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No playoffs: Penguins denied berth in FCS postseason

Published: Mon, November 19, 2012 @ 12:10 a.m.

By Joe Scalzo



For the first time since 2006, the Youngstown State football team finished a season with seven Division I wins.

It needed eight.

Less than 24 hours after a dominating win over Indiana State, the Penguins (7-4, 4-4 Missouri Valley) extended their FCS playoff drought to six seasons when they were passed over for one of the 10 at-large spots.

Appalachian State athletic director Charlie Cobb, the chairman of an 11-person selection committee that included YSU athletic director Ron Strollo, said the group considered 26 teams for at-large bids, with MVFC member South Dakota State (8-3) and Big South co-champion Stony Brook (9-2) snagging the final two.

MVFC champion North Dakota State, the defending national champions, got the No. 1 overall seed and conference member Illinois State also got an at-large bid. But the nation’s top-rated conference will only have three playoff teams, the same number as the Big Sky (No. 2 in the Gridiron Power Index) and the Colonial Athletic Association (No. 6).

YSU’s fate was sealed with an 0-4 record in October that included road losses to NDSU (48-7), Illinois State (35-28) and SDSU (41-28) and a home loss to Southern Illinois (38-21). The ISU loss was particularly damaging since the Penguins led 28-7.

While the Penguins’ resume featured a win over Big East member Pitt, their 4-4 record left them sixth in the conference standings.

YSU was also hurt by a lack of quality wins. Three of their four conference victories came against teams with losing records (Northern Iowa, South Dakota and Western Illinois) and two other wins came against partial-scholarship Albany and non-scholarship Valparaiso.

Before the season, YSU coach Eric Wolford said anything short of the playoffs would be a failure. He didn’t back down from that after Saturday’s game.

“I base success here on the standard, and I’ve said from Day 1 the standard here is the playoffs and championships,” he said.

Since Jim Tressel left after the 2000 season, the Penguins have fallen short of that standard 11 times. Wolford and his staff now have nine months to figure out how to avoid No. 12.


1YtownSports(306 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

The Penguins were not a playoff team. The narrow win over a bad South Dakota team didn't help them. The Pitt game victory wasn't enough to overcome the lack of quality in their other 6 wins or their inability to beat any of the top echelon teams in the MVFC.

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2busyman(239 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

You are right Y-Town. They got beat up by the best teams in the MVC. It was follish to believe that they would make the playoffs. I do not think they would have made the playoffs even if they went 8-3, unless they would of beat NDS. Look what happen there!! We had a good team this year with a lot of talent. I still say that something internal went on within this team after the NDS game. Do not know, but it took the heart out of this team for 4 games. I hope Wolford can mature from this years experience and leads this program forward. Good luck next year and my hats off to those young men that pulled it together and salvage a good season to remember.

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3mrblue(1175 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

You can't continue to play those easy win schools and expect to influence the selection committee. And you definately can't lose four in a row that could have been quality wins. Maybe next year. Is it possible that coach Wolford isn't the right guy?

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4Spiderlegs(161 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

One more year for Wolford. This team is just starting to become his team. However, the coach needs to learn that zealous words in press conferences have to translate to wins on the field. He lost a lot of credibility this year with hype, and seemed to think the problems on the field weren't that serious. Hopefully he knows now.

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