By Nathanael Hawthorne
The Youngstown State University football team picked up a win against the Duquesne University Dukes. This win gives the team an undefeated 3-0 start to the season; a feat that hasn’t been accomplished since 2012.
“A lot of hard work has gone into this for the entire team,” freshman quarterback Mark Waid said. “Just to be 3-0, that’s our number one priority and now we’re building for 4-0… we’re really motivated and we know what our end goal is.”
In previous games for the Penguins, leading the offensive attack is the team’s rushing ability. After the first two games of the season, the Penguins led the FCS in rushing yards.
Coach Bo Pelini said the team didn’t run the football as good as they have in the past.
“We weren’t as efficient offensively as what we have been,” Pelini said.
Running back Joe Alessi chalks up their lack of the running game to preparedness on Duquesne’s part.
“I think they were prepared for the run this game,” Alessi said. “ I think they were ready going into the game thinking to stop the run… As soon as they started stopping the run, we threw it over their heads. Our quarterbacks did a really good job of reading the plays and did a really good job of throwing the football.”
The Penguins’ air raid helped lend a hand in the victory for YSU. Nathan Mays went eight for 11 for 131 yards, Joe Craycraft went one for one with a 31 yard touchdown pass to London Pearson.
Leading the way for the receivers was sophomore tight end Miles Joiner. He had 88 yards on three catches. Pearson had 31 yards on one reception, and five other receivers combined for 61 yards.
Tallying touchdowns for the Penguins were Mays, Waid, Christian Turner and Pearson.
Additionally, through three games, the defense has double the number of interceptions they had all season last year with six.
“That just shows how much we’re improving, and hopefully, we can keep getting more and more,” junior defensive back Bryce Gibson said. “We’re never gonna be satisfied as a defense. We’re always gonna find a way to get more turnovers.”
Penalties continued to be an issue for the Penguins. In one drive, the defense gave up 30 yards in penalties.
“We still have a lot of work to do on both sides of the ball,” Waid said. “We just got to take care of those and just become better and better every single day. That’s what it’s all about; being the best person and the best player you can every single day.”
The Penguins look forward to a bye week, but get back to work at home Saturday, Sept. 28 against Robert Morris University.