The Youngstown State football team took advantage of two special-teams touchdowns and a 226-yard rushing effort by tailback P.J. Mays en route to 38-7 season-opening victory over Lock Haven in front of a crowd of 15,709 on Thursday night at Stambaugh Stadium.
YSU's Darius Peterson blocked a punt and returned it 34 yards for a touchdown and Andre Coleman ran a kickoff back 89 yards for a score in the 31-point victory, the first for YSU Head Coach Jon Heacock. Coleman's kickoff returner for a touchdown was YSU's first since Archie Herring returned a kick all the way on Oct. 13, 1990 against Liberty.
The Penguins (1-0) jumped out to an lead early in the first quarter when Jeff Ryan connected with Eugene Mintze on a 34-yard touchdown pass. YSU built a 14-0 halftime lead when Peterson scored on a four-yard run with 23 seconds left in the half.
In the third, Mays, who had career-high 226 yards rushing on 21 carries, scored on a 32-yard run with 12:31 left in the third. With 10 minutes left in the quarter, Peterson blocked a Joe Walker punt and scooped it up for a 36-yard score.
Lock Haven (0-1) got on the board with 1:47 left in the third when Marcus Burkley scored on a four-yard pass from Brian Genis.
YSU answered on the ensuing kickoff when Coleman found a seem on the right side and ran 89 yards for a touchdown. In the fourth, Jake Stewart kicked a 42-yard field goal with 10:15 left for YSU's final points.
The victory marked the sixth straight season the Penguins opened
the season with a win.
YSU returns to action on Saturday, Sept. 9 against Clarion at Stambaugh Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.