Youngstown, OH. — Last year, Missouri State celebrated an important MVFC win after knocking YSU out of playoff contention in dramatic fashion. This year, the roles switched as the Penguins froze the Bears playoff hopes completely and the vibes were positive as YSU disposed of Missouri State 44-28.
“You know, to have your home crowd, to have the band, you know I love seeing all the youth football leagues down there on the field, and you know, to have your family here, it always makes you a little more proud and humbled and grateful,” said coach Doug Phillips in his postgame presser.
The win raises YSU’s record to 5-3 and 3-2 in MVFC play, while Missouri State drops to 3-5 and 2-3 in MVFC play. With the win, YSU is now on a two game win streak and is looking to “leave no doubt” by winning out. On the contrary, first year coach Ryan Beard is trying to formulate a plan to pick up victories in a brutal stretch of games.
The Bears got off to a perfect start when Becks returned it 55 yards into YSU’s territory to open up the game. Missouri State would capitalize on the excellent field position when Pachot rushed into the end zone at the 13:44 mark of the first quarter.
The Penguins would respond relatively quickly when Davidson connected with Charleston on a 10-yard touchdown pass to tie the game up at 7 with 10:02 remaining in the first quarter. The touchdown was set up after Davidson threw a 45-yard dart to Oliver to put the Penguins on Missouri State’s 15 yard line.
A flash of complementary football would then occur for YSU as the defense forced a big three-and-out and the offense capitalized with a touchdown after some big plays. Charleston came up with a 32-yard catch to position the Penguins on the Bears 11 yard line, and then a 2-yard pass to Benio gave YSU its first lead of the day with 3:36 remaining in the first quarter.
The Bears found paydirt again with 8:18 remaining in the second quarter, when Wright rushed 45 yards to the house, 14-14.
YSU retook the lead when Davidson threw a dime to his favorite target, Oliver, with 6:10 remaining in the second quarter to make the game 21-14.
More complementary football would be showcased by the Penguins to help the momentum shift dramatically. It all started with an incredible sack by Lee with 5:01 remaining before half that forced the Bears to punt. The offense then drove down the field and scored on a Davidson touchdown pass to Oliver, 28-14. The defense would then get another stop and the offense would put 3 more points on the board to extend YSU’s lead to 31-14 heading into half.
To open the second half, Cyrus Traugh caught a pass and ran 57-yards to position the Penguins on the Bears one-yard line. Rushton finished the drive off as he plunged into the endzone to make the score 38-14 with 12:54 remaining in the third quarter.
Missouri State would swing the momentum on their side and show some moments of complementary football when they scored on their first two possessions of the third quarter to get within 10 points.
Pachot hit Wright on a wheel route to make the score 38-21 with 10:12 remaining in the third quarter.
Missouri State drove all the way down the field on their next possession and Pachot found Lance Mason at the 4:52 mark of the third quarter, 38-28.
The Bears were looking to make it a one score game on their next possession, but Jakubec intercepted Pachot with 14:34 left in the contest to complement the offense.
The offense stalled out in Missouri State’s territory and Lastovka kicked a 29-yard field goal to give the Penguins some comfort at 41-28 with 8:21 remaining in the contest.
The defense would get another stop for the Penguins and Lastovka would kick another field goal with 2:17 remaining in the game to seal the victory, final 44-28.
Pachot finished the day going 25/38 for 341 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception. Sharpe was Pachot’s top target as he tallied 8 catches for 109 yards. Wright and Moses combined for 119 yards on the ground, but the Bears finished with 94 total rushing yards due to sack yards factoring in. Davidson had a career day as he went 26/33 for 390 yards and 4 touchdowns. Oliver was the best receiver on the day with 6 receptions for an impressive 169 yards and 2 touchdowns. Dra Rushton was the leading rusher for the Penguins carrying the ball 15 times for 56 yards and a touchdown.
Next week, YSU hits the road to take on Indiana State in another important MVFC showdown. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.
The offense had another outstanding day. The passing game was on point, and it appeared that Missouri State was committed to loading the box to limit YSU’s rushing attack. The ground game worked in big moments, but most of the time Davidson had to rise up and make a big play or two. The offensive line protected well on pass plays and didn’t have many penalties; they blocked well given that their starting center was out. A couple of redshirt freshmen have been getting some reps, including quarterback Beau Brungard who threw a 25-yard strike. I wouldn’t be surprised if the coaching staff unleashes some of these young guys in the next couple of weeks. Overall, the offense delivered an 'A' grade performance against Missouri State.
On the defensive side of things, I think we saw some really good moments and some really bad moments. The secondary definitely stepped it up vs a very good passing attack, but I want to see those guys execute for 60+ minutes. Getting a turnover was huge for the defense, and more of those need to be generated in the next couple of weeks. The defensive line and the linebackers have to play well for 60+ minutes as well. When they aren’t on their game, teams make explosive plays, and that puts the secondary in rough positions. When they are on their game, things look pretty, and the defense gets off the field quickly. I need to see YSU play 60+ minutes of football vs Indiana State and get a much-needed MVFC win. Overall, the defense gets a B- for their performance vs Missouri State.
Special Teams struggled at moments on kick coverage and positioned our defense in brutal positions, that has to be better. Field goals and punting were fine for us. We need to start making something happen on punt returns to help position our offense. If we return the ball 10-15 yards on a punt, the rest will take care of itself, especially with how talented our offense is. I think the special teams unit deserves a B+ for their performance vs Missouri State.