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Savage says defense slips



Published: Wed, September 6, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



By PETE MOLLICA

VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF

YOUNGSTOWN -- When Youngstown State's defense didn't come right out and shut down Slippery Rock's offense in last Thursday's 51-21 victory by the Penguins, Mychal Savage was somewhat disappointed.

A 6-foot-2, 290-pound sophomore defensive tackle, Savage expected his unit to be on top of its game right from the start.

"I really expected us to come right out and shut them down and when it didn't happen it was disappointing, but at the same time it was a learning experience," said Savage, of Hartsdale, N.J.

Savage, who earned Gateway Conference all-newcomer honors a year ago, will lead the Penguins in search of their second victory of the season, when they play host to Maine at 4 p.m. at Stambaugh Stadium.

"It came down to basic fundamentals and techniques and we didn't perform well last week," Savage said.

"We came back well in the second half and played much better."

Youngstown State was one of three schools Savage had considered coming out of New Rochelle High School, and he felt the Penguins were the best fit for him.

He also said that he wasn't really surprised that he came to YSU and made an immediate impact in the starting lineup.

Well-prepared

"I thought my coaches in high school did a great job of preparing me for what I was to meet in college, so it didn't surprise me that I moved right in my first season," Savage said.

He played in 10 games last year, starting seven, and finished with 27 total tackles.

Last week against Slippery Rock, he had a career-high five tackles and was named the Jermaine Hopkins defensive lineman of the game.

"There is a lot of talent on this unit and we are only going to get better as the season goes on," Savage said.

"We really didn't show a lot of stunts or blitzes in the opener and we'll be showing more as the season progresses."

Joining Savage in the weekly honors was junior guard Josh Tanner (6-2, 305), who earned the Jim Zdelar offensive lineman of the game.

The Hill, Barth and King offensive player of the game was senior tailback Marcus Mason (5-10, 215) who rushed for 101 yards on 17 carries and scored three touchdowns.

The defensive player of the game was senior linebacker Marty Hutchinson (6-4, 220), who had 11 total tackles, including one for a loss, and he had one fumble recovery and one pass breakup.

Bishop's punts special

Special teams honors went to senior punter Joe Bishop, who averaged 40 yards on two punts and his booming high kickoffs kept Slippery Rock deep in a hole throughout the contest.

Senior linebacker James Terry had the Wash-on-Wheels Derek Pixley hit of the week, while sophomore guard Brad Samsa (6-3, 280) was named the Haines Family player of the game selected by the YSU radio broadcast team.

A new award this season is the Wachovia Leadership Award and it went to senior lineman Joe DeBee.

mollica@vindy.com




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