A Look Ahead for YSU Football as Conference Play Looms

By Joshua Fitch

After ending the non-conference portion of the 2018 schedule with a 42-7 win over Valparaiso University, the Youngstown State University football team looks to gear up for Missouri Valley Football Conference.

Photo by Brent Bigelow/The Jambar

First Three Games

Through three games, the Penguins have a 1-2 record after dropping the first two games of the season to Butler University, 23-21, and West Virginia University, 52-17.

Tevin McCaster eclipsed the 2,000-yard mark for his YSU career in the win against Valpo. In the matchup, McCaster rushed for 141 yards and three touchdowns.

Montgomery VanGorder has done a nice job leading this offense. Through three games, VanGorder has 593 yards, seven touchdowns and one interception. He has a 58.1 completion percentage.

Let’s look ahead at MVFC schedule for the Penguins with previews of the teams.

Sept. 29 at 4 p.m.

The Penguins first matchup is on the road against Western Illinois University. The Leathernecks are currently 1-2.

After losses to Montana State University and the University of Illinois, the Leathernecks bounced back in week three, beating the University of Montana, 31-27.

YSU beat WIU, 23-21, in the team’s last meeting in 2015.

Steve McShane, senior running back, was named MVFC special teams player of the week after a 58-yard punt return for a touchdown in the win against Montana.

Oct. 6 at 6 p.m.

The Penguins welcome the Southern Illinois University Salukis, who currently have a record of 1-2. After beating Murray State University in week one, the Salukis dropped back-to-back games against the University of Mississippi and Southeast Missouri State University.

YSU beat SIU, 28-20, in 2017 as the Penguins recorded four takeaways.

Oct. 13 at 3 p.m.

YSU will hit the road to face South Dakota State. The Jackrabbits are undefeated in 2018 after wins against Montana State University, 45-14, and the University of Arkansas Pine-Bluff, 90-6.

The Jackrabbits are averaging 67.5 points per game, while only giving up 10 points per game. SDSU’s offense scored a whopping 19 touchdowns through two games.

In 2017, the Penguins beat the Jackrabbits, 19-7.

Oct. 20 at 6 p.m.

After returning home from SDSU, the Penguins face off against the University of South Dakota at home.

The Coyotes also have a record of 1-2 so far in 2018. After losing, 27-24, to Kansas State University, the Coyotes beat the University of Northern Colorado, 43-28, before losing in week three, 27-10, to Weber State University.

The Coyotes are averaging 402 yards of total offense while allowing 370. Fourth quarters have been the Achilles heel for the Coyotes, getting outscored by opponents, 35-16, after three weeks of play.

The Penguins will try to do its work in the third quarter as the Coyotes haven’t scored a single point in third quarters so far during the 2018 campaign.

Oct. 27 at 2 p.m.

For the second consecutive week, the Penguins will play at the Ice Castle, this time with a matchup against Indiana State University, currently sporting a 2-1 record.

After beating Quincy University, 49-0, they lost to the University of Louisville, 31-7, before returning home to beat Eastern Illinois University, 55-41.

In the EIU win, the Sycamores had 326 yards on the ground and 209 yards through the air.

Running back Ja’Quan Keys was named MVFC offensive player of the week after rushing for a career-high 232 yards on 34 carries while scoring four times.

YSU beat ISU, 66-24, in 2017.

Nov. 3 at 3:30 p.m.

With just three games left in the 2018 regular season, YSU travels to North Dakota State University.

The Bison are 2-0 thus far. NDSU beat California Polytechnic State University, 49-3, to open the season and handled University of North Alabama, 38-7, in week two.

Last season, NDSU beat YSU in an overtime affair, 27-24. In that game, McCaster tied the game with just over a minute left in regulation, capping a 90-yard drive for the Penguins. In overtime, Cam Pedersen hit a 36-yard field goal that proved to be the difference maker.

Nov. 10 at 12 p.m.

In YSU’s final home game of 2018, the Penguins welcome the University of Northern Iowa.

The Panthers are the only team in the conference without a win in 2018 after losing to Montana, 26-23, and the University of Iowa, 34-18.

The Panthers beat the Penguins, 19-14, in 2017.

Nov. 17 at 1 p.m.

In the final regular season game, the Penguins finish on the road, this time with a matchup against Illinois State University. Following wins against Saint Xavier and EIU, the Redbirds sit without a loss so far this season.

Under head coach Brock Spack, ISU is scoring 47 points per game, which is top-4 in the FCS. The Redbirds are currently second in scoring defense, allowing just five points per game.

Quarterback Brady Davis was named MVFC newcomer for the second consecutive week according to the league office. Through two weeks, Davis is 29 for 42 passing, including five touchdowns, 440 yards and no interceptions.

In 2017, the Penguins fell to the Redbirds, 35-0.