FCS Playoff Preview: YSU-Eastern Washington, 12/17

EWU features QB Gage Gubrud, who has thrown for nearly 5,000-yards.

'YSU Penguins vs. Eastern Washington Eagles' Football

2016 FCS Football Playoffs – Semifinals
Saturday, December 17 at 6:30 pm at Roos Field
Youngstown State (11-3) at Eastern Washington (12-1)

FCS Playoff Field
Semifinals: Saturday, December 10
Youngstown State (11-3) at Eastern Washington (12-1), Dec. 17 at 6:30 p.m.
James Madison (12-1) at North Dakota State (12-1), Dec. 16 at 7 p.m.
*-North Dakota State is the 5-time defending champions.
Most Championships
Georgia Southern – 6
North Dakota State – 5
Youngstown State – 4
Appalachian State – 3
Montana – 2
Marshall – 2
Eastern Kentucky – 2

Coaches
Youngstown State: Bo Pelini, 2nd season (16-9)
Eastern Washington: Beau Baldwin, 9th season (85-31)

2016 Big Sky Conference Standings
Eastern Washington – 8-0 (12-1)
North Dakota – 8-0 (9-3)
Weber State – 6-2 (7-5)
Cal Poly – 5-3 (7-5)
Southern Utah – 5-3 (6-5)
Northern Colorado – 4-4 (6-5)
Northern Arizona – 4-4 (5-6)
Montana – 3-5 (6-5)
Montana State – 2-6 (4-7)
Portland State – 2-6 (3-8)
UC Davis – 2-6 (3-8)
Sacramento State – 2-6 (2-9)
Idaho State – 1-7 (2-9)

2016 Missouri Valley Football Conference Standings
North Dakota State – 7-1 (12-1)
South Dakota State – 7-1 (9-4)
Youngstown State – 6-2 (11-3)
Illinois State – 4-4 (6-6)
Northern Iowa – 4-4 (5-6)
Western Illinois – 3-5 (6-5)
South Dakota – 3-5 (4-7)
Missouri State – 2-6 (4-7)
Indiana State – 2-6 (4-7)
Southern Illinois – 2-6 (4-7)

2016 Results
Youngstown State (11-3)
Penguins 30 Wofford 23
Penguins 40 Jacksonville State 24
Penguins 38 Samford 24
Penguins 65 Missouri State 20
Penguins 21 Southern Illinois 14
North Dakota State 24 Penguins 3
Penguins 13 Indiana State 10
South Dakota State 24 Penguin 10
Penguins 14 Northern Iowa 10
Penguins 20 Illinois State 6
Penguins 30 South Dakota 20
Penguins 38 Robert Morris 6
West Virginia 38 Penguins 21
Penguins 45 Duquense 10

Eastern Washington (12-1)
Eagles 38 Richmond 0
Eagles 31 Central Arkansas 14
Eagles 35 Portland State 28
Eagles 48 Idaho State 17
Eagles 42 Cal Poly 21
Eagles 35 Montana 16
Eagles 41 Montana State 17
Eagles 49 Northern Colorado 31
Eagles 63 UC Davis 30
Eagles 50 Northern Arizona 35
Eagles 34 Northern Iowa 30
North Dakota State 50 Eagles 44 OT
Eagles 45 Washington State 42

Team Statistics
Scoring Offense: Eastern Washington, 42.7; Youngstown State, 27.7
Total Offense: Eastern Washington, 533.5; Youngstown State, 426.3
Rushing Offense: Youngstown State, 257.1; Eastern Washington, 131.3
Passing Offense: Eastern Washington, 402.2; Youngstown State, 169.1
Scoring Defense: Eastern Washington, 25.5; Youngstown State, 18.1
Total Defense: Youngstown State, 313.5; Eastern Washington, 409.9
Rushing Defense: Youngstown State, 130.6; Eastern Washington, 188.4
Passing Defense: Youngstown State, 182.9; Eastern Washington, 221.5

Game Notes
Eastern Washington plays on ‘The Inferno’ – a red field (since 2010), where they’ve won seven straight games on their home turf. The Eagles are led by their redshirt sophomore standout quarterback Gage Gubrud, who’s 193 passing yards shy of 5,000. Gubrud has completed 68.5% of his passes (368-537) and 45 touchdowns. Three receivers have hauled in 75-passes or more (Cooper Kupp, 107; Kendrick Bourne, 76; Shaq Hill, 75). In their last outing against Richmond, the defense forced 5 turnovers (4 fumbles/1 interception) and outgained the Spiders by 246 yards (451-205) in their 38-0 quarterfinal victory. EWU won the 2010 FCS Championship over Delaware, 20-19. Next season, the Eagles are scheduled to play at Texas Tech and host North Dakota State.

Youngstown State’s defense will shift their attention from facing a strong rushing offense (Wofford) to a pass happy attack (Eastern Washington) this week. Wofford only attempted 3 passes (0 completions) while rushing the ball 61 times for 297 yards. EWU averages 402 passing yards per game. Over the last two weeks, the Penguins’ opponents have completed 6 of 29 passes after facing Samford’s passing offense (372 passing yards). YSU has a pair of 1,000-yard rushers (Jody Webb and Martin Ruiz) as the team has scored 31 times on the ground compared to just 9 by the opposition. The Penguins last advanced to the Championship contest in 1999 when Paul Johnson’s Georgia Southern team won their 5th Division I-AA title, 58-24.

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