YSU's 8-3 not good enough
While the Penguins are out, three teams who were on the bubble with YSU got in with the same records.
By PETE MOLLICA
VINDICATOR SPORT STAFF
YOUNGSTOWN -- Despite Saturday's tremendous effort in the season finale against No. 20-ranked Marshall University, the Youngstown State University football team was not selected to participate in this year's NCAA I-AA playoffs.
For the second time since 1996, the Penguins were left out despite an 8-3 record.
The omission is no surprise -- the Penguins knew they needed a victory over Marshall to assure a playoff spot and they almost pulled it off before bowing 38-24 to The Herd.
The Penguins trailed Marshall 31-24 and were at the Marshall 1-yard line, but failed to get the ball into the end zone on a fourth-down play.
In the closing seconds, YSU senior quarterback Jeff Ryan threw an interception that was returned 76 yards for Marshall's final score.
While the Penguins are out, three teams who were on the bubble with YSU got in with 8-3 records.
Grizzlies: Montana (10-1), the Big Sky champion, is the No. 1 seed and will be home against Northwestern State (8-3), the third team out of the Southland Conference.
Georgia Southern, the two-time I-AA defending champion, is seeded No. 2 and will host Florida A & amp;M (7-3), the champion of the Mid-Eastern Conference.
Furman, the second team in the Southland Conference, was seeded No. 3 and will play host to Western Kentucky (8-3), the number two team in YSU's Gateway Conference.
The No. 4 seed is Eastern Illinois (9-1), the champion of the Ohio Valley Conference and will host Northern Iowa (9-2) and the champions of the Gateway Conference.
The other first round matchups include McNeese State (8-3 and the champions of the Southland) playing host to Maine (8-2), the number two team in the Atlantic 10.
Sam Houston State (9-2), the number two team in the Southlands, plays host to Northern Arizona (8-3 and second in the Big Sky).
Lehigh (10-0), the champion of the Patriot League, plays host to Hofstra (9-2), the champion of the Atlantic 10.
Appalachian State (8-3), the No. 3 team out of the Southern Conference, will play host to William & amp; Mary (8-3), the No. 3 team in the Atlantic 10.
Youngstown State was one of six teams the NCAA I-AA selection committee chairman Dennis Thomas said was right on the bubble.
Others: The other five teams, all with 8-3 records, are Eastern Kentucky, North Carolina A & amp;T, Tennessee State, Rhode Island and Villanova.
The final total shows that the Atlantic 10, Southern, and Southland Conference sent three teams into the playoffs, while the Gateway and Big Sky sent two teams. The Mid-Eastern, OVC and Patriot each had one representative.
First-rounds games are slated for Saturday. The second round is set Dec. 8 with the semifinals set for Dec. 15.
The I-AA championship game will be Dec. 21 at Chattanooga, Tenn.