YSU FOOTBALL Attitude adjustment key for 'D'
The defense defeated the offense in a scrimmage to earn the red practice jerseys for the regular season.
By PETE MOLLICA
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
YOUNGSTOWN -- Nate Baston and Matt Briggs can't wait until today's practice to put on their new jerseys.
Tuesday afternoon, the defense defeated the offense in Youngstown State's final jersey scrimmage, 57-55, at Stambaugh Stadium.
The offense had dominated the two jersey scrimmages during spring practice, but the defense showed its improvement in the one that counted and will wear the red practice jerseys for the regular season.
"The defense has improved a lot since spring," said coach Jon Heacock. "They're finally learning where they need to line up, and the key is they are playing with a lot of enthusiasm.
"The key to defense is all attitude and it's hard to play with attitude when you're not sure what you're doing out there," he added.
Baston and Briggs both said they feel a lot more comfortable now than in the spring.
"We know what we're doing out there now," Baston said. "It allows us to make more plays on the defensive line.
"We've still got some guys banged up and when they get back we'll have even more depth there."
Briggs has practiced this fall at both defensive tackle and end.
"With our injuries I might just continue to be used at both positions," he said.
The offense, which breezed to wins in the first two scrimmages, struggled early before finally making a game of it.
The offense, which trailed 24-18 at one point, scored only one touchdown in its first five series.
Freshman redshirt quarterback Tom Zetts, who has taken the starting role, connected on a 53-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Phil Larmon, while senior Nick Terracina kicked a 33-yard field goal to give the offense an 18-16 lead.
But, senior defensive back Mike Bracken scooped up a fumble by freshman redshirt Rory Berry and raced 52 yards for a touchdown to put the defense back on top.
After Terracina missed field goal attempts from 42, 27 and 45 yards, the defense was still ahead 34-26. One of Terracina's field goals was blocked by senior transfer Jason Eisele.
The offense closed the gap when freshman redshirt quarterback Vince Gliatta tossed a 14-yard touchdown pass to senior tight end Mike Roberts, and on the next series, junior quarterback Aaron Marshall hit sophomore wideout Tyler Morton with an 18-yard scoring pass to put the offense ahead, 40-36.
Terracina added a 39-yard field goal before the defense rallied. It held the offense on two straight possessions, then Jason Perry, who also had the scrimmage's only interception, blocked Terracina's field goal from 30 yards.
The offense made one last charge behind Marshall, who fired a perfect strike to junior Kyle Smith on a 50-yard scoring play.
The offense's final attempt failed when junior linebacker Brandon Brown sacked Zetts.
Zetts, who completed only 8-of-22 passes and missed his final seven, threw for 153 yards and one touchdown, while Marshall was 8-of-17 for 142 yards and two scores. Gliatta was 6-of-7 for 41 yards and a touchdown.
By the numbers
Sophomore fullback Demetrius Ison led the rushers with 53 yards on three carries, including the longest run of 39 yards. Sophomore transfer Regis Edgerson had 20 yards on six carries, while sophomore Monquantae Gibson added 15 yards on seven tries and junior Josh Cayson had 17 yards on six carries.
Senior wide receiver Matt Rycraft had four catches for 75 yards, while Smith added two for 59 and Roberts two for 27.
Sophomore linebacker Jeremiah Wright led with seven tackles, including two for loss, while junior linebacker Joe Juby had six tackles. Redshirt freshman linebacker Peter Berthold also had a fumble recovery.
The Penguins were scheduled to practice today at 3 p.m. and will hold their final two-a-day sessions Thursday at 8:15 a.m. and 3:20 p.m. There is a rehearsal session Friday at 8:15 a.m. and they are taking Saturday off.