Terre Haute, Ind. -- Junior tailback P.J. Mays scored four touchdowns as the No. 8/9 Youngstown State football team beat Indiana State 35-21 on Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium.
Mays scored on runs of two, one, six and one yard and Darius Peterson added a 24-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter as the Penguins improved to 4-1 overall on the season and 2-1 in Gateway Football Conference action. Indiana State falls to 1-4 overall and 0-1 in the Gateway by dropping its conference opener.
Mays finished the afternoon with 150 yards rushing on a career-best 34 carries. His four touchdowns were a career high and he has multi-TD games in four of YSU's five games this year. He is the first YSU player to score four touchdowns in a game since Tamron Smith had four scores against James Madison on Sept. 26, 1992 and is only the ninth player in school history to score four times in a single game.
YSU quarterback Jeff Ryan completed 9-of-11 passes for 94 yards
and had 14 rushes for 75 yards. Peterson finished with 35 yards on
five carries, including his touchdown run.
The Penguins outgained ISU 355-235 overall and 261-109 on the ground. Bruce Hightower had a team-high 10 tackles and junior linebacker Jon Tekac had nine stops while Todd Blackwell and Mike Thomas each had key sacks, and Guy Mazard and Bob Sivik each had fumble recoveries to set up touchdowns.
Mays' first score gave YSU a 7-0 lead with 7:32 left in the first when he scored from two yards out. In the second quarter, he scored on a one-yard run at the 12:41 mark and scored on a six-yard run with 9:43 left. ISU's Sidney Montfort scored on an 11-yard run to cut the deficit to 21-7 at halftime.
Mays gave the Penguins a 28-7 advantage in the third when he scored his fourth touchdown of the day on a one-yard run with 10:47 left in the third. ISU scored on a 10-yard pass from Julian Reese to Chris Lewis with 2:48 left in the period.
Peterson raced 24 yards for his score with 4:55 left in the game giving YSU a 35-14 lead. But SoSo Dede returned the ensuing kickoff 78 yards to the YSU 13. On the first play, Montfort scored on an option play with 4:31 left.
After recovering the onsides kick, YSU converted to fourth-down plays to run out the final 4:27 of the game.
Youngstown State returns home to begin a three-game homestand on Saturday, Oct. 13, when it plays host to Southwest Missouri State. Kickoff for the contest is set for 4 p.m.