By Drae Smith Rookery Radio YSU Football Reporter YSU Football Sideline Reporter (570 WKBN / iHeartRadio)
The Youngstown State football team fell to 1-1 this past Saturday after losing to West Virginia by a final score of 38-21 on a very hot day in Morgantown. The Penguins turned in an impressive performance however, pushing the Mountaineers deep into the second half. West Virginia struck first when QB Skyler Howard connected with WR Ka’Raun White on a 53-yard touchdown pass late in the first quarter. YSU would then strike back to tie the game when RB Martin Ruiz found the end zone from one yard out early in the second period. The Penguins would then take a 14-7 lead on an electrifying 74-yard touchdown pass from Ricky Davis to Alvin Bailey. In only his second career start, Davis was impressive and handled himself well in a hostile environment of over 56,000 people. He finished 11-of-26 for a career-high 189 yards and a touchdown while also leading the team in rushing with 62 yards on 13 carries. Bailey, the Florida-transfer, finished the day with three receptions for a team-best 92 yards and the 74-yard score. The deep ball would continue to hurt the YSU defense late in the second quarter when Howard hit WR Shelton Gibson for a 54-yard touchdown strike to tie the game at 14-14. The contest would remain tied at halftime after WVU Kicker Mike Molina missed a chip-shot field goal right before the second quarter ended. The Mountaineers would then take control of the game in the third quarter, scoring 17 consecutive points. Howard found WR Daikiel Shorts for an 11-yard score, Molina converted a 32-yard field goal and then Howard hit Shelton Gibson again on a 57-yard bomb. West Virginia led 31-14 heading into the final period. The Penguins would get back into the game and cut the WVU lead to 31-21 after backup QB Trent Hosick scored on a 15-yard touchdown run. Hosick entered the game late after Ricky Davis was injured and taken out, his status for next week is now in question. West Virginia would conclude the scoring and make it 38-21 when Howard threw to RB Kennedy McCoy for a 21-yard touchdown. Howard was impressive through the air all day, completing 20-of-33 passes for 389 yards and five touchdowns. He had touchdown passes of 53, 54 and 57 yards. Two of his touchdowns went to Shelton Gibson, who caught six passes for 171 yards. Daikel Shorts added six receptions for 93 yards and a score. Overall, Youngstown State put up a tough fight and was very competitive until the heat and lack of depth caught up with them late in the second half. They were able to hold their own up-front at the line of scrimmage against a big, physical Big 12 team. Ultimately, the elite speed and athleticism of the Mountaineers’ skill players took over as they racked up 624 total yards. YSU Head Coach Bo Pelini should come away excited about the potential of his team moving forward. In their two games, the Penguins have shown they have the components to be a serious threat in the Missouri Valley Football Conference this season. YSU will return home to face Robert Morris this Saturday at 4pm in their final non-conference game.