Efficient Offense, Stingy Defense Lead Penguins to 45-10 Win Over Duquesne

Ricky Davis (Photo by Ron Stevens)
Ricky Davis (Photo by Ron Stevens)

Youngstown State used an efficient offensive performance and a smothering defense en route to a 45-10 season-opening win Duquesne on Saturday evening at Stambaugh Stadium.

Backed by a large student contingent, the Penguins (1-0) have now won 21 straight home openers and Duquesne (0-1) has lost all three meetings against Youngstown State.

Offensively, the Penguins recorded 610 total yards, including 394 yards on the ground. Three running backs ran for at least 89 yards. Senior Jody Webb ran for 96 yards on seven carries and became the 19th player in school history to run for at least 2,000 yards in a career. Sophomore Tevin McCaster led the Penguins with 107 yards rushing on just seven attempts while Martin Ruiz had 89 yards on 11 carries.

Junior QB Ricky Davis was impressive in his first career start completing 12-of-16 passes for 187 yards and three touchdowns. Davis also ran for 74 yards and accumulated 261 total yards. Davis recorded career highs in completions, attempts, yards passing and yards rushing.

Junior Darien Townsend was a favorite target of Davis catching three passes for 91 yards, including the first two touchdown catches of his career. Davis hit Townsend on a 49-yard touchdown just under two minutes into the game and on a 36-yard strike with 1:37 left in the second quarter.

The Penguins defense was stout limiting the Dukes to just 222 total yards, including just 122 in the first half, and just 34 net yards rushing. Senior Jaylin Kelly had a team-high seven tackles while senior All-American Derek Rivers posted three tackles and a sack, the 27th of his career.

YSU scored on its first three drives - a 49-yard touchdown pass from Davis to Townsend, a 27-yard field goal by Zak Kennedy, and a seven-yard touchdown run by Ruiz, who scored the 30th rushing touchdown of his career.

Duquesne's Austin Crimmins got the Dukes on the board with a 43-yard field goal that cut the YSU lead to 10-3.

On the second play of the second quarter Ruiz barreled in from seven yards out and capped a six-play 75-yard drive.

Davis hit Townsend for a second touchdown pass - a 36-yard strike – as Townsend carried three defenders the final 10 yards to find pay dirt and put the Penguins up, 24-3 with 1:37 left before halftime.

Nehari Crawford caught a six-yard touchdown reception from Dillon Buechel which got the Dukes within two touchdowns, 24-10, with 24 seconds left before halftime.

Thirty seconds into the third quarter, the Penguins forced a three-and-out, but YSU fumbled the punt and the Dukes recovered at the YSU 44. On the next play, Derek Rivers recovered a Duquesne fumble and returned it to the Dukes' 45.

Four plays later, Davis hit Stefan Derrick in the back corner of the endzone to give the Penguins a 31-10 lead.

In the fourth quarter, Shane Kuhn and Tevin McCaster added touchdown runs of one and two yards, respectively, to extend the Penguins advantage to 45-10.

The Penguins visit West Virginia, Saturday, Sept. 10, in Morgantown, W.Va. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m.