Published September 23, 2012
1. Northern Iowa was called for offensive pass interference on the game's last play and both YSU safet Donald D'Alesio and Coach Eric Wolford said it was for running a pick route designed to clear out cornerback Julius Childs.
Wolford said UNI likes to run the route, which he told the officiating crew. He also said that the crew was aware of it from watching film.
When asked if he thought the last call would go his team's way, he said, "I'm confident in those guys. This year is a new year and we're going to be on the right side of calls."
2. Wolford has been critical of the Missouri Valley Football Conference officials in the past but he didn't have any thing to complain about on Saturday.
Northern Iowa was flagged nine times for 80 yards (all in the first half), compared to just three for 32 on YSU.
As I wrote in Sunday's notebook, there were no Ohioans on the crew.
For any UNI conspiracy theorists out there, here are the names and hometowns of the officials: referee Wally Righton (Darien, Ill.), umpire Scott Jones (St. Louis), head linesman Jim Swider (Downers Grove, Ill.), line judge Jeff Meslow (White Bear Township, Minn.), side judge Steve Thielen (Eagan, Minn.), field judge Jason Frank (Mondovi, Wis.) and back judge Rick Fahnestock (Cuba, Ill.).
3. Saturday's rain dampened what could have been an even better crowd.
YSU distributed 19,277 tickets but I'd be surprised if there were much more than 15,000 in the seats.
By the end of the game, that number was probably cut in half.
4. Wolford, D'Alesio and quarterback Kurt Hess were pretty business-like after the game, emphasizing that it was just one game and there are plenty left.
That's fine, but I was hoping for a little more emotion. This wasn't just about going 1-0 every week. Beating Northern Iowa is a big deal.
5. The win all but clinches a playoff berth for YSU.
The Penguins only need to go 3-4 the rest of the way and it's hard to imagine them losing more than two the rest of the way. The open date comes at a great time since Northern Iowa and North Dakota State will beat each other up next week.
6. Now the bad news: YSU's defense looked awful on Saturday and, other than the final score, the game resembled a lot of games from Wolford's first two season.
Every time the Panthers tried an off-tackle run, they did YSU a favor because the Penguins couldn't cover UNI's athletes in space. And the middle of the field remains a disaster area for YSU's defense.
7. As good as YSU's offense is, it's not explosive like UNI's. The Panthers have a couple guys who can turn a 10-yard gain into a 70-yarder. The Penguins are more of a possession team, getting yards in chunks, rather than bursts. It's their one offensive weakness.
8. I wrote beforehand that I'd like to see YSU offensive coordinator Shane Montgomery put the game in Kurt Hess's hands and he did. Hess made the best play of his career on the game-tying drive, wiggling out of a collapsing pocket on fourth-and-4 at the UNI 29 and hitting Will Shaw for a 26-yard gain. It was the game's biggest play.
9. The 7-point win over Albany doesn't seem as bad tonight after seeing Great Danes beat Maine (a full-scholarship team from the powerful Colonial Athletic Association) by 10 points.
Maine advanced to the third round of the FCS playoffs last year.
10. Speaking of notable wins, how about South Dakota State beating Indiana State 24-10? The Jackrabbits are one of those teams that give the Penguins fits, so it'll be interesting to see how the Oct. 27 matchup goes.