By Will Clark
Coming off a hard-fought win against Western Illinois University last week, the Youngstown State University football team squared off against the Missouri State University Bears in an important Missouri Valley conference game. The Penguins made a statement against the Bears in YSU’s 47-7 win on Saturday.
From the start of the game, YSU (5-4, 3-3 MVFC) ran the football down the Bears’ throat. Missouri State couldn’t come with an answer to stop the Penguins run game. Even though YSU came up short and finished with a 20-yard field goal from kicker Zak Kennedy in their first drive, it was only the start of the landslide coming the Bears way.
On the second drive, quarterback Hunter Wells was able to connect with wide receiver Andrew Williams in a short six-yard touchdown pass to put the Penguins up 10-0 early in the first quarter.
YSU continued to dominate Missouri State (1-8, 0-6) through much of the first half. Wells was able to connect for 10-18 passes and threw for a total of a179 yards, three touchdowns and a late interception in the second quarter. Running back Jody Webb ran for a total of 95 yards, averaging 11.9 yards per carry. Followed up by Martin Ruiz who ran for 70 yards and one touchdown.
The Penguins had a total of 402 yards of total offense, finishing up the first half with the score 38-7.
“We started running the ball good the offensive line started blocking really good for our running backs and the running backs were running the ball good,” said Wells. “The running played a big part of our success today.”
YSU continued to attack Missouri State on both sides of the ball. The Bears had a tough time trying to move the ball against the Penguins defense. During the first quarter YSU cornerback David Rivers was able to pick off Missouri State quarterback Brodie Lambert — which created another scoring drive for the Penguins offense. Missouri State was able to put a late score in the second quarter after Wells’ interception. The Bears had total of 76-yards of total offense in the first half.
“We had a pretty complete performance. I thought [the] approach was pretty good, I don’t think that we took this team lightly. I thought we took care of business,” said head coach Bo Pelini. “Overall I think we played pretty good.”
The Penguins continued to add points through the second half, scoring an additional nine points to put the Penguins up 47-7.
“It was very impressive on every aspect of the game. The offensive line did a great job again. It starts up front everyone knows that. They stepped up and raised to the occasion,” said Wells.
The Missouri State offense continued to struggle throughout the second half. The Penguins kept the pressure up and didn’t allow the Bears back on the board. During the second half the Bears were only able create an additional 31 yards of offense.
“We respected how Missouri State played, but we came out and executed very well on both sides of the ball,” said defensive end Derek Rivers. “With credit to our defense as a whole everyone is playing a lot faster the combination between the secondary and up front we got their backs and they got our back, and I feel like this is the best we’ve been playing.”