Canfield graduate Ken Baum had a strong game with a sack and two tackles for a loss.
By PETE MOLLICA
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
YOUNGSTOWN -- There wasn't a 20-tackle performance like Youngstown State was used to the last two seasons by Tim Johnson, but the Penguins' defense was still impressive in the season opening victory over Lock Haven.
Senior linebacker Mike Thomas led YSU with seven tackles, including one for a loss. Canfield High graduate Ken Baun, a junior linebacker, had four tackles, including two for loss, and a third was the Penguins' only sack of the game. He was also credited with a pass deflection at the line of scrimmage.
"I thought we played pretty well for the first game," Baun said. "We still have a long way to go and have to improve on a few things this week in practice."
Heacock happy: YSU coach Jon Heacock was also pleased with the defense. He was the Penguins' defensive coordinator for seven seasons before succeeding Jim Tressel in January.
"I thought the defense played hard and they handled the situations well," he added.
Youngstown State held the Eagles to just 71 yards rushing and 199 total. Lock Haven had only 63 total yards in the first half.
The Eagles had 15 possessions in the game and the Penguins forced them to punt on 12 of them. Two others were stopped by an interception and a fumble, and Lock Haven had one scoring drive, which was set up by a YSU fumble.
Big block: One of the Eagles' punts was blocked by Darius Peterson and returned for a touchdown.
The YSU interception was by senior strong safety Bruce Hightower early in the fourth period, the sixth of his career.
Senior defensive tackle Todd Blackwell had the fumble recovery, his first ever, which also came in the final period.
The Penguins had seven tackles for losses and six other pass deflections. Junior linebacker Russell Stuvaints, who had six tackles, led the Penguins with five solo stops.