With Another Loss, Tensions Continue to Build in Frustrating 2018 for YSU Football

By Joshua Fitch

“We’re a bad football team. It was a disgusting performance. Coming out of the locker room, you could hear a pin drop. I’ve never been this disgusted in my career.”

Those were the words of Youngstown State University head coach Bo Pelini following a 43-17 loss to Indiana State University at Stambaugh Stadium last week. With the loss, YSU falls to a record of 3-5 on the season.

The season won’t get any easier heading into next week as the Penguins now go on the road to play North Dakota State University, who is undefeated in 2018 and holds the top spot in league standings. NDSU is also the No. 1 team in the country.

Pelini also stated that he’ll look into different options going into game week simply to get more production.

“We’re going on the road to play North Dakota State,” Pelini said. “So we’ll see how the week plays out. All options are open, as far as I’m concerned. I think there’s a role for a couple of different quarterbacks – it depends on the game plan.”

The Bison are coming off of a dominant 59-14 victory over the University of South Dakota Coyotes last week.

In the loss to Indiana State, the Penguins got off to a great start. In the first quarter, YSU went on a eight-play, 97-yard drive that resulted in a 25-yard connection between quarterback Montgomery VanGorder and wide receiver Jermiah Braswell for a touchdown. 

Photo courtesy of YSU Sports Information

However, the Penguins allowed 476 yards of total offense in the loss, 125 on the ground and 351 through the air. Sycamores quarterback Ryan Boyle threw for 325 yards, while completing 17 of his 28 attempts and added three touchdowns, as well. On the ground for Indiana State, Boyle also led the way with 68 yards, while running back Titus McCoy added 57 yards.

By looking at the numbers of the Penguins offense, it would seem the game would have gone a different way. VanGorder threw for 125 yards, while Nathan Mays also attempted 11 passes on the afternoon, completing six for 85 yards.

On the ground, it was another strong performance for running back Tevin McCaster. He totaled 165 yards on just 22 carries, a 7.5 average yards per carry.

Junior wide receiver Jermiah Braswell caught six passes for 93 yards receiving and the early touchdown catch.

“It’s frustrating for Coach Bo,” Braswell said. “And the rest of the coaching staff because I know we’re a much better football team than what we’ve been showing. It makes you want to prove them wrong. Coach feels one way and it’s our job to make him change his mind about that. We have to come to practice ready to play, and hopefully on Saturday we can change his mind.”

According to Pelini, it will take a monumental effort to produce a win Saturday, on the road against the top team in the conference.

“In this sport, you’ve got to play one way,” Pelini said. “And that’s what has hurt us this year, we haven’t played one way. We’ve been up and down and not as focused. Not as relentless. Heck, with all the work you put in, with all of the time you put in, you get 11 guaranteed shots on Saturday. You have to find a way. It’s always a challenge as a coach. This group has not answered the call and I’m looking at every way to fix that.”

After playing the Bison this week, the Penguins will have just two games left on the season. The team is back home against the University of Northern Iowa Panthers, before traveling to play the Illinois State University Redbirds to finish off the 2018 season.

Kickoff in Fargo, N.D. is set for Saturday at 3:30 pm. You can follow the game on the radio by listening to 570 WKBN radio, on TV with ESPN+ and online at ysusports.com

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