McCaster, VanGorder Lead YSU in 42-7 Win Over Valparaiso

Vitas Hrynkiewicz and Gavin Wiggins (Photo by Ron Stevens)
Vitas Hrynkiewicz and Gavin Wiggins (Photo by Ron Stevens)

The Youngstown State football team racked up 465 yards in total offense and defeated Valparaiso 35-7 on Saturday afternoon from Stambaugh Stadium to secure their first win of the season.

The Penguins (1-2) were led by senior quarterback Montgomery VanGorder and senior tailback Tevin McCaster, who accounted for five touchdowns on the afternoon. The defensive unti chipped in with a key interception and held the Crusaders (0-2) on 12-of-16 third-down tries. 

For the game VanGorder completed 13-of-21 passes for 202 yards and three touchdowns. Three different Penguins were on the receiving end of those touchdowns, including Darius Shackleford who had three receptions for 69 yards. McCaster finished the game with 25 carries for 141 yards and three touchdowns. In the first quarter, McCaster eclipsed the 2,000-yard mark for his career, making him the 20th player in school history to accomplish this feat. 

The defense was led by senior linebacker Armand Dellovade who registered eight tackles and had an interception in the second quarter. Cash Mitchell also recorded six tackles. As a unit, the defense recorded three sacks and held Valpo to 230 yards of total offense on the afternoon.

On Valpo's second possession of the game, the punter mishandled a snap giving YSU possession at midfield. After driving the ball down to the Valpo 25-yard line, Zak Kennedy missed a 42-yard field goal. On the very next possession for Valpo, Chris Duncan found Griffen Norberg for a 75-yard touchdown pass. Griffen broke away from a YSU defender and won the foot race to the end zone to give Valpo a 7-0 lead. YSU responded with a touchdown of their own on their very next drive to bring the score to 7-7. An 8 play, 75-yard drive was capped off by a 27-yard touchdown pass from VanGorder to Natavious Payne.

After the Crusaders missed a 49-yard field goal about halfway through the second quarter, YSU was dominate the rest of the way.

On their very next possession, YSU went 68 yards on three plays to take a 14-7 lead. VanGorder found Darius Shackleford for a 42-yard pass down to the one-yard line, setting up McCaster for a one-yard touchdown run. Dellovade intercepted a pass from Duncan, YSU went 30 yards on five plays to take a 21-7 lead. McCaster finished the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run, giving him his second touchdown of the game.

In the first half, YSU had 221 yards of total offense while Valpo had 115 yards. Through the air VanGorder completed 7-of-11 passes for 124 yards and a touchdown. On the ground, McCaster carried the ball 16 times for 82 yards and two touchdowns.

YSU wasted no time putting points on the board in the second half.

After receiving the kickoff, the Penguins went 75 yards on six plays to take a 28-7 lead. VanGorder connected with Kendric Mallory for an 11-yard touchdown pass. The Penguins extended their lead to 35-7 halfway through the third quarter when VanGorder found Shackleford for an eight-yard touchdown pass. In the fourth quarter, YSU pushed their lead to 42-7 after Joe Aleesi scampered in from 11 yards out with 4:25 remaining.

The Penguins are idle next weekend before they travel to Macomb, Ill., to take on Western Illinois on 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 29.