Some final thoughts on SDSU’s slump-busting win at Youngstown State:
SDSU is halfway through a four-week run of Walter Payton Award candidates. Up next: UNI quarterback Tirrell Rennie.
Youngstown State has what the Jacks want – four national titles and a brand new indoor practice facility. The Penguins opened the $12.3 million Watson and Tressel Training Site (above) late last year. It serves the football, track, baseball, softball and soccer programs and is located near Stambaugh Stadium.
Add YSU to the list of Valley teams that have a more attractive non-conference schedule than the Jacks. In addition to a guarantee game against Michigan State, the Penguins host non-scholarship Valparaiso and lowly St. Francis. They also have a bye week, which SDSU does not.
Former Jacks assistant Shawn Mennenga attended the game Saturday, driving up from Cleveland where he is a special teams assistant with the Browns.
“He’ll always be a Jackrabbit,” coach John Stiegelmeier said. “Our players were excited to see him, too. It’s neat. He made the effort.”
The Penguins have played 12 consecutive conference games that were decided by 10 points or less.
It was shades of 2008 for the Jacks on Saturday. That’s the last time they hit on an offensive play of at least 73 yards, the last time a receiver went for at least 155 yards and the last time a quarterback topped the 300-mark in consecutive games.
The Jacks didn’t report any major injuries after the game, although RB Tyrel Kool and safety Rodkem Matthews got dinged.
YSU entered the game ranked in the top 10 in the FCS in fewest fumbles, third-down conversions, total offense and time of possession. Yet the Jacks forced a fumble and beat the Penguins in those other three categories.
SDSU also set a bunch of individual season high, namely: longest run, most touchdown passes, receiving yards, touchdown catches and longest catch.
That penalty for sideline interference against SDSU on the game-winning touchdown? It was called against Stiegelmeier. He apparently got in the way of an official while trying to signal for his team to go for one after the score. YSU was called for the same penalty earlier in the game.
On another officiating note, SDSU received a call from the Valley director of officials last week to say that a mistake was made on a third-quarter kickoff – the play where Kyle Harris broke his leg on an attempt. The Jacks should have been awarded a rekick similar to when the ball blows off the tee. Instead, Indiana State was awarded the ball deep in SDSU territory (but didn’t end up scoring).
Terry Vandrovec also posts regular updates on his Twitter page.