#23 Youngstown State FCS Football 2013 Preview

Youngstown State Penguins

Overall Rank: #23
#5 Missouri Valley

Youngstown State Team Page#23 Youngstown State FCS Football 2013 PreviewBuy Youngstown State Football Tickets

Recently it seems that each season is a bit more disappointing than the last for Youngstown State. In 2012 the Penguins got off to a great 4-0 start with wins over Pittsburgh, Albany and Northern Iowa. A month later and they were sitting at 4-4 with little hope of a playoff berth. The team did rally and win the last three contests of the 2012 campaign, but that is little comfort. With a bevy of talent returning, this should be the year YSU makes it back to where they belong.

2012 Record: 7-4, 4-4
2012 Postseason: None
Coach: Eric Wolford (23-21 at Youngstown State, 23-21 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Shane Montgomery
Defensive Coordinator: Joe Tresey

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Torrian Pace, RB, 320 yards
Passing: Kurt Hess, QB, 2,112 yards
Receiving: Andrew Williams, WR, 424 yards
Tackles: Teven Williams, LB, 63
Sacks: Kyle Sirl, DE, 3.0
Interceptions: Jamarious Boatwright, CB, 1; Julius Childs, CB, 1; Donald D’Alesio, S, 1

Other Key Returnees: WR Christian Bryan, OL Kyle Bryant, OL Chris Elkins, CB Dale Peterman, LB Dom Rich, WR Andre Stubbs, LB Travis Williams

Key Losses: RB Jamaine Cook, DT Nick DeKraker, S Jeremy Edwards, DE Josh Fenderson, OL Mark Pratt, TE Will Shaw, DT Aronde Stanton

There are not too many holes to fill on offense. The depth on the offensive line will have to pay off this year and new depth will need to be found while the Penguins build around tackle Kyle Bryant and guard turned center Chris Elkins. The hope is the ground game can remain strong without Jamaine Cook, who rushed for 1,279 yards and 15 scores during his senior season. Seniors Torrian Pace and Adaris Bellamy are ready to pick up the slack. But the star of the offense is quarterback Kurt Hess. Any passing record he does not already have at YSU, he will by the end of 2013. Hess’ numbers dropped last season, but he has had an amazing career, besides the fact that he has not played in the postseason. He has a great arm and usually makes very good decisions, but his will to win and leadership abilities are what will take the Penguins over the top. Receivers Andrew Williams, Christian Bryan and Andre Stubbs are all back to help Hess.

The defense is solid against the run, but playmakers are lacking. Nobody on the team forced more than one fumble or picked off more than one pass. Hess is not going to throw many interception and the whole team did a fine job holding onto the ball, but the Penguins still had a negative turnover margin. Four interceptions and seven fumble recoveries is not going to get any team into the playoffs. Part of the problem has been a lack of consistent pressure from the front four. With tackles Nick DeKraker and Aronde Stanton gone, that could remain an issue. Kyle Sirl has shown some promise and he is the only proven pass rusher on the team. Linebackers Travis and Teven Williams will spend some time in the backfield, but they mostly deserve credit for shutting down the run game. Corners Dale Peterman and Julius Childs and safety Donald D’Alesio are all capable of making big plays, but have yet to prove it. A couple transfers from Mid-American Conference schools could be the answer in the secondary.

The Bottom Line:
This team is more talented than their numbers indicate. Coach Eric Wolford is going to have talent to throw out on the field. It just really has not come together in the way Youngstown State fans have come to expect. The Penguins have been on the cusp of a playoff berth in 2011 and 2012 but, of course, have come up short. The schedule is always tough in the MVFC, but it does play out nicely for the Penguins to spend a little time filling in their few holes before they run into Northern Iowa, North Dakota State and South Dakota State to close out the regular season. In the end that may not get YSU into the playoffs, but they should have their destiny in their hands late into the season.

Projected Postseason: FCS Playoffs

2012 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 186.82 (29th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Passing Offense: 198.91 (70, 4)
Total Offense: 385.73 (50, 2)
Scoring Offense: 28.91 (42, 4)
Rushing Defense: 95.00 (5, 2)
Pass Defense: 213.64 (59, 10)
Total Defense: 308.64 (11, 4)
Scoring Defense: 23.73 (45, 6)
Turnover Margin: -0.27 (77, 8)
Sacks: 1.82 (71, 6)
Sacks Allowed: 0.73 (7, 1)

Madness 2013 FCS Football Recruit Rankings:
#41 Ricky Davis


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