YSU NOTEBOOK | More from Saturday’s game at Stambaugh Stadium
McCaster reaches career milestone
Early in Youngstown State’s 42-7 victory against Valparaiso on Saturday, Tevin McCaster reached 2,000 yards for his career while rushing for 141 yards and two touchdowns.
“It means a lot. I came in as a walk-on and it’s amazing. My O-line has been amazing too and give a lot of credit to them,” McCaster said.
The senior back came on the scene during the Penguins’ national championship run in 2016 when Martin Ruiz was suspended after being arrested on a weapon charges. Last year, McCaster was one of two backs in the Missouri Valley Football Conference to rush for more than 1,000 yards with 1,066 and 13 touchdowns. He’s often featured in billboards around the city advertising the team’s games.
“Before I came here, I always used to see players on the billboards and it’s something I always dreamed of,” McCaster said. “It’s a blessing.”
McNutt set to return after suspension
The off week marks the return of co-defensive coordinator Richard McNutt, who missed the first three games of the season as YSU conducted an internal investigation into a domestic incident at his ex-wife’s house back in April. He received a five-day unpaid suspension.
Pelini handled McNutt’s duties in his absence.
“It means a lot to me because there’s only so many hours in a day for me. At this level, you only have 10 assistants so when you lose one, it creates a lot for you,” Pelini said. “I know the university did their review, so we move forward.
“Football-wise, it’s a big help for us.”
Penguins receivers make first catches
Wideouts Darius Shackleford and Natavious Payne each had their first catches and touchdowns on Saturday. Shackleford led all receivers with three catches for 69 yards and a touchdown. For Payne, his first catch and TD was one and the same in the first quarter as he was wide open from 27 yards out.
Central Michigan transfer Jakkar Jackson nearly picked off Valpo quarterback Chris Duncan in the first half while coming in at safety. Jackson, a redshirt sophomore, arrived on campus just as classes started. He was recruited by the Chippewas as a two-star prospect.
Tight end Kierre Hawkins saw the field for the first time this season after a knee kept him sidelined for most of fall camp and the team’s first two contests. The Ohio State transfer did not catch a pass, but did draw a pass interference penalty that set up Payne’s touchdown in the first quarter.
Running back Braxton Chapman, Farrell’s all-time leading rusher, saw his first carry for -1 yards in the third quarter.
— Brian Dzenis, The Vindicator