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Published: Sun, October 21, 2012 @ 12:07 a.m.

Penguins drop third straight

By joe Scalzo



Youngstown State’s season didn’t end on Saturday.

But it sure felt like it.

Borrowing their script from last week’s loss to Illinois State, the Penguins raced out to an early lead before collapsing in the second half en route to a 38-21 loss to Southern Illinois at Stambaugh Stadium.

“We’ve put ourselves in a huge hole, just like we did last year,” said YSU coach Eric Wolford, whose team led 21-10 with 5:36 left in the second quarter. “It’ll be interesting to see how we respond because we’ve got some games left and they can make a difference.

“But we’ve got our back firmly against the wall right now and we’ve got to go.”

The loss — YSU’s third straight — erases any memories of the Penguins’ 4-0 start. Considering their three Missouri Valley Football Conference losses, it might take a 4-0 finish for the Penguins to make the playoffs.

“We got to do everything in our power to make that change,” said senior defensive tackle Aronde Stanton, who had a monster game with 10 tackles, including 4.5 for loss. “All our goals are still out there. We can still make the playoffs. When we get to the playoffs, it’s whoever’s hot at that time.

“That’s the approach that we’re gonna take and we’re gonna make sure we talk about that on Monday.”

YSU’s much-maligned defense actually had a winning effort, racking up eight tackles for loss and four sacks — both season-highs. It also forced seven SIU punts. But the Penguins’ special teams played poorly and the once-reliable offense was shut out in the second half for the third straight game.

Junior quarterback Kurt Hess, a first-team all-conference selection last season, had his worst game as a Penguin, throwing two interceptions and losing two fumbles — all in the second half.

Two of the turnovers were turned into touchdowns as Tyler Williamson recovered the fumble in the end zone (following a bad, but catchable, snap that Hess bobbled away) and Anthony Thompson returned a interception 100 yards on the game’s penultimate play.

YSU finished with five turnovers. SIU had none.

“That’s terrible,” said senior running back Jamaine Cook of the turnovers. “That’s not Youngstown State football.”

Cook rushed 23 times for 97 yards and three TDs, but SIU shut him down in the second half, holding the Penguins to 26 rushing yards over the final 30 minutes.

The Salukis also blocked a punt for a touchdown for the third straight game. Not coincidentally, they also won their third straight game.

“There’s three phases to every football game and we didn’t play very well, specifically in the second half on offense,” Wolford said. “We played very poorly in the special teams game. We played pretty good on defense.

“We’re not going to make any excuses. We’ll turn the page and move forward.”

That starts next weekend at South Dakota State, which has won four straight in the series.

When asked how he’ll keep his team loose this week, Wolford admitted he wasn’t sure.

“That’s something that I’ll probably think about a lot tonight and early in the morning,” he said. “You know, I’m probably still in shock, quite frankly. I’m very disappointed that we lost that game today.”


1RoyH(38 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

oh well. was a good season.

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2Rockyroad(149 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

Deja Vu...watching YSU football under Wolford is like watching "Groundhog Day" with Bill Murray. Different year, same routine. It really doesn't speak well of the program and eventually will lead to a change at the top.

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3ytowncrank(1 comment)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

First half lead, second half(after one team makes adjustments), total breakdown. no adjustments to adjustments. Do I see a pattern here?

I know, blame it on the fans for not cheering enough.

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4Dawgz(28 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

It's not the Coach's fault, just ask him!!

The D didn't play that bad.

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5busyman(239 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

Something is going on with this team. It looks like there is some internal striff going on between these young men and the coaching staff. No team goes from one level to another level of play unless they are trying to make a point. This coach brings nothing to the table that I can see that will motivate these young men.

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6blm99(3 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

Very disappointing. Perhaps the most disappointing part is how Wolford plays the blame game and points the finger at his players. He's arrogant and under accomplished. Just maybe, it is Wolford and his cronies. What's next Coach, fire the new DC? Or maybe you should fire the special teams coordinator, since the defense defends from the 50 after every kick-off. This guy is no head coach, he's a decent recruiter at best. He has ZERO class. Wolford is nothing more than a rah-rah coach that spends his time acting like a maniac and waiving his arms up and down on the sidelines. The Heacock era was miserable, but at least his antics weren't flamboyant and obnoxious throughout his career. It has become obvious Wolford has lost control of the ship, and I would be willing to bet there is a lack of respect for him amongs his players. It would make sense, how can you respect someone who doesn't own up to his own shortcomings, but constantly points to yours? Eric Wolford is under qualified and over paid.

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771to76home(6 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

Couldn't agree more with the comments on here.

Wolford's attitude and arrogance is over the top. Somewhere out there right now Tressel is shaking his head. While Heacock may not have won us as many games as we had liked, there is no doubt every last one of us respected him as a fellow member of the Youngstown community. This guy isn't us. This guy isn't Youngstown. The second he threw his team, coaching staff, Pete the Penguin, all under the bus for each loss I was done. Even the win at Pitt wasn't enough to earn my respect back.

C'mon Y-town.. We could do better..

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