By Cameron Niemi
The Youngstown State University football team wrapped up its final home game of September. The Penguins hosted Robert Morris University and defeated the Colonials by a final of 48-28.
Youngstown’s run game continued to shine against Robert Morris. Seniors Tyshon King and Dra Rushton helped propel the team to victory. The running back duo combined for five touchdowns. This was the first time two YSU running backs scored multiple touchdowns in a game since 2016.
King had 12 carries for 124 yards and three touchdowns, averaging 9.8 yards per carry. Rushton had 14 carries for 55 yards and two of his own touchdowns.
The Penguins scored on their opening drive. Rushton capped off the drive with a 6-yard touchdown run taking an early lead in the first quarter. RMU blocked the extra point making it 6-0. The Colonials immediately responded with their own scoring drive and took a 7-6 lead in the first.
The ‘Guins responded with a quick five-play, 80-yard drive. King broke free for a 32-yard score, making it 13-7. Robert Morris once again took the lead early in the second quarter, 14-13.
The Penguin defense started to put together some stops, as they forced RMU to punt on its next three drives.
The offense went on to score two unanswered touchdowns before going into halftime. Rushton and King each scored on touchdown runs. At half, YSU led 27-14.
The Youngstown offense kept up the pressure. Senior quarterback Mitch Davidosn connected with junior tight-end Brandon Serrano for the touchdown pass in the third quarter.
Davidson was efficient in the passing game as he finished 21-of-25 for 325 yards, with one passing and one rushing touchdown. Davidson threw his first interception of the year and third of his collegiate career off a tipped pass in the second half of the game.
Davidson spoke after the game about the last non-conference game of the season and how he felt about the matchup.
“It’s about us at the end of the day, as our offense we were using this game to see who we are and what we can do. We found out who we are and what we can do,” Davidson said. “What we did was very successful today and we are gonna build upon that heading into this bye week.”
Junior C.J. Charleston was the leading receiver for Davidson, as he had six catches for 119 yards.
Senior Bryce Oliver also had six catches for 108 yards. This was also the first time since 2017 two Penguin wide receivers had over 100 receiving yards in the same game.
Robert Morris went on and scored two late-fourth quarter touchdowns.
Head coach Doug Phillips spoke on the teams performance and conference play on the rise in two weeks.
“Leave no doubt. We control what we can do,” Phillips said. “They are buying into that process, but understanding we are not there. I believe this team can be a really really good team. We gotta clean up some of the stuff we have, we are certainly gonna get challenged in the next eight weeks. I’m excited to go in and focus just on us and see the areas we need to get better at.”
The team now has a 2-1 record on the season as it heads into bye-week to prepare for eight-straight weeks of Missouri-Valley conference play. The Penguins have jumped back into the FCS coaches poll rankings, coming in at No. 24, their highest of this season.
Youngstown State will hit the road for its first conference game of the year to face the University of Northern Iowa on Sept. 30. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. To watch the game, go to ESPN+.