#13 Youngstown State FCS Football 2015 Preview

Youngstown State Penguins

Overall Rank: #13
#4 Missouri Valley

Youngstown State Team Page#13 Youngstown State FCS Football 2015 PreviewBuy Youngstown State Football Tickets

For the second year in a row, Youngstown State lost their last three games of the regular season. And for the second year in a row just one win may have been enough to reach the playoffs. That is pretty rough for a program that has reached the playoffs just once since Jim Tressel left for Ohio State in 2001. But now the expectations are even higher, and not just because YSU returns a lot of talent from last season. The Penguins bring in Coach Bo Pelini, who was fired from Nebraska after totaling a 67-27 overall record. Surely Coach Pelini could have found another FBS job sooner than later, but he opted to return home to Youngstown. It is a good get for the program. Coach Pelini is already building the right way and trying to develop four year players.   

2014 Record: 7-5, 4-4
2014 Postseason: None
Coach: Bo Pelini (0-0 at Youngstown State, 67-27 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Shane Montgomery
Defensive Coordinator: Carl Pelini, Ron Stoops, Jr.

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Martin Ruiz, RB, 1,320 yards
Passing: Hunter Wells, QB, 1,772 yards
Receiving: Andrew Williams, WR, 976 yards
Tackles: Dubem Nwadiogbu, LB, 104
Sacks: Derek Rivers, DE, 14.0
Interceptions: Tre’ Moore, S, 4

Other Key Returnees: RB Jody Webb, WR Andre Stubbs, LB Jaylin Kelly, DE Terrell Williams, CB Nate Dortch

Key Losses: QB Dante Nania, WR Jelani Berassa, K/P Joey Cejudo, DB Donald D’Alesio, DB Julius Childs

The Penguins return eight starters on offense and should again have a very balanced attack. Running back Martin Ruiz was the workhorse last year, rushing for 1,320 yards and ten touchdowns. Jody Webb added 715 yards and nine touchdowns on 103 carries. Coach Pelini will work his offense thorough Ruiz and with plenty of experience on the offensive line, led by Justin Spencer, Trevor Strickland and Brock Eisenbuth, this group could surpass their impressive 202.3 yards per game on the ground of a season ago. But YSU will pass too. Hunter Wells is a pocket passer who threw for 1,772 yards and 14 touchdowns as a freshman. He started seven games, but is now the full-time starter. Receiver Andrew Williams was the top receiver a year ago with 54 catches for 976 yards and six touchdowns, but keep an eye out for little senior Andre Stubbs. Stubbs caught 28 passes for just 365 yards and never reached the end zone last season, but he is coming off of a strong performance in the spring.

The defense has a few holes to fill in the secondary from a unit that already ranked a pedestrian 71st in the FCS in pass defense. Safety Tre’ Moore and cornerbacks Nate Dorch and Eric Thompson will have to lead the way, but there is not much experience around them, although safety Jameel Smith appears ready to step into a starting role. At linebacker, YSU will build around Dubem Nwadiogbu, who led the team with 104 tackles in 2014. Sophomore Lee Wright is one to watch. Again much of the depth may have to be filled in by inexperienced options.

The Bottom Line:
Experience and production is not a problem on the defensive line though. Derek Rivers tallied 14.0 sacks and Terrell Williams added 10.0. With tackle Emmanuel Kromah and Nebraska transfer Avery Moss adding even more firepower to the line, opposing quarterbacks are in for some trouble. With strong lines on both sides of the ball, this is a team that can control the line of scrimmage and control the game. The schedule shakes out pretty nicely too with Illinois State and North Dakota State both coming to Stambaugh Stadium and Northern Iowa not on the slate at all.

Projected Postseason: FCS Playoffs

2014 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 202.3 (30th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Passing Offense: 213.0 (61, 6)
Total Offense: 415.3 (36, 4)
Scoring Offense: 27.3 (55, 6)
Rushing Defense: 157.3 (44, 5)
Pass Defense: 220.3 (71, 6)
Total Defense: 377.6 (53, 6)
Scoring Defense: 23.5 (41, 4)
Turnover Margin: -0.42 (86, 8)
Sacks: 2.42 (31, 5)
Sacks Allowed: 1.17 (17, 1)

Madness 2015 Recruit Rankings:
#80 James Wilson


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