Ground and Pound: Running Game and Defense Carry Penguins to Win

By Marc Weems



The last time Martin Ruiz, a running back at Youngstown State University, ran for over 150 yards, Eric Wolford was still the head coach of the football program. But Ruiz carried the YSU offense against Robert Morris University after he ran for 165 yards with 3 touchdowns in the Penguins’ 38-6 win on Saturday.


Ruiz scored the first touchdown of the game after a 21-yard touchdown catch from YSU quarterback Trent Hosick. That score put YSU up 7-0 with 11:14 in first quarter.


After a 21-yard run by backup running back Tevin McCaster, YSU added a 14-yard touchdown run from Martin Ruiz to extend the lead to 14-0 with 4:50 to go in the first.


With 1:52 left in the first quarter, lightning struck which delayed the game for an hour and six minutes.


Head coach Bo Pelini talked about the weather delay and the team’s flow after it.


“We did some good things. At times in the game, we didn’t play very well,” Pelini said. “We weren’t efficient enough and I didn’t think we played well offensively. I think we took a step back in some areas. We just played sloppy especially our special teams.”


In the second quarter, Robert Morris was unable to capitalize on an interception thrown by Hosick.

Youngstown State University's Savon Smith (52) sacks Robert Morris University quarterback Andrew Romanchak (16) in the third quarter of Saturday's game.
Youngstown State University’s Savon Smith (52) sacks Robert Morris University quarterback Andrew Romanchak (16) in the third quarter of Saturday’s game.


YSU used the running game to set up a 37-yard field goal from kicker Zak Kennedy. He later missed a 50-yard field goal to end the first half which left the score at 17-0 in favor of YSU.

Robert Morris was unable to gain any yards in the first half, gaining zero yards on 24 plays.


After consecutive punts from each team to start the second half, YSU got the ball on RMU’s 33-yard line. Hosick and the Penguins capitalized on the field position with a 27-yard touchdown pass to tight end Kevin Rader — putting YSU up 24-0 with 6:28 to go in the third quarter.


The Penguins’ defense held the Colonials to 103 yards of total offense and tallied seven sacks. Bo Pelini talked about how the defense made an impact in the game and how they can improve.


“They played okay. We need a chance to have time to get better,” Pelini said. “There is a lot more out there for this group, as a whole. Everyone can a lot better. We will do a lot of fundamental work, we will pick and choose a time to get our rest with the bye week.”


Robert Morris was able to put points on the board with a trick play. Running back Sam Woods threw a touchdown to wide receiver Eldin Anu for a 52-yard score. That made the score 24-6 after a failed extra point attempt. That was Robert Morris’ first offensive score of the year.


Just two plays later, YSU responded with an 80-yard touchdown run from Martin Ruiz to put them up 31-6 with 2:53 left in the third quarter. The Penguins scored another touchdown later in the fourth quarter on a 19-yard run by McCaster — putting the game out of reach.


YSU clogged up the Colonials run game. Robert Morris ran for -13 yards on 25 carries. Linebacker Armand Dellovade spoke about the impact the defense made in the game.


“Today went well, I think they only had about 100 yards of offense. Defense played good but we had some missed assignments that we will work on this bye week. I’m just proud of my guys,” Dellovade said. “The defense is really confident right now but everybody knows that we have to keep getting better. Our front seven took a big step tonight, holding a team to negative rushing yards isn’t something you see all the time.”

Box Score

YSU 38, Robert Morris 6


First Quarter

7-0 YSU — Trent Hosick 21-yard touchdown pass to Martin Ruiz (Zak Kennedy extra point good). 11:14

14-0 YSU — Ruiz 14-yard touchdown run (Kennedy extra point good). 4:50


Second Quarter

17-0 YSU — Kennedy 37-yard field goal good. 6:59


Third Quarter


24-0 YSU—Hosick 27-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Rader (Kennedy extra point good). 6:28

24-6 RMU — Sam Woods 52-yard touchdown pass to Eldin Anu (two-point conversion no good). 3:11

31-6 YSU — Ruiz 80-yard touchdown run (Kennedy extra point good). 2:53


Fourth Quarter

38-6 YSU — Tevin McCaster 19-yard touchdown run (Kennedy extra point good). 10:13


Stat Leaders


Passing_RMU, Andrew Romanchak 9-23-0-66. YSU, Hosick 6-12-2-112.

Rushing_RMU, Donte Satcher 12-36-0. YSU Ruiz 16-165-2.

Receiving_RMU, Anu 1-52-0. YSU 2-62-1.

Sacks_RMU, Ryan Richards Jr. 1. YSU, Armand Dellovade 1, Savon Smith 1, Avery Moss 1, Derek Rivers 1, Cody Squiric 1, Donald Mesier 1, Curtis Parks 1.

Tackles_RMU, Zach Cooper 9-6-3. YSU, Dellovade 5-5-0.