Walking off of the plane in Youngstown after a disastrous trip to Fargo, mutters of, "I can't believe that just happened" were heard through the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport.
I'm sure on Sunday morning when the Youngstown State University football team woke up, they were hoping Saturday's 48-7 loss to North Dakota State was nothing but a nightmare.
Unfortunately, it was a reality.
The Penguins enforce a 24-hour rule for a win or loss. However, I'm sure they wanted to forget about the loss before they even left the Fargodome.
Though I'm sure coach Eric Wolford and the rest of the team want to put Saturday's loss - the worst defeat to a Missouri Valley Football Conference school in history - as far behind them as possible, there are many things that need to be adjusted for the Penguins to get back to their winning ways.
First and foremost, the defense has to get better. I realize NDSU was bigger, faster and stronger, but this wasn't the first game the defense has been outplayed.
The biggest thing that comes to my mind is the flea-flicker touchdown that Brock Jensen threw to Zack Vraa in the second quarter. As the play developed, I had a deja vu moment that took me back to Week 3 against Albany. The only difference between the two plays is that they happened in different venues and it was different opponents.
It was a carbon copy of the play YSU got burned on against the Great Danes. When asked about the play after the game, Jensen said that the Bison had it for a few weeks and they were just waiting for the right time to use it. Translation: We saw it on film, said 'We can do that,' and drew it up especially to use against the Penguins.
Whether or not that's what happened we will never know. What I do know is that the secondary, and the defense as a whole, isn't learning from mistakes.
Opposing receivers are getting way too much space to catch passes. The Penguins get burned on short slants and screen passes on a weekly basis and the Penguins tackling is less than desirable. Those are all things that can be corrected - and need to be fast.
Wolford said following the loss that many of the things he and the rest of the staff saw were correctable mistakes. Let's hope so.
Following the loss, defensive lineman Aronde Stanton probably had the best words to desribe the day.
"I really can't really be mad, because the way we played... if we had played good and lost, then maybe I'd be mad. The way that we played was disappointing. I'm not mad, I'm disappointed in the way that we played and next week we have to play way better than this."
Everyone around the YSU football team - coaches, players, media and the fans - are very interested to see how the Penguins are going to respond to this defeat. But one thing is for sure, if the same mistakes keeping being made, this probably won't be the only loss of the season.