Penguins Use Huge Second Quarter to Defeat Robert Morris, 45-10

Jake Coates (Photo by Os Figueroa)
Jake Coates (Photo by Os Figueroa)

Youngstown, Ohio - The Youngstown State football team scored 31 unanswered points in the first half en route to a 45-10 victory over Robert Morris on Saturday evening at Stambaugh Stadium.

The Penguins improve to 4-0 for the first time since 2012 while the Colonials fall to 1-4.

YSU finished with 394 yards of total offense while RMU had 212. The Penguins ran for 257 yards on 41 attempts while adding 137 yards through the air on 13 completions.

Joe Alessi led the ground attack with 14 carries for 146 yards and a touchdown. Nate Mays finished the game 9-of-14 for 106 yards a score while picking 36 yards on the ground to go along with a pair of touchdowns. Jermiah Braswell was leading pass catcher with 54 yards on five receptions to go along with a score. 

The defense, which forced their 11th turover of the season on an interception by Kyle Hegedus in the third quarter, was led by Zaire Jones who had six tackles.

Jake Coates, who set the school record for punt return yards with 133 yards on five returns, took a punt 63 yards for a touchdown to gives the Penguins a 21 point lead with 6:02 remaining in the first half.

After forcing the Penguins to a three-and-out, RMU took a 7-0 lead on their second offensive drive. Alijah Jackson picked up a third down conversion backed up against their own goal line before busting an 80-yard run down to the YSU 5-yard line. The Colonials capped of the six-play, 97-yard drive with a four-yard touchdown pass from George Martin to Terrance Stephens.

On the final play of the opening quarter, the Penguins tied the game at 7-7 after Nate Mays finished off an eight-play, 80-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown scamper. With the 10:59 remaining in the first half, the Penguins took a 14-7 lead when Mays connected with a Jermiah Braswell on a 24-yard touchdown strike.

Following a 33-yard punt return by Coates, the Penguins ran only one play to extend their lead to 21-7. Alessi took the hand off around the right hand side before bursting down the sideline for a 43-yard touchdown score. Coates increased the YSU lead to 28-7 with 6:02 remaining in the half after taking a punt return 63 yards for a touchdown.

With the clock winding down in the first half, Colten McFadden knocked a 22-yard field goal through the uprights to give the Penguins a 31-7.

At the half, the Penguins manufactured 221 yards of total offense while the Colonials produced 136 yards. YSU was efficient on the ground gaining 151 yards on 17 carries. Alessi led the way with 112 yards on just eight carries. Through the air, Mays completed 7-of-9 for 70 yards and a score.

After forcing Nathan Mays to throw an interception to begin the second half, the Colonials added three point on a 36-yard kick from Nick Bisceglia to make the score 31-10.

With 2:43 remaining in the third quarter, Mays powered his way into the endzone from one-yard out to give him his second rushing touchdown of the game. The six play, 40-yard scoring drive gave the Penguins a 38-10 lead.  

Joe Craycraft pushed the Penguins lead to 45-10 with 9:29 remaining in the game after capping off a nine play, 80-yard drive with a seven yard touchdown run.

The Penguins begin Missouri Valley Conference play next week when they travel to Northern Iowa on Saturday, October 5. Kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. from the UNI-Dome.