The first four weeks of the Eric Wolford era started with tremendous promise, with the Penguins scoring a milestone touchdown against Penn State (their first in the so-called “money games”), matching the school record for points in a game (63, against Central Connecticut State) and handing Southern Illinois its first league loss in 14 games.
As for the rest of the year? Well, that didn’t turn out so great.
After a 3-1 start, YSU lost its final seven games to finish last in the Missouri Valley Football Conference for just the second time in school history.
The 3-8 mark was YSU’s worst since 1986 and was marked by a maddening tendency to lose in the most painful way possible.
Three of those losses came when YSU coughed up the lead in the final 90 seconds, including a 41-39 loss to Indiana State on a 40-yard Hail Mary with less than a second left.
Another loss (Missouri State) came when the Penguins blew a 17-point lead and another came when YSU failed to convert two TD chances at the Indiana State on the game’s final two plays.
“Anything I’ve ever accomplished in my life has never come easy,” said Wolford. “Nothing good comes easy. If we had won some of those close games, we might have had a perception that we’re better than we are.
“Everybody who watches us play knows we’re going to be better.”
Considering all the last-minute losses, it’s hard to imagine they’ll be any worse.