FRISCO, Texas (WKBN) – Youngstown State’s magic ended in Frisco.
The Penguins fell into an early hole in the FCS National Championship and never recovered, losing to James Madison, 28-14, on Saturday at Toyota Stadium in Texas.
YSU, in its seventh national championship game, had a six-game win-streak snapped as it finished the season at 12-4. Champion JMU finished 14-1.
“[JMU] is a very good football team,” YSU head coach Bo Pelini said. “And the way we started — it didn’t help.”
The Dukes led 21-0 in the second quarter before the Penguins got on the board.
Punting after YSU’s first offensive possession in the first quarter, Mark Schuler had his kick blocked by JMU and recovered deep in Penguins territory. Dukes QB Bryan Schor then connected with Jonathan Kloosterman for a 14-yard pass TD.
On the Dukes’ next possession, Schor hooked up with Rashard Davis for an 18-yard TD pass. Then, in the second quarter, JMU capped a 8-play, 87-yard drive with a 1-yard TD run by Khalid Abdullah for a 21-0 lead.
“There was a couple times the ball didn’t bounce very well for us today, ” Pelini said. “We had a young man make a mistake on a punt — it happens.”
YSU finally scored late in the second quarter when Hunter Wells found Shane Kuhn for a 17-yard TD pass. That cut the Penguins’ deficit to 21-7 at halftime.
But Wells had a pass intercepted on YSU’s opening drive of the third quarter. JMU went on to score on an Abdullah 1-yard TD run for a 28-7 lead.
Wells finished the game 28 of 48 for 271 yards, two TD’s and one INT. Jody Webb ran for just 41 yards on 17 carries.
“I don’t think we played our best game up front,” Wells said. “That definitely isn’t how we wanted to run the ball. But you have to be willing to adapt to that change and obviously we didn’t.”
The Dukes were led by Abdullah’s 101 yards on 26 carries. Schor finished 7 of 12 for 112 yards, two TDs and no INTs.
YSU was trying to capture its fifth national title in program history.
This season marked the Penguins’ return to the playoffs for the first time since 2006. YSU won four playoff games prior to the JMU loss, including a 40-38 last-second win at Eastern Washington in the semifinals.
“I wouldn’t trade the season we had for anything, man,” senior All-American defensive end Derek Rivers said. “I love them boys in that locker room. That’s my emotions right now — I’m gonna miss those guys.”
JMU — Bryan Schor 14-yard TD pass to Kloosterman… 7-0 Dukes
JMU — Bryan Schor 18-yard TD pass to Rashard Davis… 14-0 Dukes
JMU — Khalid Abdullah 1-yard TD run… 21-0 Dukes
YSU — Hunter Wells 17-yard TD pass to Shane Kuhn… 21-7 Dukes
JMU — Khalid Abdullah 1-yard TD run… 28-7 Dukes
YSU — Hunter Wells 7-yard TD pass to Jermiah Braswell… 28-14 Dukes
Sports Team 27 will have all the post game coverage you need. Make sure to watch WKBN First News at 6, 10 and 11 for complete live coverage from Frisco.