The Penguins scored 21 points in five minutes to cruise past Southwest Missouri State, 41-20.



The Penguins scored 21 points in five minutes to cruise past Southwest Missouri State, 41-20.
By PETE MOLLICA
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
YOUNGSTOWN -- Youngstown State took advantage of four Southwest Missouri State turnovers in the third period and blew open a close game on the way to a 41-20 victory Saturday at Stambaugh Stadium.
Before a crowd of 14,778, the Penguins scored three touchdowns in five minutes and won for the fifth time in six games, improving to 3-1 in the Gateway Conference.
Junior tailback P.J. Mays, the Gateway's leading rusher, rushed for 218 yards on 24 carries and scored three touchdowns.
Mays is also the conference's scoring leader with 13 touchdowns.
The YSU defense forced six turnovers against Southwest Missouri, which began the game leading the Gateway in turnover margin at plus-7.
The Penguins scored after four of those turnovers, including two times in the third quarter.
"I thought we played extremely hard," said YSU coach Jon Heacock. "There were times when we did things not so OK, but we ran the ball well.
Doing the basics: "For us to be successful we have to be able to run the football and to stop the run on defense," he added.
The Penguins did both Saturday, recording the 100th victory in Stambaugh Stadium.
YSU rushed 60 times for 393 yards, while senior quarterback Jeff Ryan threw just 11 passes, completing five for 38 yards, as the Penguins finished with 431 total yards.
The Bears (2-4, 0-3) managed just 53 yards on the ground. They attempted 51 passes and completed 27 for 353 yards, but were intercepted twice.
"I thought in the second half we did a better job against their passing game, but when you throw that many times you are going to complete some of them," Heacock said.
Mays' touchdown runs covered 29, 8 and 1 yards. Ryan scored on a 1-yard sneak, while senior fullback Jerry Johnson got his first career touchdown on a 1-yard run and Jerald Burley added a 24-yard touchdown run on an end-around.
Ball unhappy: Southwest Missouri State coach Randy Ball was disappointed with his team's mistakes.
"You don't turn the ball over that many times against a team like Youngstown State and expect to win," Ball said. "Youngstown is a team that thrives on turnovers."
The Penguins took the lead early in the first period. The Bears struggled to punt into a stiff 15 mph wind, and YSU started at their own 43.
They scored in three plays as Burley took the hand-off and scampered 24 yards for the score.
YSU forced a fumble on the next series as junior linebacker Jon Tekac hit Rod Rand in the secondary and junior linebacker Ken Baun recovered at the SMS 33.
Two plays later Mays took a pitch from Ryan on the option, got a block from Charles Mister and scored from 29 yards out.
The Bears scored in the second period on a 12-yard run by Eddie Linscomb, then added a 30-yard field goal by Brian Long to close to within 14-10.
Ryan then led an 80-yard, nine-play drive to put the Penguins ahead 21-10. With a first down at the SMS 44, Ryan was intercepted by Colin Johnson, but the Bears were penalized for roughing the quarterback.
Three plays later Mays took an option pitch from Ryan and scored from 8 yards out.
SMS added a 33-yard field goal by Long just before intermission.
Key period: Then came the third quarter, when everything went wrong for the Bears.
The Penguins took the second half kickoff and marched 76 yards. Mays had a 30-yard run and Ryan a 17-yarder before Ryan scored on a 1-yard sneak.
Linscomb returned the kickoff to the YSU 25, but quarterback Austin Moherman fumbled on second down and Bob Sivik recovered for the Penguins at the 31.
The Penguins were stopped and Kosta Karapetsas punted to the Bears' Richard Pickens, who fumbled at his own 5 and Antulio Aroche recovered at the 1. Mays scored on the next play.
Two plays after the kickoff junior defensive tackle Guy Mazard intercepted Moherman's pass and returned it to the 1. On the first play Johnson slashed over for the touchdown and the Penguins held a 41-10 lead.
The Bears scored late in the third period on an 11-yard pass from Moherman to Mark Marcos, but after that the Penguin defense took over.

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