By Drae Smith
Rookery Radio YSU Football Reporter
YSU Football Sideline Reporter (570 WKBN / iHeartRadio)
The 20th-ranked Youngstown State football team improved to 2-1 on the season with a 38-6 win over Robert Morris at Stambaugh Stadium this past Saturday. The Penguins were led by senior running back Martin Ruiz who rushed for 165 yards and two touchdowns on the afternoon. Ruiz scored the first points of the game on a 21-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Trent Hosick early in the first quarter. Hosick made his first career start at YSU after Ricky Davis was ruled out with a concussion. Ruiz would find the end zone again on a 14-yard touchdown run later in the period. The game would then be delayed by lightning for just over one hour with 1:52 left in the first quarter.
After play resumed, kicker Zak Kennedy would put YSU ahead 17-0 with a 37-yard field goal about halfway through the second quarter. The score would remain the same until Hosick found tight end Kevin Rader for a 27-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter which extended the Penguins lead to 24-0. The Colonials would finally get on the board later in the third period when running back Sam Woods connected with wideout Eldin Anu on a trick play which resulted in a 52-yard passing score. After a missed extra point attempt, Martin Ruiz would get loose for a career-long 80-yard touchdown run on the next YSU play from scrimmage to make it 31-6. Ruiz has now moved into sixth all-time in school history with 33 career rushing touchdowns. YSU running back Tevin McCaster would finish off the scoring with a 19-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter.
In his first career start as a Penguin, Trent Hosick finished 6-of-12 passing for 112 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He also ran the ball 11 times for 31 yards. Starter Ricky Davis is expected to be back for the team’s next contest in a couple of weeks. Kevin Rader was the leading receiver with two catches for 62 yards and a touchdown. Defensively, the Penguins were absolutely dominate against an offense which scored their first touchdown of the year on the 52-yard half-back pass. Robert Morris was only able to gain 103 yards of total offense, 75 of which came on two plays. The YSU defense held the Colonials to -13 rushing yards on 25 attempts and just six first downs. They also collected seven sacks for -66 yards and forced RMU to punt 12 times.
Linebacker Armand Dellovade led the way for Bo Pelini’s defense, recording five tackles, two tackles for loss and a sack. All-American defensive end Derek Rivers added two tackles, two quarterback hurries and a sack. Avery Moss, Savon Smith, Cody Squiric, Donald Mesier and Curtis Parks also earned sacks on the afternoon. The Penguins offense was able to gain 431 yards of total offense, 303 of which were on the ground. The unit has now gone over the 400-yard mark in each of their first three games, including a 610-yard performance against Duquesne. Last season, YSU gained over 400 yards of offense on just five occasions. Filling in for the injured Jody Webb, sophomore running back Tevin McCaster rushed for 87 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries. McCaster has impressed and emerged as a legitimate rushing threat, only adding to a loaded backfield which already features two of the best ball-carriers in the FCS.
The Penguins will be idle this weekend and then face a significantly tougher test when they host South Dakota on October 1 in their Missouri Valley Football Conference opener. The team should come out of the bye week with a number of key players back from injury. Head Coach Bo Pelini said that running back Jody Webb, who missed the last two games with a knee injury, probably could have played against Robert Morris. YSU should also have starting quarterback Ricky Davis and veteran right guard Brock Eisenhuth back for South Dakota as well. Kickoff for that game is scheduled for 4pm on Saturday, October 1 at Stambaugh Stadium.