COLLEGE FOOTBALL YSU, Pittsburgh agree to game at Heinz Field
The first meeting between the teams is scheduled for Sept. 24.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Youngstown State has finalized its football game with Pittsburgh.
The Penguins will play the Panthers on Sept. 24 at Heinz Field.
"We are very happy we were able to work a contract out with Pittsburgh to play against a great program in one of the most beautiful stadiums in college football," Youngstown State athletic director Ron Strollo said in a statement.
"Geographically, the trip is perfect for our fans from the Mahoning Valley to travel to the game. Also, with a solid alumni base in Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania, this gives those fans a chance to see Youngstown State play in their own back yard."
The so-called "money game" is the first in YSU history. Historically, the Penguins have opted for an extra home game, usually against a Division II school.
Coach Jon Heacock said his team will be excited to suit up against the Panthers.
"This is a great opportunity for the young people on our football team, our university and our community," Heacock said.
Tackling Division I-A
The contest will be Youngstown State's first against a Division I-A school since playing at Kent State in 2003. All-time, YSU is 19-17-1 against I-A schools since joining Div. I-AA in 1981.
All but five of the Penguins' games against I-A schools have been against members of the Mid-American Conference, with the only exceptions a contest at Central Florida in 1998 and four games against Cincinnati from 1981-85.
Pittsburgh lost 35-7 to undefeated Utah in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1. The Panthers finished the season 8-4 for former coach Walt Harris. Next season, Pittsburgh will be under the direction of former Chicago Bears and Miami Dolphins coach Dave Wannstedt. Pittsburgh was ranked 25th in the final Associated Press poll.
Youngstown native Matt Cavanaugh is a member of the Pittsburgh coaching staff, serving as offensive coordinator.
Next season, Pittsburgh will have at least two Valley natives on its roster -- offensive lineman Mike McGlynn, from Austintown Fitch, and defensive back Mike Phillips, from Warren Harding, will be juniors.