The Youngstown State football team continued its home offensive onslaught in earning a 44-30 victory over Illinois State in front of a crowd of 19,171 at Stambaugh Stadium on Saturday.
The Penguins, who improve to 6-1 overall and 3-1 in the Gateway Football Conference, have scored more than 40 points in four straight home games, only the second time in school history they have accomplished the feat.
P.J. Mays scored twice, place kicker Jake Stewart kicked two field goals, Jeff Ryan had a touchdown run and Jerald Burley caught a sensational 33-yard touchdown pass and returned a punt 77 yards for a touchdown. YSU also picked up two points when ISU's punt team snapped through the back of the end zone.
Burley's punt return for a touchdown was the first for the Penguins since Dave Roberts scored on Dec. 12, 1992.
The Penguins looked to have control of the game leading 37-23 in the fourth, but ISU answered Burley's punt return with a five-yard pass from Dusty Burk to Mark Schaeve with 11:13 remaining to cut the deficit to 37-30.
On YSU's ensuing possession, Ryan got knocked out the game on a first-down play and backup Colby Street took over the offense. Street marched YSU on a 10-play 75-yard drive that culminated on a 13-yard run by Mays with 6:42 to seal the victory, YSU's second straight over ISU and helps even the series at 5-5.
Street finished as YSU's leading rusher with 66 yards, while Mays had 65 on 20 carries. For the game, the Penguins finished with 371 yards of total offense while the Redbirds had 266. YSU had it's most balanced game of the season with 194 yards rushing and 177 yards passing.
The Penguins, who improved to 46-14-1 on Homecoming and have won 10 straight Homecoming contests, play host to Western Kentucky in a key Gateway Conference game next Saturday. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.