By Dan Hiner
Facing a fourth down and 13, Wofford College quarterback Brandon Goodson dropped back, avoided the rush but threw an incomplete pass.
As the ball hit the ground, the fans of the Youngstown State University football team erupted. Players were celebrating, fans were cheering and the band was playing the YSU fight song after everyone released the Penguins beat the Terriers 30-23 in double overtime.
“You take a win any way you can get it. We had to overcome a lot,” YSU head coach Bo Pelini said. “It’s a sign of character, it’s a sign of continuing the grind. I give [Wofford] a lot of credit. I tried to shake as many of those guys hands as I could.”
YSU (11-3) dug itself into a 9-0 hole after a punt blocked and an interception gave Wofford the ball in YSU
But YSU quarterback Hunter Wells gave the Penguins a 13-9 lead in the second quarter after throwing a nine-yard touchdown to wide receiver Darien Townsend and a 45-yard touchdown to wide receiver Damoun Patterson.
Wofford (10-4) grabbed the lead at the start of the third quarter. Wofford backup quarterback Joe Newman scored on a 75-yard touchdown run on the first play of the second half.
Wells gave the Penguins the lead with 1:33 remaining in the third. Wells found receiver Isiah Scott near the left pylon to give YSU a 20-16 lead.
Wells completed 15 of 22 passes for 173 yards and three touchdowns.
“I don’t want to be the guy who saves the day, and if I have too, I will,” Wells said. “But I want to be someone they can rely on and trust to do the right thing when I’m in the position to do it. I feel like we did a good job on third down in the redzone.”
After a touchdown by Wofford and a field goal by YSU in the fourth quarter, the game went to overtime.
YSU forced Wofford to turn the ball over on downs after a failed fourth down conversion. But YSU kicker Zak Kennedy missed a 37-yard field goal.
In the second overtime, YSU running back Tevin McCaster scored on a two-yard rushing touchdown to give the Penguins a 30-23 lead.
YSU leaned heavily on running back Jody Webb. On Saturday, he set the record for all-purpose yards in a single game in YSU history. Webb complied 331 yards on Saturday, 213 rushing and 118 through kick returns. The record belonged to Dave Delsignore who had 323 yards against Western Illinois back in 1969.
“The way that the game was going, the mattered the most was winning,” Webb said. “Going into overtime, that team fought a hard-fought game. It was one of the better games, if not the best, I ever played in. It got to a point where we were like ‘man we just got to find a way to win.’”
With the win, the Penguins will advance to play Eastern Washington University.
WOF 23 YSU 30
6-0 WOF — Lorenzo Long one-yard touchdown run (two-point conversion no good). 12:11
9-0 WOF — David Marvin 37-yard field goal. 0:53
9-7 YSU — Hunter Wells nine-yard touchdown pass to Darien Townsend (Kennedy extra point no good). 5:48
13-9 YSU — Hunter Wells 45-yard touchdown pass to Damoun Patterson (Kennedy extra point good). 2:18
16-13 WOF — Joe Newman 75-yard touchdown run (Marvin extra point good). 14:46
20-16 YSU — Hunter Wells five-yard touchdown pass to Isiah Scott (Kennedy extra point good). 1:33
23-20 WOF — Lorenzo Long six-yard touchdown run (Marvin extra point good). 9:22
23-23 YSU — Zak Kennedy 32-yard field goal. 5:04
30-23 YSU — Tevin McCaster two-yard touchdown run (McFadden extra point good).
Passing_YSU, Hunter Wells 15-22-3-173-1.
Rushing_WOF, Joe Newman 16-125-1. YSU, Jody Webb 34-213-0.
Receiving_YSU, Darien Townsend 5-73-1.
Sacks_WOF, Thad Mangum 1.
Tackles_WOF, Malik Rivera 11-11-0. YSU, Jameel Smith 9-9-0.