YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Two quick third quarter touchdowns turned Youngstown State’s first playoff game since 2006 from a nail-biter into a rout.
After leading by just three points at halftime, YSU defeated Samford, 38-24, on Saturday at Stambaugh Stadium to advance in the FCS playoffs. The Penguins (9-3) will now travel to Jacksonville State next weekend.
The Penguins took a 10-7 lead into halftime.
They then scored less than two minutes into the third quarter — a Tevin McCaster 1-yard TD run — before Martin Ruiz added a 1-yard TD run at the 5:41 mark to push YSU’s lead to 24-7.
Jody Webb notched a 6-yard TD run early in the fourth to stretch the Penguins’ lead to 31-7, while he added a 62-yard score a few minutes later.
Webb paced YSU with 174 rush yards on 27 carries, while Ruiz had 78 yards on 15 attempts.
Initially, YSU took a 7-0 lead on Shane Kuhn’s 1-yard TD run midway through the first quarter. But Samford (7-5) answered with a Devlin Hodges 19-yard TD pass to Kelvin McKnight to tie the game.
Penguins kicker Zak Kennedy then nailed a 25-yard field goal with just three seconds remaining in the second quarter for a 10-7 YSU halftime lead.
YSU quarterback Hunter Wells finished 8 of 12 for 142 passing yards.
Meanwhile for Samford, Hodges went 33 of 51 through the air for 372 yards and three TDs. McKnight and Karel Hamilton each caught 11 passes for 144 and 147 yards, respectively.