Pregame thoughts for YSU-Illinois State
by Joe Scalzo - "A blog about YSU Penguin athletics, not the insides of penguins." | 155 entries
1. Youngstown State coach Eric Wolford was asked earlier in the week if today's game against Illinois State was a "must-win."
"I think we gotta win," he said. "Is it a must-win as far as what's going to happen in the future? I don't put all my eggs in one basket."
Thanks to the 4-0 start, the Penguins are in a position where a loss today doesn't kill them. But both psychologically and in the standings, this is a big game. Illinois State was picked to finish fourth in the league (behind North Dakota State, UNI and YSU) but the Redbirds haven't been playing like it. On paper, this is a game the Penguins should win and I think they will.
I'll say 31-24, YSU.
2. It's been raining all day in Normal, Ill., which is a big boost for YSU, both because the Penguins love to run the ball and because it'll keep fans away.
Plus, the Redbirds like to throw the ball and YSU has struggled against the pass ... well, for pretty much the entirety of the Wolford era. I'm sure Wolford will take all the wind and rain he can get.
3. Hancock Stadium looks a little bit like Fitch High School, without the visiting side stands. They're renovating the stadium and plan to add about 14,000 seats to the 8,000 seats they have now. It should be really nice by this time next year but right now it resembles a good high school stadium, and that includes the press box.
4. Ohio senator Joe Schiavoni made the trip after getting permission from his wife, Margaret. They had a son, Louie, about three weeks ago.
"I'm really looking forward to sleeping," he told me yesterday.
5. You can watch the game live on WBCB (the Valley's CW). That's channel 16 on Armstrong, 18 on Comcast and 14 on Time Warner. And, if you have bunny ears like I do, I think it's 21-2.
It's also being broadcast on ESPN3.com.
6. No last-minute news to pass along. As far as I know, there are no surprise injuries or suspensions. You can get game updates from me on Twitter (@JoeScalzo1).