#11 Youngstown State FCS Football 2012 Preview

Youngstown State Penguins

Overall Rank: #11
#3 Missouri Valley Football Conference
Youngstown State FCS College Football 2012 Team Preview
Youngstown State Team Page


Youngstown State welcomes the 2012 season after a disappointing end to 2011. Youngstown State went 6-5 last year after the Penguins powerful offensive attack had defenses stymied. Youngstown State opened the season last year at Michigan State and played toe-to-toe with the Spartans up until halftime; Michigan State would end up winning 28-3. Youngstown State came charging back winning the next two games by a combined score of 111-40. The Penguins had pivotal loses against South Dakota State and Missouri State. The Missouri State loss likely caused Youngstown State to be left out of the playoffs; even worse, the loss came after Youngstown State upset #1 ranked North Dakota State in Fargo the weekend before. Youngstown State returns much of its overpowering offense and will look to solidify on defense.

2011 Record: (6-5, 4-4)
2011 Postseason: None
Coach: Eric Wolford (9-13 at Youngstown State, 9-13 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Shane Montgomery
Defensive Coordinator: Joe Tresey

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Jamaine Cook, RB, 1,430 yards
Passing: Kurt Hess, QB, 2,468 yards
Receiving: Christian Bryan, WR, 719 yards
Tackles: Teven Williams, LB, 64
Sacks: Aronde Stanton, DT, 2.0
Interceptions: Jeremey Edwards, FS, 2

Other Key Returnees: SS Josh Garner, K David Brown, WR Jelani Berassa, OG Chris Elkin, C Mark Pratt, RB Adaris Bellamy, WR Kevin Watts

Key Losses: DT Andrew Johnson, DE Daniel Stewart, RB Jordon Thompson, WR Andrew Barboza

Youngstown State’s offense is tremendous and will continue to be overwhelming to opposing defenses in 2012. Junior quarterback, Kurt Hess, has the ability and mental toughness to lead the Penguins to the playoffs. He also has the privilege of having his top three receivers back in 2012. Receivers Christian Bryan, Jelani Berassa, and Kevin Watts will all provide stability and maturity that is needed to bring Youngstown State to the next level. If all the pluses with the passing game aren’t enough, Youngstown State also returns its top runner, Jamaine Cook. Cook ran for just over 1,400 yards last year and hit pay-dirt 13 times; his quickness and speed create the ability to score from any spot on the field and will continue to be a factor in 2012. Overall, the offensive firepower on this Youngstown State team is incredible and should not be overlooked in 2012.

Without a doubt the question mark for the Penguins is on defense. Last year, in spite of all that offensive fury, Youngstown State finished only 6-4. The defense had a major role in that final result. Teams scored an average of 27 points per game and averaged almost 350 yards per game. The defense will definitely need to solidify if Youngstown States wants to contend for the playoffs. Linebacker Teven Williams will provide leadership to the defense. However, the Penguins lose their top two sack producers from last year, DT Andrew Johnson and DE Daniel Stewart. Youngstown State just could not come up with defensive stops at crucial times during games last year.

The Bottom Line:
Youngstown State is a powerful team that scores a lot of points. Last year they were left out of the playoffs after a bad defeat by Missouri State. Youngstown State could easily make some noise in the playoffs if the defense can find some sort of fire and play with the amount of emotion that the offense does. Additionally, Youngstown State needs to create turnovers and find some way to control the game from the defensive side. Those turnovers will lead to large swings in momentum that can change games dramatically, not to mention the confidence it gives the defense. I’m sure that the Penguins are fired up and ready to redeem themselves in 2012. That said, they must refocus and prepare for an absolute brawl this year in the Missouri Valley Football Conference.

Projected Postseason: FCS Playoffs

2011 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 232.09 (10th in nation, 1st in conference)
Passing Offense: 227.55 (43, 2)
Total Offense: 458.64 (5, 1)
Scoring Offense: 32.20 (6, 1)
Rushing Defense: 151.20 (48, 5)
Pass Defense: 196.00 (59, 4)
Total Defense: 347.20 (49, 3)
Scoring Defense: 27.40 (53, 6)
Turnover Margin: .25 (t. 36, 4)
Sacks: 2.12 (t. 56, t. 2)
Sacks Allowed: 1.12 (11, 2)

Madness 2012 FCS Football Recruit Rankings:
#38 Nick Wargo
#155 Christian Wilson