Youngstown State sophomore quarterback Kurt Hess set two school records and threw for a career-high 306 yards, but Missouri State scored four second-half touchdowns – the last with 10 seconds left – to overcome a 17-point halftime deficit and upset the Penguins, 38-34, on Saturday afternoon at Stambaugh Stadium.
The Penguins finish the year 6-5 overall and 4-4 in the Missouri Valley Football Conference while the Bears close out the season with a record of 2-9 and 2-6.
Hess, who was 22-for-32, set the Youngstown State single-season touchdown pass record with 26 and his five touchdowns against the Bears set the single-game touchdowns thrown mark.
His 306 yards also marks the 13th time in his 22-game career that he has passed for at least 200 yards.
Clinging to a three-point lead, 34-31, and with the ball with 6:28 to go, the Guins' game-sealing drive stalled at the MSU 42 after a dropped pass on third-and-5.
MSU took over at their own 36 with 2:04 left after a 27-yard punt return by Sybhrian Berry. Missouri State's Trevor Wooden, who passed for 188 yards and rushed for 134, marched the Bears to the YSU 32 then hit Robert Fields for a 30-yard gain to the YSU two yard-line.
After a spike, Wooden's fade pass to the endzone was caught by Cadarrius Dotson for the game-winning score with just 10 seconds left.
The Guins started the fourth quarter with a 27-24 lead but cushioned their advantage to 34-24 when Hess connected with Kevin Watts from five yards out for his fifth touchdown pass of the game – a YSU single-game record.
On the their next possession, Wooden engineered a nine-play, 60-yard drive to get the Bears within three again, 34-31, when Chris Douglas ran in from one-yard out with 6:28 to go. On the drive, Wooden was 3-for-5 for 34 yards.
The Bears started out strong in the third scoring on their first two possession of the second half. Wooden rushed for a 45-yard touchdown to cut the deficit to 27-17 and then scampered in from three yards out to bring the Bears within three, 27-24, at the 5:47 mark of the third quarter.
Youngstown State took its opening drive 80 yards in 11 plays to take a 7-0 lead with 8:31 to go in the first quarter when Hess connected with Will Shaw for the single-season record-breaking touchdown pass from 10 yards.
Junior tailback Jamaine Cook carried five times for 20 yards, but 32-yard pass from Hess to Bryan to the Bears' 12 set up the Hess-to-Shaw touchdown. Cook finished the game with 104 yards on 28 carries.
After an exchange of punts, the Bears utilized a personal foul to move to the YSU 39. Six plays later, Trevor Wooden hit Dotson on a 16-yard touchdown pass to tie the game at 7-7 with 1:43 left in the quarter.
The Guins took a 14-7 lead after Hess, who passed for 206 yards on 14-of-18 passing, hooked up with Shaw for a second time – a 52-yard touchdown pass with just 34 seconds left in the first quarter.
On the ensuing kickoff, MSU's Cal Schaffitzel returned the kick to the YSU 10 to set up a 29-yard field goal by Austin Witmer to cut the YSU lead to 14-10 at the 14:10 mark of the second quarter.
After another exchange of punts, Hess engineered a six-play, 54-yard scoring drive and hit Bryan for his third touchdown pass of the game – an 18-yarder – to go ahead 20-10 with 3:03 left in the second.
Edwards then came up with his second forced turnover of the quarter, intercepting a Wooden pass at the MSU 43 and returning it to the 27.
After a 15-yard completion to Jelani Berassa, Hess scrambled right and found Berassa in the endzone for his fourth touchdown pass of the half to take a 27-10 lead at halftime.
Berassa led the Guins' receiving corps with seven receptions for 91 yards.