SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (WKBN) – Safe to say, Youngstown State will enter the FCS playoffs with momentum.
In a dominating regular season finale performance, YSU crushed Missouri State, 65-20, on Saturday at Robert W. Plaster Stadium. The Penguins — which haven’t been to the playoffs since 2006 — improved to 8-3 (6-2 Missouri Valley Football Conference), while the Bears fell to 4-7 (2-6).
YSU amassed an astounding 747 yards — including 572 rushing yards — while holding MSU to just 272 total yards. The Penguins led 34-10 at half before pouring it on in the final two quarters.
YSU had three running backs rush for over 100 yards, as Joe Alessi led with 190 yards and two TDs on seven carries. But starters Martin Ruiz and Jody Webb paved the way from the get-go, as Ruiz finished with 183 yards and three TDs on 19 carries and Webb had 166 yards and two TDs on 15 carries.
The Penguins jumped out to a 21-0 lead, keyed by two Ruiz rushing touchdowns (1 and 3 yards) and a 52-yard Jody Webb rush TD. Ruiz then ran 94 yards for a score midway through the second quarter to make it 27-3.
YSU capped its stellar first half with a Hunter Wells 4-yard TD pass to Alvin Bailey with just four second remaining before the break. Wells finished 15 of 16 through the air for 157 yards.
Webb started the third quarter with a 53-yard TD run, while a minute later, YSU’s Kenny Bishop recovered a fumble and took it 19 yards to the end zone for a 48-10 lead.
Alessi then scored on TD runs of 61 and 75 yards in the fourth quarter.
YSU will find out its playoff opponent and location Sunday at 11 a.m. during the FCS playoffs selection show on ESPNU.