This Saturday the Youngstown State University Penguins will take on the James Madison University Dukes in the NCAA Division 1 FCS National Championship in Frisco, Texas. YSU has the opportunity to bring home the fifth national championship in the school’s history.
Coach Bo Pelini’s second season at YSU has been one for the books. On December 17th, Youngstown State won 40-38 at Eastern Washington with a last-second touchdown catch. The Penguins scored 20 points in the 4th quarter to give them a 12-3 record. This win came after the double-overtime 30-23 win over Wofford. One thing is for sure about the 2016 Penguins – they know how to keep the fans on the edge of their seats!
Youngstown State University previously won the National Championship in 1991, 1993, 1994 and 1997. Mark Brungard, Penguins Quarterback, led his team in 1993 and 1994, making him the only Quarterback in YSU history to win two championships.
This year’s Quarterback, Hunter Wells from Navarre, Ohio, has a passing average of 180.4 yards per game with a 63.3 passing percentage. Wells has 9 touchdown passes in the 2016 season for a total of 1443 yards passing. Team leadership skills along with his athletic talent have been just what the Penguins needed to reach their championship goals.
Kevin Rader, YSU’s Tight End, was the most celebrated player on the Penguins team this year with his game winning catch-of-a-lifetime that landed him the Number One Play of the Day on ESPN SportCenter. It was Rader’s reach-around catch that won the game against Eastern Washington, landing the Penguins in the National Championship game!
Tuesday night, we ran into some of the YSU football players at Quaker Steak & Lube for All You Can Eat Wings Nite. We were a little starstruck and didn’t stop to wish the players luck, but did twitter out a hello to them afterward. I think our timing was great since we were already finished eating by the time they came in. Those boys can probably eat their weight in buffalo wings!
This Saturday we will be cheering Don’s alma mater to victory at one of the area sports bars. With two YSU grads in our family, we have a great deal of school spirit. Excitement is in the air around Youngstown, Ohio and we couldn’t be more proud of this team.