Bald Eagles hurt by missed chances
The Bald Eagles' defense got tired in the second half.
By BRIAN RICHESSON
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
YOUNGSTOWN -- Lock Haven's best opportunities in its 38-7 loss to Youngstown State came in the second quarter.
The Bald Eagles intercepted Penguin quarterbacks Colby Street and Jeff Ryan, and recovered a fumbled snap on another play.
But when the offense took over following each turnover, its time on the field was short-lived. The Penguins' defense held time and again.
"We have got to get something out of our offense," Lock Haven coach Mark Luther said. "They cannot leave the defense on the field like that. The defense did get tired, and it showed in the second half."
Little offense: Lock Haven played its first game with red-shirt freshman quarterback Bill Witmer. The transfer from Clarion completed 6-for-19 passes for 59 yards before being replaced by senior Brian Genis in the third quarter.
"We didn't have a lot of opportunities, but when we did, we couldn't do anything with them and we weren't getting any first downs," said Luther, whose team finished with 10 first downs.
Still, Luther wasn't surprised by Youngstown State's stingy defense.
"We knew coming in that it was going to be difficult for us to do some things offensively," Luther said. "We knew they were going to get eight, nine guys at the line of scrimmage to shut down the run and force us to throw. They knew we had an inexperienced quarterback and a young offensive line."
Stayed in there: Youngstown State scored 23.4 seconds before halftime to lead 14-0. At that point, Luther was pleased with how his team had hung in the game.
"This was a gauge for us to see where we were from last year," said Luther, whose team finished 3-8 in 2000. "We did a lot of good things in the off-season, and it showed tonight."
Any chance Lock Haven had for an opening-night upset ended when the second half began. Consecutive touchdowns by Youngstown State -- P.J. Mays' 32-yard run and Darius Peterson's 36-yard run after his blocked punt -- put the Penguins in command.
Saw it coming: "When they drove right down the field on us, I knew their strength and depth was taking over," said Luther of Mays' touchdown that capped a seven-play, 80-yard drive. "They're a premier Division I-AA program and we're not a very good Div. II program trying to get up to a better level."
Lock Haven lost its 2000 opener 72-0 to James Madison.
"We're going to definitely follow [Youngstown State] because if they have a great season, our kids can build on it," Luther said. "We competed with them and we didn't back down. Our kids know they just played a hell of a football team."