YSU - YSU quarterback Kurt Hess took most of last week's game against Valparaiso off, giving some reps to backup Patrick Angle. Expect Hess to play in all of today's game. Hess so far on the season has looked poised and primed under center, connecting on 22-of-33 passes for 292 yards and four touchdowns in essentially a game and a half.
ALBANY - Will Fiacchi takes the snaps for the Great Danes. The sophomore will be making his third career start against the Penguins, as he took over for an all-conference quarterback who graduated after 2011. So far this season, Fiacchi is 33-of-46 for 351 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.
EDGE - YSU
YSU - Like Hess, Cook sat out a majority of the Valpo game, but he should get a bulk of the carries against the Great Danes. A great thing for the running game was the play of Torrian Pace last week - who now leads the team with 168 yards rushing and two touchdowns. The duo of those two is going to be a great weapon for the Penguins.
ALBANY - Returning for his senior season is tailback Drew Smith. In 2011, Smith rushed for 1,092 yards and so far this season has accumulated 231 on 37 carries. Next in line for the Great Danes is Omar Osbourne who has 137 yards and one score. Albany runs the ball more than YSU, but the quality of the backs is pretty close.
EDGE - YSU
YSU - The play of tight end Will Shaw has been stellar so far this season, leading the team with five catches for 65 yards. Wide receiver Christian Bryan caught his first touchdown pass of the season last week against Valpo. Andre Stubbs had a great night in the opener, but was quiet last week. Any of the three are capable targets for Hess.
ALBANY - Ryan Kirchner has been the leading receiver for Albany the past two years. This season, he has 67 yards on nine catches. Leading the Great Danes is Cole King with 145 yards and seven catches. Most of those yards came last week against Robert Morris.
EDGE - YSU
YSU - Zero is the number that shines through with the offensive line - as in zero sacks allowed through two games. Also, they have the most starting experience on the team, as Andrew Radakovich has 33 total starts, 28 consecutive, to lead the way. However, the Great Danes defensive front likes to rush the quarterback, so this line will have to show their grit and keep Hess on his feet.
ALBANY - The line is led by 2011 first-team all-conference selection, left tackle, Kadeem Williams. Like YSU, a group of veterans packs the line and has only allowed one sack this season. This line led Albany to have the best offense in the FCS Northeast Conference last year. This will be a great battle.
EDGE - YSU
YSU - The line has been quiet in the sense of individual statistics, but they've played great in the first two games. The Penguins front four has limited opposing offenses to 177 yards rushing. Albany likes to run the ball, so this game will be a great test for them getting ready to go into conference play.
ALBANY - The defensive line likes to pressure the quarterback, as the line alone has three sacks on the year. Ocieka Bakou is big on the line for the Great Danes, having seven tackles, 2.5 for loss, so far this season.
EDGE - Albany
YSU - Travis Williams had a huge game against Valpo last week, recording 10 tackles. He got the start as Dubem "Bam" Nwadiogbu has been fighting an injury. Teven Williams has also been solid for the linebackers, register 10 tackles in two games, including a tackle for loss.
ALBANY - Inside linebacker Jon Morgan pops out of the stat chart. The middle linebacker in the Great Danes 4-3 scheme leads the team with 13 tackles and was a first-team All-NEC selection last season. He's the Great Danes' active career tackle leader with 206. Chris Wilk and Kyle Jordan flank Morgan and have a total of 14 tackles between the two.
EDGE - Even
YSU - Though yet to pick off a pass this season, the secondary is still showing improvement each week. Dale Peterman has come along nicely for the Penguins, already with 12 tackles this season. Julius Childs is another player high on coach Eric Wolford's list. Childs has eight tackles so far. Also, Jeremey Edwards has had two great games this season, as he has had two fumble recoveries, one in each game.
ALBANY - The Albany secondary has allowed 398 yards passing this season, which is close to 200 yards per game. The defensive backs are led by Justinian Mason with nine tackles and one interception this year. Total, the secondary has picked off opposing quarterbacks three times this season.
EDGE - Even
YSU - David Brown has been perfect this season, connecting on 12-of-12 PATs and good on both field goals he's attempted. Both were from the 20-yard range. There has yet to be that "big play" on either of the return game, but with Stubbs and Demond Hymes back there to return, it's only a matter of time.
ALBANY - Sean Kenny is the new kicker this season for Albany, taking over for a graduated all-conference kicker. So far, Kenny is 1-of-3. Punter Paul Layton averages 41 yards a punt. Like the Penguins, there really hasn't been a big breakout play so far for the Great Danes.
EDGE - YSU
Youngstown State gave a lot of the starters rest against Valpo last week, so hopefully they are fresh and hungry, because this is a great game to get prepped for conference play, starting next week. I think both defenses are very even, but I think the difference is going to come in the offenses, and which offense can make which defense crack first. Hess definitely wins the battle of the quarterbacks on paper, so if he can have a big day, and get the running game involved as well, I see YSU taking this one and getting its first 3-0 start since 2005.