YSU Rushing Attack Leaves Blue Devils Looking for Answers

By Rick Henneman

The Youngstown State University football team (2-1) entered Saturday’s game against Central Connecticut State University (0-3) looking to end its non-conference schedule with a win. The Penguins would cruise to beat the Blue Devils 59-9.

Nathan Mays started at quarterback for YSU in place of the injured Hunter Wells.

YSU running back Tevin McCaster made his presence known on the Penguins’ second drive of the game. McCaster found the end zone on a 60-yard rush that put YSU up 7-0 with 4:34 left in the first quarter.

“I thought we did great today,” McCaster said about the team’s rushing performance. “We did what we were supposed to do on the ground. They were a good team but our line did a great job today. I put it all on our line.”

The Penguins rushing attack continued to find success in the first as running back Christian Turner scored his first career rushing touchdown on a 3-yard run at the end of the first quarter. YSU had 131 yards on the ground in the first.

Nathan Mays (7) runs in his first of two touchdowns in YSU’s 59-9 win. Photo by Marc Weems/ The Jambar

Mays showed off his ability on the ground with a 39-yard touchdown run to extend the Penguins’ lead to 21-0 with 10:01 left in the second quarter.

CCSU had no answer for the YSU ground game as a 48-yard run from Mays set the Penguins up on the 1-yard line. Tight end Shane Kuhn punched it in for the score and put YSU up 28-0.

Near the end of the second quarter, Zak Kennedy hit a 36-yard field goal to increase the YSU lead to 31-0 at halftime.

The Penguins started the second half with the ball and marched down field on a 10-play, 75-yard drive capped off by a 2-yard touchdown run from Mays.

The Blue Devils got on the board for the first time with a 9-play, 78-yard drive that was finished by a 5-yard rushing touchdown from Cameron Nash. The YSU special teams stepped up and blocked the extra point attempt to make the score 38-6 with 7:25 left in the third quarter.

“We played better than we did last week,” linebacker Lee Wright said about the defense. “We gave up a long run. They caught us with the same play twice but we will work on that and make sure it doesn’t happen in the future.”

Ricky Davis took over at quarterback for Mays on the ensuing possession after starting the season as a wide receiver. Yet another YSU running back found success in this game as Joe Alessi found the end zone on a 6-yard run with 4:00 left in the third quarter.

YSU continued to pour it on with a 16-yard touchdown run from Davis. YSU led 52-6 with 2:38 left in the third.

Defensive end Ma’lik Richmond entered the game for the Penguins near the end of the third quarter. Richmond was granted a temporary restraining order from a federal judge in order to play in Saturday’s game.

The fourth quarter opened up with much of the same for YSU. A 32-yard touchdown rush from Davis tied the school record for most rushing touchdowns in a game with eight. YSU led 59-6 with 14:50 left in the game.

“Our offensive line has been playing really well,” YSU Head Coach Bo Pelini said. “As good as it looked at times I know we can get even better.”

CCSU kicker Frankie Palmer put up the last points of the game with a 37-yard field goal.

The Penguins rushed for 496 yards on 51 attempts and never had to punt the ball away.

“We took care of our business and did some good things,” Pelini said. “I thought we beat a team we should have beat and now we will turn our attention forward.”

YSU will suit up against South Dakota State University on Sept. 30 at 7:00 p.m. at Stambaugh Stadium.