No. 19 Penguins Drop Homecoming Contest to 16th-Ranked Illinois State

No. 19 Penguins Drop Homecoming Contest to 16th-Ranked Illinois State

The 19th-ranked Youngstown State football team dropped a 35-0 decision to No. 16 Illinois State on Saturday afternoon at Stambaugh Stadium

The Penguins fall to 3-5 overall and 1-4 in the Missouri Valley Football Conference while the Redbirds improve to 6-2 overall and 4-1 in the MVFC.

The loss marks the first time YSU has been shut out since a 33-0 loss to Southern Illinois in 2008.

The Redbirds controlled the game on both sides of the ball and outgained the Penguins 341-147, including holding YSU to just 84 yards on the ground. Illinois State also held a decisive advantage in time of possession, 36:37-23:23.

ISU's Markel Smith and James Robinson rushed for 124 and 117 yards, respectively, and Robinson scored three times while Smith found paydirt once.

After forcing the Penguins to go three and out on the game's opening possession, the Redbirds went 72 yards in nine plays capped by an 11-yard touchdown run by Robinson to go up 7-0 at the 9:51 mark of the first quarter.

Illinois State went up 14-0 45 seconds later when Nathan Mays was sacked and ISU's Matt McCown returned a fumble 26 yards for a touchdown.

After several punt exchanges, Illinois State extended its lead to 21-0 with just nine seconds left in the second quarter. Smith capped a 12-play, 73-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run on third and goal.

In the first half, Illinois State outgained the Penguins, 188-32, and limited the Penguins to just one first down and nine yards on the ground.

Robinson pushed the Redbirds' lead to 28-0 at the 9:01 mark of third quarter with a two-yard touchdown run, and he scored his third touchdown of the game at the 12:50 mark of the fourth to put ISU up 35-0.

Youngstown State visits Indiana State next Saturday. Kickoff is slated for 2 p.m. in Terre Haute, Ind., at Memorial Stadium.