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Youngstown, Ohio - The Youngstown State football team rushed for 454 yards and scored six touchdowns on the ground in a 54-28 victory over Howard on Saturday afternoon from Stambaugh Stadium.
The Penguins (2-0) finished the game with 640 yards of total offense, the the sixth most in program history, while the 454 yards compiled on the ground was the fourth most all-time.
For the game, Braxton Chapman finished with 132 yards and a score on eight carries, London Pearson ran for 126 yards and score on six carries, Christian Turner carried the ball six times for 86 yards with a score and Joe Alessi had 70 yards on eight carries with a pair of touchdowns. Nate Mays finished 8-of-14 with for a 182 yards and pair of touchdowns while also picking up 30 yards on the ground.
The defense finished with the contest with five sacks and three turnovers. Ma'lik Richmond led the way with eight tackles and sack while DeMarko Craig finished the game with seven tackles and a pair of sacks.
After forcing Howard to punt on their opening drive, YSU marched down right down the field to take a 6-0 lead with 7:11 left in the first quarter. The Penguins moved the ball 82 yards on just eight plays as Alessi capped off the drive with a six-yard touchdown run.
Howard answered with a touchdown drive of their own to take a 7-6 lead after Caylin Newton connected with Kyle Anthony on a 50-yard touchdown pass with 4:19 remaining in the opening quarter.
After returning a Nate Mays interception to the YSU 29-yard line, the Bison extended their lead to 14-6 after Dedrick Parson ran in the touchdown from just two yards out.
The Penguins opened the second quarter with a scoring drive to bring the score to 14-13 with 13:04 remaining in the half. Mays connected with Jermiah Braswell who made a diving catch in the end zone for a 38-yard score.
With the Bison threatening to extend their lead, Richmond forced a fumble which was recovered by Antoine Cook at the YSU 17-yard line. The Penguins turned the Bison turnover into seven points after Christian Tuner punched in a five-yard touchdown run to finish off a nine play, 83-yard drive with 7:52 left in the second quarter.
YSU pushed their lead to 27-14 with just 39 seconds remaining in the half as Mays connected with Ryan Emans for a 15-yard touchdown. The Penguins took the ball 63 yards on three plays with the scoring drive highlighted by a 38-yard pick up from Braswell on the first play. Heading into halftime, Justus Reed blocked a 44-yard field goal attempt by Howard's Nick Ferris.
In the first half, YSU produced 319 yards of offense while Howard had 267 yards. The Penguins were efficient on the ground gaining 175 yards on just 23 carries. Turner led the ground game with 56 yards on five carries and a touchdown.
After forcing the Penguins into a three and out to open the half, the Bison went on a seven play, 45-yard drive to bring the score to 27-21. Newton found Anthony for the second time of the afternoon on a 22-yard strike with 10:02 remaining in the third quarter.
The Penguins pushed their lead back to 13 points on the following drive as Mays scampered in from two yards out. On the first play of drive, Turner picked up a 26 yards which was followed by a 36-yard completion to from Samuel St. Surin down to the Howard six-yard line.
After a DJ Smalls interception return for touchdown was negated due to a penalty, YSU extended their lead just one play later when Alessi busted through the line for a 40-yard touchdown. After the PAT was blocked, the Penguins took a 40-21 lead with 7:25 remaining in the third.
Following a defensive stand on fourth down for the Penguins, Chapman took the ball untouched for an 87-yard touchdown to give YSU a 47-21 lead.
Pearson continued the rushing assault for the Penguins with a 75-yard touchdown run to give YSU a 54-21 lead with 11:25 remaining in the game. Kyle Anthony picked up his third touchdown of the afternoon on a 16-yard pass and catch with just 4:20 left in the contest to bring the score to 54-28.
The Penguins return to Stambaugh Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 14 when they host Duquense at 2 p.m.