Offensive Explosion Lifts Football to 63-24 Win Over CCSU

Jamaine Cook
Jamaine Cook

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Youngstown -- The Youngstown State football team scored 28 points in the second quarter en route to a school-record-tying 63-point outburst in a 63-24 victory over Central Connecticut State on Saturday evening at Stambaugh Stadium.

The Penguins ran for 322 yards and scored eight rushing touchdowns in the record-tying performance. Their final touchdown came on a fumble return with 2:15 left in the fourth quarter.

Jamaine Cook ran for 179 yards and three long touchdowns on 14 carries while Jordan Thompson and Adaris Bellamy both scored twice. Cook's scores were the first of his career, and Allen Jones scored his first touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Quarterback Kurt Hess completed 15-of-20 attempts for 191 yards to nine different receivers. John Sasson had eight tackles to lead the defense, and Daniel Stewart forced the fumble that led to Jaimie Frasure's defensive score.

Everette Benjamin ran for 85 yards to lead CCSU, and quarterback Gunnar Jespersen rushed for 85 yards while passing for 180. He had both a rushing and passing touchdown.

Cook's first long score came on the Penguins' initial drive of the contest. He started the contest with runs of six and eight yards, and, after a four-yard pass, the sophomore tailback scampered 45 yards into the end zone for his first career touchdown.

Hess was intercepted on YSU's next drive, and the Blue Devils capitalized from good field position to tie the score at 7-7. Jespersen passed to Anthony Julbes for 15 yards on the first play to move the ball to the YSU 27, and CCSU found the end zone seven rushes later. Jespersen ran the final two times and scored from the two.

Cook had his longest rush of the evening on the first play of the second quarter, and it started a flurry of scoring where the teams combined for 21 points in the first 1:18 of the quarter. Cook broke two tackles near the line of scrimmage, then high-stepped through another as he approached the end zone for a 52-yard touchdown. It was his fifth carry of the contest, and he had 115 yards on those five attempts.

Central Connecticut State needed just two plays to retie the score. Jespersen connected with P.J. Borawski for a 56-yard gain down to the YSU 16, and Nate Pagan took it the rest of the way on the next play with 14:19 on the clock.

The Penguins answered with a two-play touchdown drive of their own on their next possession to take the lead for good. Cook returned the kickoff to the YSU 49, and Hess hit Ely Ducatel on a 31-yard pass down to the 18 on the first play. Bellamy then scored on the next play to put the Guins ahead 21-14 with 13:42 left.

The YSU defense held after allowing one first down on CCSU's next possession, and the Penguins offense put together a methodical 12-play touchdown drive that extended nearly six minutes. YSU was 2-for-2 on third downs on the drive, which included a Hess-to-Ducatel connection for 10 yards on third-and-seven. Thompson carried the ball the final two plays of the drive, running five yards to the one and into the endzone.

Thompson then bounced out to the right on fourth-and-goal from the one on YSU's next drive to put the Penguins on top 35-14 at halftime.

Joe Izzo kicked a 37-yard field goal on CCSU's second drive of the third quarter to cut the margin to 35-17, but Cook all but sealed the contest on YSU's ensuing possession with his third touchdown run. He ran six times on the drive, the last of which was a 23-yarder into the end zone along the left side. Hess connected with Dominique Barnes on a 20-yard gain on third-and-14 from the YSU 24 to extend the drive, and Cook carried it the remaining 56 yards.

Bellamy found paydirt two plays into the fourth quarter for the first of three Penguins touchdowns in the final 15 minutes. The drive was extended thanks to a big roughing-the-passer penalty when the Penguins were facing third-and-25 on their own 42. Hess connected with David Rogers on the first play of the fourth quarter, and Bellamy's four-yard touchdown made the score 49-17.

Central Connecticut State scored its final points on its next drive when Jespersen hit Dennis Spadaro on a two-yard touchdown with 9:24 on the clock. That completed a 12-play, 75-yard drive that took 5:15.

Jones ran for 59 yards on YSU's final offensive drive, including a 36-yarder. He scored a seven-yard touchdown on the sixth play of the drive.

Stewart jarred the ball loose on a sack of backup quarterback Denzell Jones on the first play of CCSU's ensuing drive, and Frasure picked it up and ran it 20 yards for the final score of the evening.

The Penguins improved to 2-1 while the Blue Devils dropped to 1-2. YSU opens Missouri Valley Football Conference play next week at home against preseason favorite Southern Illinois. Kickoff against the Salukis is set for 4 p.m. at Stambaugh Stadium.

YSU also scored 63 points in a 63-20 win over Alcorn State in the playoffs on Nov. 25, 1994.