YSU LIVE | Fourth quarter
by Joe Scalzo - "A blog about YSU Penguin athletics, not the insides of penguins." (Contact) | 155 entries
* Refresh often as I will be updating throughout the game.
After two first downs, YSU's drive stalls at the 44 and, again, the Penguins are forced to punt. St. Francis then drives toward midfield and punts, pinning YSU back at its own 5. Looks like Marc Kanetsky will play his third straight series at quarterback.
Not that it matters. He hands the ball off to Jordan Thompson on the first play and he goes 95 yards for the touchdown. He got to the second level and just outran the St. Francis secondary. Impressive.
It's 49-16 with 8:55 left.
Thompson's run ties Marcus Mason's run in 1996 against Western Illinois for the longest run in school history.
St. Francis strikes back with a 44-yard TD pass from John Kelly to A.J. Alexander, barbecuing backup cornerback Tahir Blount. It's been a rough second half for YSU's secondary.
Heck, it's been a rough season for YSU's secondary.
It's 49-23 with 6:49 left.
The Red Flash get a heavy dose of YSU running back Torrian Pace on the next drive, which stalls at the 1. Facing fourth down, YSU is content to let the clock run out.
49-23 is the final. The Penguins improve to 4-3.
YSU comes out with three new linebackers (Ali Cheaib, John Sasson, Dubem Nwadiogbu) but played its starters at the other eight positions. Regardless, St. Francis gashed YSU's defense pretty good on its opening drive, scoring its first touchdown on a 4-yard TD run by QB John Kelly.
It's 42-10 with 9:22 left.
Marc Kanetky starts the second half at quarterback, with Jordan Thompson playing running back for the first time in a couple weeks since injuring his shoulder against Indiana State. I thought they'd hold out Thompson this week to give it another week to heal, but he must be feeling OK.
The drive stalls after three runs and YSU punts it away, then St. Francis punts it away.
Marc Kanetsky just threw his first pass as a quarterback in almost two years, hitting Pat White for 10 yards on first down. After a big run by Jordan Thompson, YSU gets hit with an illegal hands to the face penalty, wiping out what would have been a first down at the St. Francis 20. Instead, the Penguins get backued up to the 49 and a long pass to Pat White is complete, but out of bounds. Kanetsky looked good on that drive but didn't get much help.
The Red Flash take over at their own 11 with 3:27 left and, thanks to a 70-yard pass play from John Kelly to A.J. Alexander that set up Kyle Harbridge's 5-yard TD with 1:07 left. After a missed extra point, it's 42-16.
Devont'a Davis was the cornerback that got beat on that big pass play and it's hard to feel encouraged by what YSU's defense has shown so far this half.
A boneheaded block in the back penalty puts YSU back to its own 10 to start the next drive. Two plays gain two yards and the quarter ends.
1. Not much to say about this one. YSU is just better and, after a couple speed bumps in the first quarter, it's been a pretty dominating performance.
2. There's a pretty sparse crowd here today, which is to be expected. But next week's game against Western Illinois is a pretty big game, and one that the Penguins should win, so I'm sure they'll make a bigger push to get the fans out for that one. Western made the playoffs last year but lost its quarterback to graduation and isn't nearly as good this year.
3. Hoping to see Torrian Pace get some carries in the second half. Might be the friendliest kid on the team.
I'll say this for the Red Flash -- they're definitely better than Valpariso. Of course, that's sort of a backhanded compliment.
YSU takes a 28-3 lead with 11:05 left on a 8-yard run by Jamaine Cook. This drive looks a lot like the other ones, with the Penguins methodically driving down the field. 10 plays, 74 yards.
Cook went over 100 yards with that touchdown run, his sixth straight 100-yard rushing game. He's close to 900 yards on the season.
Big-time upset to pass on: Indiana State lost to Illinois State 17-14, which helps YSU since the Penguins lost to the Sycamores. That'll leave YSU tied (in the loss column) with ISU for third in the MVFC and gives the Penguins' playoff hopes a boost. It's probably too early to get into too many scenarios -- YSU needs to win at least one of its road games against UNI or North Dakota State -- but that's a good sign for Penguin fans.
As for this game, the St. Francis drive stalls at the YSU 49 and, after the punt, the Penguins take over at their own 23.
YSU looked poised to make it 28-3 but Hess was picked off in the back of the end zone. Poor decision by Hess, which doesn't happen often. He got a little greedy there. YSU's drive (before it stalled) featured Ely Ducatel's first catch of the season. Ducatel was the team's second-leading receiver last year but got buried on the depth chart this year. Nice to see Ely get the ball.
YSU makes it 35-3 on a 5-yard run by Adaris Bellamy. I was on the sideline talking to former YSU receiver Donald Jones (now with the Buffalo Bills) when he scored and as I was walking back to the press box, I heard a fan behind me say, "This is terrible. It's like we're playing a high school team."
Yeah, but the weather's nice, right?
YSU DB Sir Aaron Taylor made his first career interception on the ensuing St. Francis drive, returning it 42 yards to the 32. Two plays later, Cook scored his fourth TD of the game, a 26-yarder, to make it 42-3 with 1:05 left. That should do it for Cook, who set a career high for TDs in one game.
P.J. Mays was the last YSU RB to run for four TDs in the game, doing so on Oct. 6, 2001 against Indiana State.
That's the way the first half will end. YSU (3-3) is well on its way to besting last year's win total of three games.
YSU took a 7-0 lead on its opening drive on a 1-yard run by Jamaine Cook with 11:12 left. Cook took a pitch out to the right on fourth and goal and got the corner after being stuffed on second and third down.
Wolford won't be happy about not punching it in earlier but, regardless, the drive ends with a touchdown. The drive went 54 yards over nine plays.
St. Francis returned the ensuing kickoff to the 39, so YSU's kickoff coverage woes continue. But the drive stalls around YSU's 40 and the Penguins take over at their 20. Cook breaks a 25-yard run on the first play and, six plays later, the Penguins score on a 4-yard Cook TD with 6:38.
I think I've figured out the Red Flash's problem -- they're not very talented. Too slow. Too small.
YSU jumps offsides on back-to-back snaps to start the next St. Francis possession, then gives up a 36-yard pass to a wide open receiver. The drive stalls at the 18 and Josh Thiel makes a 35-yarder with 4:40 left to cut the deficit to 14-3.
Kurt Hess hit Christian Bryan for a 19-yard touchdown on YSU's third possession, making it 21-3 with 2:22 left. Ever watch someone who's really good at video games beat the bejeesus out of a team, only he's bored while he's doing it? That's kind of what this feels like. The drive went 80 yards in six plays.
YSU forced a three-and-out and took over at its 30 with seven seconds left in the quarter. After a 9-yard pass, the quarter ends.
It's 21-3, YSU.
Not much to say about this one. The biggest pregame question has been, "Will this be as bad as Valparaiso?"
The Penguins beat Valpo 77-13 in Week 2, with 63 of those points coming in the frist half.
So my answer has been, "No, not as bad as Valpo. But bad."
St. Francis is a partial scholarship FCS team, and not a good one. They've had one winning season in 35 years and it came 20 years ago when it was a Division III team. This game exists to help YSU get to the seven wins it needs to be playoff eligible.
Here's three things I'm looking for:
1. Can YSU stay healthy?
The biggest fear in a game like this is that someone important will get hurt. I'm sure Eric Wolford is hoping he'll only have to play his starters for the first half.
2. Will Marc Kanetsky throw a pass?
Kanetsky, the backup, hasn't thrown a pass (outside of a fake field goal last year) since the season-ending win over North Dakota State in 2009. He and third-teamer Patrick Angle both played quite a bit against Valpo, but they spent the entire time handing the ball off on off-tackle plays. I'd like to see them each throw a pass or two.
3. How about a field goal?
Kicker David Brown is 0-for-1 on kicks this year (Nick Liste also missed a FG), so this might be a game to get him another chance.
(It's a sign of how bad this game is going to be that this is my third thing.)