COLLEGE FOOTBALL Baun, Mays named YSU's top players
They were selected after the Penguins' season-opening win over Lock Haven.
By PETE MOLLICA
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
YOUNGSTOWN -- Ken Baun grew up in Canfield watching the successful run of the Youngstown State University football team.
When he became a two-way standout on the Cardinal football team, Baun had only one goal -- to play football for the Penguins.
Now a junior linebacker, Baun is fulfilling that dream as a starter on the 2001 Penguin defense and his first game was one of his best.
In YSU's 38-7 victory over Lock Haven last week, Baun made four tackles, three of them unassisted and two of them in the Lock Haven backfield for 13 yards in losses.
He also had a quarterback sack and a pass deflection at the line of scrimmage.
Award: For his efforts, the 6-3, 223-pound performer was named the MVR Defensive Player of the Game.
"I grew up watching YSU football and their championship years and I always wanted to play here," Baun said. "I never really thought about playing anywhere else.
"I was recruited here as a defensive back, but was told that I'd probably be putting on some weight and that I could be moved around," he said.
Baun actually played some running back briefly for the Penguins, but ended up back with the defense.
He was red-shirted his freshman season and in 1999 earned Scout Team player of the week three times.
Previously: Last season, he was a backup at linebacker and played in 11 games, finishing with 10 tackles and played on most all special teams.
This season, he's moved into a starting position at the outside linebacker spot.
"I love playing linebacker because I really enjoy hitting people," Baun said. "It's a lot of fun.'"
Baun feels good about this year's defense.
"It was good out there in the first game," he said. "People were running to the football and it was exciting. We've still got a long way to go, but we've got some good talent on that side of the ball and we're going to get better.
Mays cited: While Baun took the defensive honors, junior running back P.J. Mays, the second-year transfer from Cincinnati and a Youngstown native, took offensive honors.
The 5-9, 205-pound back rushed for a career-high 226 yards on 21 carries and scored once. He was also named the Gateway Conference Offensive Player of the Week.
The MVR special teams player of the week honors went to sophomore transfer Darius Peterson, who rushed through to block a Lock Haven punt and then scooped it up and raced 36 yards for a touchdown.
The offensive and defensive linemen awards went to seniors Pat Crummey and Todd Blackwell.
Crummey, the 6-4, 285 pound tackle from Van Wert, led an offensive line that helped produce 450 yards of total offense, including 336 yards on the ground.
Standout: Blackwell, a 6-3, 278-pound tackle, was a standout on the defensive front that limited Lock Haven to just 199 total yards and just 71 rushing yards.
Sophomore linebacker Chris DiMauro of Akron came up with the Wash-on-Wheels Derek Pixley Hit of the Week on the Lock Haven wide receiver in the first quarter of play.
The Haines Family Player of the Game, selected by the YSU Radio Broadcast team, was Mays.
Saturday, the Penguins will take on Clarion University in a 7 p.m. kickoff at Stambaugh Stadium.