Listen to Drae on Thursday mornings from 8am-10:30am EST on rookeryradio.com
Host of “The Drae Smith Show”
November 10th, 2014
Well Penguin fans, here we are again and it feels like a bad dream. Late in the season, after a promising start we sit unsure of our playoff prospects once again. A win this past Saturday over a 1 loss Illinois State team would have more than likely sealed the deal with two games remaining. However, the Penguins suffered a tough 35-21 loss in a game that YSU led on three different occasions, ahead 21-14 at halftime. While disappointing, it was clear Illinois State was the better team and a road loss to a top team is not a death sentence. The Redbirds have one of the nation’s most explosive offensive attacks, featuring the deadly QB/RB tandem of Tre Roberson and Marshaun Coprich who torched the Penguins at Hancock Stadium on Saturday.
The top-15 matchup in Normal, IL certainly showcased the strength and difficulty of the Missouri Valley Football Conference. YSU was sitting in good position with a chance to stand alone in second place and now faces a must-win game this week to even have a chance at playoff contention. That is what one can game, one loss, can do to you in the absolute best conference in FCS College Football. Things can change fast with just one slip up and no one knows that better than YSU Head Coach Eric Wolford and his football team.
The team has experienced multiple late-season collapses in November that cost them the playoff berth that has been so desperately missed here in Youngstown. Last season, the team lost three MVFC games in a row to end the season after starting 8-1. Now, they risk having of an eerily similar breakdown if they do not win at home this Saturday against #23 Indiana State. Especially since the final game of the season is Nov. 22nd on the road against the three time defending national champions, North Dakota State. We will certainly not want to count on winning that game to make the playoffs which essentially makes this Saturday’s home contest an elimination game.
In reality, nothing short of winning the last two games would really assure the Penguins of a postseason berth. However, you would have to think that an 8-4, 5-3 conference mark would put them in a playoff field that will feature at least three, possibly 4 Missouri Valley teams. But Penguins fans know more than anyone that nothing is promised and many simply cant bear the thought of falling short once again. And if they do fall short, the whispers of a possible coaching change could becoming screams.
Head Coach Eric Wolford has done a great job guiding this program back to Playoff contention and shown improvement each year. He also has produced some of the highest grade point averages and graduation rates for football players in the school’s history. Despite all the positive he has done, another painful late-season failure could be fatal at a program that is so starving to return to the postseason glory it had in the 1990’s. There will be a lot on the line for everyone at 2pm this Saturday, Nov. 15th when the #15 Penguins welcome the #23 Sycamores to Stambaugh Stadium. It is Senior Day and the final regular season home game of the season so get out and support your Guins as they battle to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Lets Pack the Ice Castle, Go Penguins!! #YSU