|« Tinley's Paty Signs with Butler||Flyers' Defensive Line Losing only One Starter »|
Pitt, Penn State Trips on Docket for YSU
YOUNGSTOWN — Youngstown State will make return trips to Pittsburgh and Penn State as part of their football schedules the next two seasons.
The Penguins, coming off a 4-8 season marked by player injuries and defections, will visit Pittsburgh this fall and go to Happy Valley to face the Nittany Lions in 2010.
Those games will mark the fifth and sixth, respectively, against BCS-conference schools.
The Penguins began the “money games,” so-called because the guarantees provide a great influx of cash into the school’s athletic coffers, in 2005 with a 41-0 loss at Pittsburgh.
The following season Youngstown State traveled to Penn State and came home with a 37-3 defeat.
The last two seasons the Penguins played at Ohio State in the opener, losing 38-6 and 43-0.
Despite the lopsided scores, Youngstown State coach Jon Heacock understands the reality of such games in today’s college football environment.
“I was approached several years ago [by athletic director] Ron Strollo about playing these games and I told him ‘I’m OK with it,’ ” said Heacock on Thursday.
“It’s great for the kids; the atmosphere at those stadiums is something. And, those games are important for the good of our entire athletic department.
“One thing [playing ‘money games’] has done, is it forces our kids to work extra hard over the winter and summer to get ready,” said Heacock. “Our kids know they have to be ready to play against a really quality opponent or, quite frankly, it can get to be embarrassing.”
Last season Pittsburgh finished 9-4, which included a 3-0 loss to Oregon State in the Sun Bowl. The Panthers lost to Bowling Green, 27-17, in their opener, then won seven of their next eight games before losing to Big East champion Cincinnati, 28-21.
The Panthers must replace running back LeSean McCoy, who declared for the NFL Draft after rushing for 1,488 yards as a sophomore, but return quarterback Bill Stull, a native of Poland who prepped at Seton-LaSalle High in Pittsburgh.
Penn State will have former Cardinal Mooney standouts Brandon Beachum and Michael Zordich on its 2010 roster. Ursuline graduate Daryll Clark will be a senior this season.
Youngstown State has just five home games in 2009, the first time that’s happened since 1987.
The Penguins will play host to Austin Peay, a former rival in the Ohio Valley Conference, on Sept. 12, then travel to Northeastern of the Colonial Athletic Association (formerly the Yankee Conference) on Sept. 19.
Youngstown State plays host to four Missouri Valley Football Conference rivals — Missouri State, Western Illinois, South Dakota State and Illinois State.
The other non-league games in 2010 are at Stambaugh Stadium against Butler and Central Connecticut State, with MVFC opponents Southern Illinois, North Dakota State, Northern Iowa and Indiana State slated for visits to the Ice Castle.
“It’s our usual tough schedule in conference,” said Heacock of the 2009 slate, “and opening up with Pitt is exciting. It’s going to be a great challenge.
“The overall schedule is tough, but it also allows us the opportunity to get into the playoffs.”
Pitt, Penn State trips on dockets
Youngstown Vindicator Staff Report