Wells looks good at QB

Youngstown State quarterback Hunter Wells threw his first two touchdown passes of the season in the Penguins’ 21-14 victory over Southern Illinois and may have solidified himself as the starter. Wells finished 13-of-25 for 124 yards, two TDs and zero interceptions. The numbers weren’t great, but with the constant changes and inconsistencies at the position, YSU coach Bo Pelini liked what he saw.

“I saw some really positive things, and I thought the offense played better today,” Pelini said. “(Wells) played better. He missed a couple things he’s going to want back, but I thought overall he played pretty well.”

Ricky Davis, who started three of the first four games, wasn’t in pads as he continues to go through concussion protocol. It’s uncertain who will start if Davis is healthy next week. Wells is just happy for another opportunity after losing the starting job to Davis in training camp.

“It’s defintely been a tough season for me, obviously having the mindset that I wasn’t playing and wasn’t the guy, that kind of brought me down,” he said. “When they gave me the opportunity again, I couldn’t pass that up. It kind of brought my spirit back up. And I was excited to get back out there with my guys because I’d do anything for my teammates. I really respect those guys for still supporting me through everything.”

WELCOME BACK: YSU made a concerted effort to get running back Jody Webb involved in the offense early on against SIU.

Webb, a preseason first-team all-conference pick, has struggled one year after setting a school record by averaging seven yards per carry. He sparked the offense Saturday, rushing for a season-high 167 yards on 21 carries, and he played a major role in the Penguins scoring their first two offensive touchdowns since an Oct. 22 game against South Dakota State.

“Getting him going is the right step moving forward because he’s someone that can really help our offense if we get him going the way he’s capable of playing,” Wells said. “He’s a great playmaker.”

Webb also had 35 receiving yards and 12 kickoff return yards for 214 all-purpose yards.

WHERE’S RIVERS?: The Penguins showed a lot of different looks defensively against SIU, using a variety of packages that had players running in and out.

Several of them seemed to leave All-American Derek Rivers on the sideline, which seemed strange considering he’s tied for the team lead in sacks (9) and is the school’s all-time leader in that category with 35. He’s also sixth on YSU in tackles with 33.

“There’s no packages where Derek Rivers isn’t on the field,” Pelini said. “That was just a substitution. We don’t want him playing every snap.”

Rivers said he tweaked his ankle last week, and it slowed him some on pass-rushing situations, which may have played into the decision. He also suffered “a stinger” to his shoulder on Saturday.