Penguins still stunned by loss to Illinois State
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By Brian Dzenis
Yeah, that really happened.
Youngstown State took a 35-0 mollywhopping at the hands of Illinois State last Saturday, a defeat — the first shutout of the Penguins in a decade — that still seems hard to fathom.
“When I watched the film, it was like sitting in a dream watching something that I didn’t recognize,” Penguins coach Bo Pelini said. “Like wow, that was bad. It was like a team that you didn’t recognize was out there.”
All the issues that had plagued YSU (3-5) in its four-game losing streak — the increasing number of sacks given up, the running game regressing and a defense not being as crisp as it was in the first few weeks of the season seemed to come to a head.
“It snowballed on us and it just wasn’t one guy or one position group,” Pelini said. “Everyone took their turn on Saturday.”
Center Vitas Hrynkiewicz echoed the sentiment, describing watching plays on which 10 players can be doing their job, but one player isn’t and it was a different player each time. They get another chance to right the ship — and take out some frustration — at Indiana State (0-8) this Saturday.
“There’s a little bit of that, but we really do care for our coaches. [Offensive line coach Carmen Bricillo] is like a second dad to me. Not performing for him affects us as a team — that includes [offensive coordinator Shane Montgomery and receivers coach Brian Crist] and everyone,” Hrynkiewicz said. “When we don’t perform, we see that it makes their jobs difficult and it takes a toll on us. We want to make them proud and that’s what we’re trying to do this week.”
QBS, INJURIES AND A REDSHIRT?
Senior Ricky Davis is the likely starter against the Sycamores, Pelini said. Sophomore Nathan Mays adds a nerve issue with his throwing arm to the ankle injury he sustained at Northern Iowa two weeks ago.
“He hit a nerve in his arm and it’s giving him problems,” Pelini said. “God only knows how long that’s going to take — it’s not career-ending — but it is something that is going to take time to settle down.”
Hunter Wells remains questionable while recovering from a separated shoulder. As the season is winding down, Pelini is considering redshirting the senior quarterback.
“I’m looking into the rule and how that plays out. Obviously he played some snaps for us early in the year,” Pelini said.
“That’s a possibility, but that’s something where I need to meet with out compliance department to figure out. I know Hunter is frustrated — he wants to play more than anything — I don’t want to put him out there until he’s 100 percent.”
If neither Mays nor Wells is ready for Saturday, Pelini said Ursuline graduate Chris Durkin could be considered as a backup.
Durkin is listed as a tight end on the roster, but the junior Virginia Tech transfer was recruited as a quarterback. He was a QB with the Irish.
Defensive end Justus Reed has a chance to return from a separated shoulder.