU player since 2000.
  • Senior tailback Tevin McCaster was a two-time first-team All-MVFC pick. He is the first YSU tailback since P.J. Mays in 2001-02 to earn first-team All-MVFC honors in consecutive seasons. McCaster rushed for a career-high 1,235 yards on 269 carries in 2018. He had seven 100-yard rushing games. For his career, he rushed for 2,970 yards on 626 attempts and scored 36 touchdowns in 42 games played. He ranked seventh in career rushing attempts, seventh in rushing touchdowns and ninth in rushing yards in school history. For his career, he had 12 100-yard rushing games.
  • Senior Gavin Wiggins started all 42 games of his YSU career on the offensive line. Wiggins' first start came at Western Illinois in 2015 and he was in the lineup for each game over the next three-plus seasons. Senior center Vitas Hrynkiewicz started all 38 games in his Penguin career. He was in the starting lineup every game the past three seasons.
  • YSU's specialist grouping of PK Zak Kennedy, P Mark Schuler, LS Steven Wethli all wrapped up their impressive careers. Wethli was a four-year starter and snapped on 472 kicking attempts in his career. Kennedy ended his YSU career with 302 points, making 54-of-80 field-goal attempts and 140-of-143 extra-point tries. Only Jeff Wilkins made more field goals and scored more points as a kicker in school history than Kennedy. Kennedy, who appeared in 47 games, made his final 75 PAT kicks of his career, a school record. Schuler, who played in 36 games, wrapped up an impressive three-year career by averaging 40.9 yards per punt on 160 attempts. Schuler's career average ranks third in school history.
  • In his lone campaign with the program, QB Montgomery VanGorder started 10 games for the Penguins. VanGorder completed 149-of-277 points for 1,934 yards and 14 touchdowns. The 14 touchdown passes were the most by a YSU quarterback since 2014. He had five 200-yard passing efforts.
  • Senior defenive tackle Savon Smith finished his career with 109 total tackles, including 70 stops. Smith played in 43 games in his YSU career.
  • Other seniors who played more than 30 games in their careers - Avery Larkin (44), Johnson Louigene (38), Curtis Parks (37), Donovan McWilson (36), Lamont Ragland (32) and Chrispin Lee (30). 

2018 Team Notes

  • YSU's 31-10 win over UNI on Nov. 10 was the second-biggest win in the series, trailing only a 29-0 Penguin victory over the Panthers back in 1979.
  • YSU passed for more than 2,000 yards for the 11th consecutive season.
  • YSU's defensive line started just five players during the year while three started all 11 games. Johnson Louigene, Shereif Bynum and Savon Smith started all 11 games while Wesley Thompson started 10 times. The only non start by Thompson came vs. UNI as the Penguins started senior Lamont Ragland on the line in his final career home game.
  • Players who started all 11 games were: Louigene, Smith, Bynum, Dellovade, Bryce Gibson, DJ Smalls, Connor Sharp, Wiggins and Hrynkiewicz.
  • QB Montgomery VanGorder set YSU single-game passing records for most completions, attempts and yards at Western Illinois on Sept. 29.
  • Numbers of Note: 11 different players caught touchdown passes, 16 players had receptions, YSU was dominant with a time of possession of 32:22.
  • YSU had more than 400 yards of total offense and rushed for more than 191 yards on six occasions.
  • YSU had seven 200-plus yard passing efforts for the year as well while throwing a touchdown pass in 10 of 11 contests.
  • YSU held four league opponents to 105-or-fewer yards passing on the year. The unit combined for 38 pass breakups on the campaign.
  • Three times YSU held an opponent to under 100 yards rushing or passing.