Penguins Bounce Bison in Home Opener

Photo by Brent Bigelow/The Jambar

By Nathanael Hawthorne

Youngstown State University came out on top 54-28 against Howard University, but coach Bo Pelini was not pleased with the team’s performance.

Pelini said although the offense wasn’t perfect, the issues in the game occurred within the defense and special teams.

The offensive unit for YSU totaled 640 yards, which is the sixth-most yards in a single game in the university’s football history. The team ran for 454 yards — the fourth most rushing yards for a single game. 

The Penguins also ran for six of the teams eight touchdowns.

Photo by Brent Bigelow/The Jambar

“That’s what good football teams do, that’s how you win championships,” Pelini said about the rushing attack. “You better establish yourself in the run game, and that’s what we’ve been able to do in the first two weeks.”

During a post game press conference, Pelini said although the team came out victorious, it was undisciplined football.

“I’m embarrassed of our performance,” he said.

“You can’t have the penalties … We didn’t play up to our standard,” he said. “There were some good things, we won the football game, but if that’s our standard we’ve got some serious issues.”

The first drive for Howard should have started around midfield, but penalties plagued the defense. An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the Penguins’ previous punt gave the Howard good field position to start their drive, but the penalties didn’t stop there.

Photo by Brent Bigelow/The Jambar

The Penguin defense also got flagged for a pass interference and defensive holding penalties, giving Howard great field position, which led to a Bison touchdown.

Offensively, leading the way for the Penguins was quarterback Nathan Mays who connected with his receivers eight times on 14 attempts. Mays tallied 182 yards for two touchdowns, while throwing one interception.

Sophomore Braxton Chapman led the rushing attack with 132 yards and one touchdown on eight carries. Junior London Pearson had 126 yards and one touchdown on six carries.

Both Chapman and Pearson had runs over 70 yards — 78 and 75, respectively.

Christian Turner, Joe Alessi and Nathan Mays all had a touchdown.

In the air, senior Jermiah Braswell had 99 yards with one touchdown in three catches. Ryan Emans also had a touchdown for the receivers.

The offense and defense both believe the team isn’t playing to their full potential.

Sophomore defensive tackle Antoine Cook said the team is better than their performance against the Bison.

“That ain’t Youngstown football … We got a lot of stuff to work on, and we got to fix the mental mistakes we put out there,” Cook said.

“It can be very dangerous if all 11 people do a job no matter who’s in,” Braswell said. “I think you got a glimpse of that today, but we still gotta get better.”

Chapman said the team needs to keep taking it one week at a time.

“We gotta keep getting better,” he said.

Photo by Brent Bigelow/The Jambar

According to Pelini, the issues with the game started with his coaching. 

“I didn’t coach it well enough, our coaches didn’t coach it well enough and we didn’t play well enough,” he said.

The Penguins take on Duquesne University next week at home. Kickoff is slated for 2 p.m. at the Ice Castle.