The Youngstown State football team will be looking for its first road win of the season when the Penguins travel to Terre Haute, Ind., to play Indiana State on Saturday. Kickoff for the Gateway Football Conference's television game of the week is set for 2:37 p.m. Eastern Time.
YSU (3-1 overall and 1-1 in the Gateway) will be looking to bounce back following a disappointing 30-11 loss at Northern Iowa last weekend. The Penguins have not lost consecutive games since losing three straight in November 1998. Indiana State (1-3 and 0-0) begins its Gateway season following a 31-13 defeat in its home opener against Stephen F. Austin on Saturday.
Since Nov. 14, 1998, the Penguins have lost seven times and following those losses have come back with a strong performance to earn a victory. Against the Sycamores, YSU has had success winning nine of 10 meetings and is 5-0 at Memorial Stadium in Terre Haute. Of those five games, three have been decided by six points or less. Last year, the Penguins beat ISU 42-7 at Stambaugh Stadium after losing their first game of the 2000 campaign the week before.
At Northern Iowa last Saturday, Youngstown State allowed the Panthers to gain 414 total offensive yards, 300 on the ground. YSU trailed 30-3 early in the fourth quarter before scoring a touchdown and a two-point conversion for the final margin.
In the contest, YSU quarterback Jeff Ryan accounted for 237 yards leaving him seven yards shy of the school record for career total offensive yardage. Ryan trails for YSU quarterback Mark Brungard (1992-95) who finished his career with 6,932 yards. Ryan has accounted for 6,925 yards in his four years as the Penguins' signal-caller.
Last Game Recap: Panthers 30, Penguins 11
The Youngstown State football team lost its first game of the 2001 season losing 30-11 at Northern Iowa in the UNI Dome on Sept. 29. The Penguins never led in the contest and eventually trailed 30-3 early in the fourth quarter. Northern Iowa took the opening drive of the game and marched down the field to take a 3-0 lead on a 37-yard field goal by Mac Hoambrecker. Late in the first quarter, UNI quarterback Tom Petrie threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Marlus Mays giving the Panthers a 10-0 advantage. In the second quarter, Jake Stewart kicked a career-long 49-yard field goal with 6:30 left to cut the deficit to 10-3 at halftime. In the third quarter, Ken Harris returned a fumbled pitch from Jeff Ryan to Darius Peterson 23 yards for a touchdown and Richard Carter scored on a four-yard run. On the second play of the fourth quarter, Adam Benge scored on a two-yard run to put UNI ahead 30-3. YSU scored its only touchdown of the game on a five-yard pass from Jeff Ryan to Jerald Burley and converted the two-point conversion to make the final 30-11.
Game Notes: YSU committed five turnovers in a game for the second time this season. Through four games, YSU has committed 13 turnovers, the most in four games to open a year since committing 13 in 1988. YSU's last successful two-point conversion was against Florida A&M on Dec. 11, 1999 in the NCAA Division I-AA semifinals. LeVar Greene intercepted a pass for the third consecutive game. He now has 11 interceptions in his career. In losing by 19 points, it was YSU's worst Gateway loss since losing by 34 at Illinois State on Nov. 14, 1998. YSU is now 3-5 in the UNI Dome. Jon Heacock suffered his first loss as a head coach. YSU has scored 14 points losing two consecutive road games and three of its last four away from Youngstown. The Penguins have lost their last two Gateway road games after winning six straight. UNI has won nine of its last 10 home games.
Indiana State Sycamores Scouting Report
The Indiana State football team is coming off a 31-13 home-opening loss to Stephen F. Austin last weekend. The Sycamores fell behind 15-0 in the first and trailed 31-10 at halftime. This year, ISU has lost to Stephen F. Austin, Tulsa and Eastern Illinois while beating Mid-American Conference member Eastern Michigan. Their game with Western Illinois scheduled for Sept. 15 is now Nov. 17.
On offense, ISU averaged 234.3 yards and 12 points per game while its defense is allowing 430.8 yards and 35 points a contest. Quarterback Julian Reese leads the team with 172 yards rushing and has completed 46-of-85 passes for 422 yards and two touchdowns. Reese, wide receiver Chris Lewis and tailback Jake Shields are the only Sycamores to score touchdowns this season. Free safety Terrance Miles leads the team with 33 tackles and has five pass breakups. ISU has forced one turnover -- a fumble recovery -- in four games this season.
The Indiana State-YSU Series
This is the 10th meeting between the Panthers and the Sycamores and YSU has dominated the series winning nine games. The only ISU triumph was a 13-6 decision in 1995. In the five games at Memorial Stadium in Terre Haute, YSU has won five times. The win by the Sycamores in 1995 was at Stambaugh Stadium.
Last season, the Penguins delighted a soldout homecoming crowd with a 42-7 victory on Oct. 28. P.J. Mays scored two touchdowns and Jeff Ryan and Colby Street combined for a school-record 13-for-13 performance for 234 yards throwing the football. YSU led 35-0 before Indiana State got on the scoreboard. Sean Guerriero and Brandon Pedraza each caught touchdown passes and Josiah Doby and Street each ran for scores.
Indiana State-YSU Connections
• YSU Assistant Coach George Small and ISU Assistant Coach Scott Anderson were on the same staff at Kentucky State from 1995-2000. Small, YSU's linebackers coach, was the head coach, while Anderson, ISU's offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach, was the Thorobreds offensive coordinator.
Individual Penguins in National Rankings
Senior cornerback LeVar Greene ranks fifth in the nation averaging one interception per game. Greene has intercepted a pass in the past three contests and against Western Illinois he picked off two throws. Senior strong safety Bruce Hightower is 11th in the nation averaging .75 INTs per game. Junior tailback P.J. Mays ranks 14th in the nation in rushing averaging 125.5 yards per contest and is 23rd in the nation in scoring averaging nine points per game. Sophomore placekicker Jake Stewart is 51st with .75 field goals per game and is 79th in scoring averaging six points a contest. Punter Kosta Karapetsas ranks 56th averaging 37.6 yards per punt. Reserve tailback Darius Peterson is 79th in scoring averaging six points per game and senior quarterback Jeff Ryan is 92nd in total offensive yards per game at 137.25.
YSU in the National Categories
The Youngstown State football team ranks in the top 10 in Division I-AA in three categories entering the contest against Indiana State. YSU is second in the nation in kickoff returns (31.78 per game), sixth in scoring defense (11 points per game), fourth in rushing offense (288.25 yards), 19th in scoring offense (33.5 points), 26th in total defense (291.5 yards), 26th in total offense (403.8 yards), 37th in net punting (34.42 per kick), 26th in punt returns (13.9), 25th in pass defense (149.25 yards), 19th in passing efficiency defense (92.91) and 103rd in passing offense (115.5).
Penguins in the Gateway Conference Rankings
YSU is first in the Gateway in scoring offense, scoring defense, kickoff returns, rushing offense, total offense, punt returns and passing efficiency defense. The Penguins are second in turnover margin, total defense and passing efficiency. Other rankings: Fifth in passing offense, third in passing defense, third in punting, third in rushing defense, third in first downs and fifth in time of possession.
YSU Players Against Indiana State
• Jeff Ryan: 3 games, 32 rushes for 117 yards...completed 26-of-41 passes (63.4 percent) for 342 yards and two touchdowns. Last season was 10-of-10 for 129 yards and 2 TD and had five rushes for 11 yards. His completion percentage set a school record.
• Andre Coleman: In three games, Coleman has returned seven kicks for 130 yards.
• Jerry Johnson: In three games, caught two passes for four yards and had two rushes for two yards.
• John Schumacher: In two games, has caught one pass for 19 yards.
• Josiah Doby: In two games, has 16 carries for 150 yards and a touchdown. Caught two passes.
• P.J. Mays: Has 67 yards on 17 carries last season. Scored a two-yard and one-yard touchdown.
• Eugene Mintze: Had five catches for 95 yards, including a 48-yard reception. Has two punt returns for 23 yards with a long return of 16 yards.
• Jake Stewart: Kicked six extra points and had a field-goal attempt blocked last year.
• Sean Guerriero: In three games has one catch for 30 yards.
• Colby Street: Completed all three passes for 105 yards, including a 48 yarder last season. Had five rushes for 14 yards and scored on a one-yard touchdown run.
• Greg Giannios: Had two carries for three yards in last season's game.
• Mike Burns: Had two rushes for 11 yards last year.
• Defense: Bruce Hightower - 3 games, 11 tackles; LeVar Greene - 3 games, 7 tackles, fumble recovery; Matt Mechling - 2 games, five tackles; Mike Thomas - 3 games, four tackles; Jon Tekac - 2 games, 3 tackles and a pass breakup; Anthony Barone - 2 games, one tackle; Justin Dellarose - 1 game, five tackles; Martin Stachowicz - 1 game, six tackles; Bob Sivik - 2 games, 4 tackles.
YSU Will Go For 100th Stambaugh Stadium Win
In their 20th campaign at Stambaugh Stadium the Youngstown State football team will be trying to win its 100th game in the facility on Oct. 13 against Southwest Missouri State. In its 20th season at Stambaugh, which opened in 1982, the Penguins are 99-30-2 (a .763 winning percentage). YSU has won 10 of its last 11 home games.
Since the 1989 season, YSU is an impressive 75-15-1, including undefeated seasons in 1993 and 1994. The Penguins are 30-6 in the past five-plus years at the Ice Castle. At home in the playoffs, YSU is 12-1 having won 11 straight home games.
Youngstown State Looks to Cut Down on Turnovers
Through four games this season, the Penguins have turned the ball over 13 times but still own a plus-3 turnover margin. The last time the Penguins turned the ball over 13 times in four games to start a season was in 1988. That year YSU went 1-3 in its first four games.
In two of the four games the Penguins have played this season, they have committed five turnovers -- against Lock Haven and Northern Iowa. Against Clarion, YSU committed two turnovers and against Western Illinois committed just one.
Defensively, the Penguins have forced a school-record season-opening 16 turnovers (2 by Lock Haven, 6 by Clarion, 4 by Western Illinois and 4 by Northern Iowa) in the first four games.
In 15 of the last 16 years (all but 1989), including 12 straight years, Youngstown State has had a plus in the turnover margin department.
YSU and First-Year Head Coaches
Jon Heacock is the only coach of five in school history to win his first three games. The only other coach to win his debut was Bill Narduzzi in 1975.
Of those five coaches, four began their collegiate head coaching career at YSU. YSU's first head coach Dike Beede is the only coach who had prior collegiate head coaching experience before coming to YSU. The other three head coaches -- Jim Tressel, Bill Narduzzi and Rey Dempsey -- had never been a college head coach before taking over at Youngstown. Beede guided the team from 1938-72, Dempsey in 1973-74, Narduzzi from 1975-85 and Tressel from 1986-2000. The best first-year coaching record was by Narduzzi in 1975 when he posted a 5-4 mark. In their first years, Beede was 4-5, Dempsey was 4-6 and Tressel was 2-9.
Penguins Turning in The Big Plays
The Penguins have had a knack to create big plays in the first four games of the season. Against Lock Haven, YSU had five plays of 25 yards or more, against Clarion the Penguins had six plays of 25 yards or longer and against Western Illinois, the Penguins had four plays of 25-plus yards. Against Northern Iowa, YSU had a season-low two plays of more than 25 yards.
In the opener against Lock Haven, Andre Coleman returned a kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown. That was the fourth-longest return in school history. Against Clarion, P.J. Mays scored on an 83-yard run, that was the longest run in Stambaugh Stadium history, the first 80-yard-plus run since 1981 and the third-longest run in school history.
This year the Penguins have three plays over 70 yards in just two games. Last season, the longest YSU gain was a 64-yard run by Josiah Doby against Indiana State.
Interceptions for Greene In Three Straight Games
Senior defensive back LeVar Greene has intercepted four passes in the last three games and ranks fifth in the nation averaging one pick per contest entering the game against Indiana State.
Greene, who has 11 interceptions in his YSU career, entered the year with seven picks and has tied his career high of four which he set in 15 games in 1999.
He had one interception against Clarion, two against Western Illinois and one at Northern Iowa giving him four in the last three games. He returned one of his picks against the Leathernecks 23 yards for a touchdown.
Jeff Ryan Leads YSU Offense For Fourth Year
Senior quarterback Jeff Ryan is in his fourth year as the signal caller for the Penguins. Ryan, the all-time leader in career touchdown passes and rushing yards by a quarterback, will leave the program with his name all over the offensive-category part of the record books. He has started 34 games in his career and owns a 24-11 record as a starter. He is 21-7 as a starter since the 1999 season. In his career, he has rallied Youngstown State from behind to victory 13 times, including four times last season.
Mays Over 1,000 Yards Rushing in Career
Junior tailback P.J. Mays has eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark in his YSU career. In his 16-game career, Mays has rushed for 1,283 yards on 247 carries and he has scored 15 touchdowns. He had 39 yards on 15 carries against Northern Iowa. Against Western Illinois he rushed for two scores and took a shovel pass 50 yards for a third touchdown. It marked the fifth time in his career that he has scored two rushing touchdowns in a game -- also the fifth time in eight games where he has scored twice via the ground. His touchdown catch was the first touchdown reception of his YSU career. Against Clarion he rushed for 180 yards on nine carries. His 20-yards-per-carry average set a school record for yards per attempt in a 100-yard game. In the opener, he had the best game of his YSU career against Lock Haven rushing for 226 yards on 21 carries and scoring one touchdown. His 226-yard total was the sixth best in school history and the first time over 200 by a Penguin back since Jake Andreadis ran for 210 yards against Wingate on Oct. 21, 1995.
Best Single-Game Rushing Efforts
Yards Player vs. Opponent, Date (carries)
304 Dick Adipotti vs. Southern Connecticut, 10/22/1966 (24)
264 Robby Robson vs. Delaware, 11/10/1979 (30)
253 Frank Horvath vs. Gustavus-Adolphus, 11/10/60 (24)
246 Tamron Smith vs. Samford, 12/14/1991 (46)
227 Paris Wicks vs. Morehead State, 11/24/1981 (24)
226 P.J. Mays vs. Lock Haven, 8/31/2001 (21)
Nine Players Remain From 1997 Title Team
Nine members of the 1997 championship team remain part of the 2001 Penguin football team. This season, all nine players have key roles on the squad. Those nine players are defensive back Andre Coleman, wide receiver Sean Guerriero, offensive guard Lavelle Hawkes, strong safety Bruce Hightower, linebacker Carlos Pearson, linebacker Bob Sivik, center Dave Tesniarz, linebacker Mike Thomas and holder/wide receiver Steve Valley. All players except for Pearson redshirted that first season. Pearson saw limited action on the 1997 squad as a true freshman but after the season left the squad and returned this past spring.
Five Players Named Team Captains This Season
The Penguins have tabbed seniors Jeff Ryan, Dave Tesniarz, Bob Sivik, LeVar Greene and Bruce Hightower as the team captains for the 2001 season. Last season, with 12 seniors, the Penguins had game captains, but prior to this season, Coach Jon Heacock announced that Ryan, Tesniarz, Sivik, Greene and Hightower were named the captains for the season. YSU has 21 seniors on the roster this year.
Penguins Advanced to Playoffs Again in 2000
Youngstown State finished the 2000 football season with a 9-3 overall mark and advanced to the NCAA Division I-AA Playoffs for the 10th time in the past 14 years. In the playoffs, the Penguins were seeded ninth and lost at No. 8 Richmond 10-3 on a cold, rainy Nov. 25 day.
The Penguins began the year 6-0 and climbed as high as No. 2 in the national rankings, but went 3-3 in their final six games of the season to finish 9-3 and were ranked 11th in the final Sports Network Top 25 Poll. In Gateway Football Conference play, the Penguins finished tied for second with a 4-2 mark.
Penguins Will Play Elon, Marshall in November
Late last week the Youngstown State Athletic Department announced two changes in the remaining YSU football schedule for this regular season. YSU was scheduled to play Wofford on Nov. 17, but that contest has been canceled and instead, the Penguins will play host to Elon University. Wofford will now play East Tennessee State on Nov. 17 and is at South Carolina on Nov. 3.
The game against Marshall has been scheduled for Nov. 24 at Marshall Stadium in Huntington, W. Va. It will be the first meeting between the two schools since playing for the Division I-AA National Championship in 1991, 1992 and 1993. Two of those meetings were played at Marshall. Since that game, the Herd has moved on to have success at the Division I-A level and is a member of the Mid-American Conference.
Travel Plans for Indiana State Game
The Youngstown State football team will travel via charter motorcoach to Terre Haute, Ind., on Friday afternoon. On the trip to Indiana State, the Penguins will work out for an hour in the indoor football facility at The Ohio State University. While staying overnight Friday in Terre Haute, the team will be at the Holiday Inn (812) 232-6081. Following the game, the team will fly home via Midwest Express charter to the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport.
Youngstown Television Information for ISU Game
The Youngstown State-Indiana State game can be viewed on various cable outlets throughout the Youngstown area. Here is a list off local cable outlets and the channels who will carry the game:
American Telecasting -- Channel 126
Armstrong Cable -- Channel 20
Time/Warner (Youngstown, Salem, Greenville) -- Channel 9
Time/Warner (Warren -- upgraded area) -- Channel 15
Time/Warner (Warren -- non-upgraded area) -- Channel 21
Up Next: YSU Returns Home to Play SW Missouri State
The Penguins return home after playing two consecutive road games to begin a three-game homestand against SW Missouri State on Oct. 13. YSU will be going for its 100th victory at Stambaugh Stadium playing host to the Bears. YSU continues its homestand with it Homecoming/Hall of Fame Game against Illinois State and then plays host to Western Kentucky on Oct. 27. This is the second three-game homestand for the Penguins this year.
Against SW Missouri State, the Penguins have won the previous five meetings. However, four of the five contests have not been decided until the final minute of play and have been decided by a touchdown or less.