Hess staying humble while setting records

YOUNGSTOWN – Kurt Hess insists he’s just having fun.

Records fall as fast as defensive backs trying to guard receivers. Passes zip out of his hand so fast, defensive lineman are still getting out of their crouch. He’s accurate, making good decisions and hasn’t thrown an interception since Week 1 (that’s 152 straight passes).

The fifth-year senior doesn’t really care to talk about the “zone” he’s in. He’s just enjoying the moment.

“This game isn’t promised to everyone – it’s not promised to me much longer,” he said. “There’s not a lot of things guaranteed. On one play you could go down and be done for the rest of your career. I’m just having fun with every snap I take.”

He had plenty of it during YSU’s 59-21 victory over Illinois State. He finished 17 of 21 for 311 yards and four touchdowns. He is five completions shy of setting the school record, held by Tom Zetts (Boardman). He also can pass Zetts in attempts as he’s 53 behind. Hess already holds school records in passing TDs (68), passing yards (8,198 and counting), 200-yard passing games (22) and passer rating (142.7 prior to Saturday).

He gives a lot of the credit to an impressive receiving corps. Sophomores Marcel Caver, Andrew Williams and Andre Stubbs combined for nine catches, 217 yards and two touchdowns (67 and 40 yards).

Senior receiver Jelani Berassa, who caught two passes for 29 yards and one TD, has been at YSU for five years and was part of a record-breaking offense in 2011, but he thinks this group of wideouts might be the best yet.

“Those guys have so much potential,” Berassa said. “They’re so fast they can get behind any defense. With Kurt throwing the ball deep like that, we’ve got a lot of threats. We got Stubbs in the slot. Whatever the coaches want us to get done, the whole receiving crew can get it done.”

As for Berassa’s first TD since tearing his ACL in the summer of 2011: “It felt amazing. I’ve been waiting to get back in (the end zone) all season. I’ve been dreaming about this for a long time. I was so happy to get back in there”

  • YOU’RE OUTTA HERE: Vince Coleman was ejected from the game late in the third quarter for roughing the passer. He not only put a late hit on Illinois State’s quarterback, but the hit was a helmet-to-helmet shot.

When asked if he thought the ejection was warranted, Wolford said, “Yeah. That was a late hit. I don’t condone late hits. If the ball’s thrown, you can’t hit the quarterback.”

  • SCORING AT WILL: The 59 points by YSU were the most versus an MVC opponent in school history, breaking the mark of 56 against Western Illinois two years ago.
  • STREAK SNAPPED: North Dakota State was the last team to have a running back eclipse the 100-yard mark against the Penguins (Week 6 of 2012) before Marshaun Coprich ran for 110 yards on 14 carries on Saturday. However, 53 of those came in the second half when the game was well out of reach.
  • ATTENDANCE: The 16,593 fans in attendance were the most since Week 4 of 2012 against Northern Iowa (19,277).