Junior Ferlando Williams scored from three-yards out and the Youngstown State defense stifled a last minute Southern Utah field-goal attempt to lift the Penguins to a 23-22 victory over the Thunderbirds on Saturday evening at Stambaugh Stadium.
The Penguins improve to 5-2 overall and Southern Utah falls to 0-6.
Williams ran for 51 yards on 12 carries and scored twice while junior Kevin Smith and sophomore Jabari Scott each rushed for 59 yards.
Trailing 22-16, the Penguins drove 65 yards in nine plays and on third-and-goal from three-yard line, Williams went over to tie the score. Brian Palmer's extra point put the Penguins in front by one.
SUU regained possession with 5:18 remaining and after driving 41 yards to the YSU 17-yard line with 1:03 remaining, the Thunderbirds' game-winning field-goal attempt finished short and left after a bad hold.
Southern Utah took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter on a two-yard run by Marshall. The Thunderbirds used some trickery on the drive as backup punter Steve Pulver converted a fourth-and-four from the YSU 45 yards by running for 14 yards and a first down.
YSU cut the deficit to 7-3 when Palmer booted a 37-yard field goal with 1:28 left in the first half. The Penguins moved the ball 65 yards to the SUU 20-yard line before the drive stalled.
Youngstown State opened the second half with an impressive 12-play, 51-yard drive that Palmer again capped with a field goal, this time from 28 yards to trim the deficit to 7-6.
After a three-and-out by SUU, Youngstown State came back to take a 9-7 lead on Palmer's third field goal of the game. YSU moved quickly to the Southern Utah 12, but was only able to grind out two more yards before being stopped. Palmer came on to kick a 27-yard to give the Guins their first lead of the game at the 5:41 mark of the third quarter.
That lead was shortlived as Southern Utah answered with a touchdown just over a minute later.
Sanchez rumbled in for a five-yard score capping a quick three-play 59-yard drive that last just over a minute. The Thunderbirds took a 15-9 lead when Marshall connected with Jeremy Edwards on a two-point conversion.
YSU regained the lead later in the quarter when punter Ben Nowicki pinned SUU at its own eight-yard line. On the first play, Dorian Chenault blindsided Marshall in the end zone and the ball squirted forward to the two-yard line where Torrance Nicholson pounced on it.
On the following play, Williams scored on two-yard carry to put YSU ahead 16-15.
In the fourth quarter, SUU reclaimed the lead after holding YSU deep in its territory. After Nowicki's punt was tipped by Derrick Brown, the Thunderbirds took over at the Penguin 29-yard line.
On a third-and-five play, Marshall connected with Edwards on an over-the-shoulder grab from 24 yards to put Southern Utah in front 22-16.
Senior Tom Zetts connected on 15-of-26 for 164 yards through the air and senior Rory Berry caught four passes for 57 yards.
The Penguins return to Gateway play next Saturday when they play host to Illinois State. Kickoff for the contest against the Redbirds is set for 4 p.m.