Junior David Tabor sparked the Golden Panthers' comeback.
By BRIAN RICHESSON
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
YOUNGSTOWN -- Before Florida International stunned the Youngstown State football team with a dramatic second-half comeback, there was Don Strock's version of the game.
"They ran up and down the field on us like they were marching to dinner and they were hungry," the Florida International coach said of the Penguins' first-half effort against his team.
Youngstown State enjoyed a 13-0 halftime lead, which it increased to 16-3 with just under 10 minutes remaining in the game.
That's when Strock made a key decision.
"In the fourth quarter we had our opportunities, but we weren't hitting them," he said. "So we went to my oldest quarterback."
Off the bench
Out stepped sophomore starter Josh Padrick and in stepped junior David Tabor, who sparked the Golden Panthers to a 22-16 overtime victory.
"He reminded me of myself in my younger day, coming in off the bench," said Strock, a former quarterback with the Miami Dolphins and Cleveland Browns. "He did a tremendous job and brought us back to victory."
After Nick Terracina's 21-yard field goal gave Youngstown State its 16-3 lead early in the fourth, Tabor went to work.
He led the Golden Panthers on back-to-back touchdown drives to tie the score at 16.
"I've done it so many times before," Tabor said of his relief role. "I bring to the offense more of a relaxed atmosphere. The guys know what I can do, so they feel comfortable and confident."
Florida International had built so much momentum from its fourth-quarter surge that it had Youngstown State reeling.
"It happens so fast and so slow at the same time," YSU sophomore running back Monquantae Gibson said of losing the lead. "I don't know what happened. Those are the points you can call unanswered."
Once in overtime, Tabor didn't waste any time. He directed Florida International to a touchdown on its first drive, stunning the Penguins.
"It hurts. It's tough. It was a tough game," Youngstown State senior Matt Rycraft said. "They gave us a couple of chances -- they missed two extra points, and we just didn't take advantage. We didn't execute the way we should have."