McCaster scores twice in Penguins romp
By Brian Dzenis
Youngstown State earned the decisive win it was looking for.
The Penguins captured their first win of the season a 42-7 rout of Valparaiso on Saturday at Stambaugh Stadium.
The Penguins (1-2) avoided their first 0-3 start since 1995 under current university president Jim Tressel.
It was the Penguins’ second go-around with a team with no athletic scholarships after dropping the season opener to Butler, 23-21, in Stambaugh Stadium.
Just like that game, YSU had a 21-7 lead in the third quarter, but this time, the Penguins put the game away.
“I thought about that at halftime and I was nervous. I thought ‘we still have go out there and play. We can’t let anything up,’” YSU linebacker Armand Dellovade said. “We didn’t.
“The offense kept rolling and the defense kept shutting them down.”
YSU started to get rolling in the final five minutes of the second quarter. After the Crusaders’ Dimitrios Latsonas’ 49-yard field goal attempt fell short, YSU moved the ball near the goal line in two plays — a 25-yard Tevin McCaster run and 42-yard Montgomery VanGorder pass to Darius Shackleford.
McCaster punched in a 2-yard TD run to take the lead for the first time at 14-7.
The knockout punch came on the ensuing Valpo drive where Dellovade intercepted quarterback Chris Duncan to put the Penguins at the opposing 30 yard line. McCaster earned his second touchdown of the day from one yard out to close out the drive.
“They kept running a slant by [Valpo’s Griffin Norberg], so I kind of expected it. I was helping the safety on [Parker Fox] and I felt [Norberg] coming in,” Dellovade said. “I felt like they were going to do it again. It was just instincts I guess.”
YSU’s two-score cushion in the first half ballooned in the second. The Penguins scored on the opening drive when VanGorder hit Kendric Mallory for an 11-yard TD pass.
Later that same quarter, Shackleford caught his first career touchdown pass after VanGorder floated the ball over two Crusaders defenders to the corner of the end zone.
VanGorder was clinical, going 13 for 21 for 202 yards and three TDs. McCaster had 141 rushing yards to go with two scores.
For head coach Bo Pelini, he’ll take the win, but there was still something to be desired.
“I saw some good things, some very good things, but it was still too sloppy for my liking,” Pelini said. “We had 13 penalties which is way too many.
“I had to use timeouts that we shouldn’t have had to use — things that are going to get us beat in a close game,” Pelini said. “We got a lot of work to do. When we’re not our worst enemy, we’re a good football team, but there’s no question in my mind that [this game] was not to the level that I wanted to see.”
Those 13 penalties went for 94 yards. Four of them happened in the second quarter. Consecutive holding penalties followed by two illegal formation penalties left the Penguins in a third-and-28.
Valparaiso (0-2) scored their points in the first quarter when Duncan completed a short pass to Norberg that he turned into a 75-yard touchdown. The Penguins responded with VanGorder finding a wide open Natavious Payne for ta 27-yard TD grab.
Zac Kennedy (Cardinal Mooney High School) missed a 42-yard field goal wide left and had a kickoff go out of bounds. South Range graduate Joe Alessi scored a rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter.