Final Scrimmage of Fall Provides Opportunities

Martin Ruiz carries the ball during Saturday's scrimmage.
Martin Ruiz carries the ball during Saturday's scrimmage.

With various players being held out of the lineup, the Youngstown State football team's final scrimmage of the fall on Saturday morning at Stambaugh Stadium gave some Penguins a chance to prove they could crack the opening-night lineup.

The scrimmage opened with the offense trying to punch the ball out from its own one-yard line. All four times the defense stopped drives including two touch-sacks for would-be safeties. 

Quarterback Kurt Hess's one major drive of the workout was an impressive one. He engineered a 10-play, 80-yard march that saw tailback Adaris Bellamy rush for the final 24 yards. Bellamy capped the drive on a six-yard run around the right side. Hess connected with Andrew Williams for gains of 20 and 17 yards during the possession and wide receiver Kevin Watts had a 16-yard rush.

On the first play of the ensuing series, Tanner Garry was under pressure and threw a pass that was intercepted by safety Justin Gallegos. On the next possession, Garry found Williams for a 26-yard pickup, but two straight incompletions on second-and-long and third-and-long ended the drive.

Next was play in the red zone. The offense used a little trickery as wide receiver Marcel Caver scored on a 20-yard reverse on the opening snap of the session. On the next series, tailback Martin Ruiz scampered home from four yards out for a touchdown. The offense tacked on another score as Dante Nania threw a five-yard pass to tight end Kintrell Disher.

The defense answered back when Jody Webb was stripped of the football and freshman linebacker BJ Welch scooped it up and returned it 85 yards for a touchdown.

The offense came back as Ruiz scored for the second time in the red zone, again taking in from four yards out. The defense produced a three-and-out, but Ryan Mosora found paydirt on an 18-yard run to end the red-zone session. The offense scored touchdowns on four of six possessions.

The offense and defense went at it in third-and short and third-and-medium situations, as well as two fourth-and-shorts, in the latter part of the scrimmage. Torrian Pace broke free for a 40-plus yard run and picked up another first down while the defense held on third-and-3 and fourth-and-1 (just by inches). The next time, the offense picked up three of four third downs as Ruiz rushed for one, Nania threw a pass to Michael Wheary for another and Nania had a nifty keeper on fourth-and-one.

In the third-and-medium situations, Hess completed two passes for first downs and Gallegos had his second interception of the workout, this time against Nania.

On the final play, Coach Eric Wolford had the field-goal team run onto the field for a final-play field goal. Placekicker Joey Cejudo got the kick off, but linebacker Travis Williams timed his leap perfectly to block the kick as the scrimmage ended.

Not playing, or seeing extremely limited action, were center Chris Elkins, strong safety Donald D'Alesio, nickle back Jamarious Boatwright, wide receiver Jelani Berassa, cornerback Julius Childs and a handful of other Penguins. D'Alesio and Boatwright, who both have been nursing injuries, returned to practice on Friday, but were held out of action today.

YSU also worked on pooch punts, punt return and punt coverage as well as kickoff coverage and kickoff return sprinkled in at different points of the scrimmage.

The Penguins are off on Sunday before holding a morning practice on Monday at Stambaugh Stadium.