Published November 14, 2011http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">
YSU's win over top-ranked North Dakota State on Saturday did more than just boost the Penguins' playoff hopes -- it boosted interest in this weekend's game against Missouri State.
The Penguins' last home game, against Western illinois, had an announced crowd of 11,583. Unless my eyesight was bad, I think about 8,500 were in the bathroom or buying concessions at any given time.
The MSU game had a chance to be just as bad. Now, YSU fans have a chance to watch what looks like a possible (maybe even probable) playoff team.
And two fans are going for free.
As always, the first person to email me (email@example.com) the correct answer to my trivia question gets two reserved seat tickets to Saturday's game against Missouri State.
I'll keep this one easy: What was the previous name of Missouri State University? (Note: The school has had five different names, so I'm looking for the most recent name.)
UPDATE: We have a winner for the football tickets: Gil Noble of Austintown. Still looking for a winner for basketball.
I'm also giving away YSU men's basketball tickets to tomorrow's home opener. If you can tell me YSU's all-time record against Tuesday night's opponent, Notre Dame College, I'll leave two general admission tickets for you at Will Call.
OK, other business. As some of you noticed, I did not cover last weekend's game against North Dakota State, due to a couple factors:
1. Cost of travel.
2. A staff shortage at the paper during a very busy weekend.
3. And (I'm wincing as I write this) the perception that YSU was unlikely to win.
(I'd like to note that I argued in favor of going, and felt the Penguins had a pretty good chance to win, but I was outvoted 1-1 and instead filled in for my boss, doing 500 thankless behind-the-scenes tasks that are required to put out the paper.)
Anyway, one of the people who noticed was YSU coach Eric Wolford, who said he was told I wasn't on the trip because I was bad luck.
"Tell your boss, 'Wolf said I'm bad luck, so it's better for me to stay home,'" Wolford told me tonight. "That way, we can win.
"It ain't personal. It works."
For the record, I missed one game last year: Illinois State. The Penguins lost on a Hail Mary.
I'd hate to see how bad they would have lost had I been there.
Finally, some of you might remember me writing something after the losses to South Dakota State and UNI about how the Penguins' playoff hopes were dashed.
Well, it looks like I was wrong.
If YSU beats Missouri State and UNI beats Illinois State this weekend, the Penguins are probably in and I promise to write an "I was wrong" story.
Or, as Wolford put it tonight, "Your apology to our community and our program."
He was smiling when he said it.