×

YSU Scouting Report: Week 6

Youngstown State’s Demeatric Crenshaw throws a pass during the first half of the game, Saturday afternoon at the UNI Dome in Cedar Falls, Iowa. (David Dermer/Warren Tribune Chronicle)

YOUNGSTOWN — Teams seemingly headed in opposite directions are set to collide Saturday at Stambaugh Stadium, as Youngstown State returns home to face the Missouri State Bears.

YSU comes in at 1-3 and has experienced a tough last six quarters of football. The Penguins led Western Illinois 35-7 in the second quarter two weeks ago, but have been outscored by opponents 65-7 since.

Missouri State, meanwhile, checks in at 15th in this week’s FCS Stats Perform Top 25, courtesy of its impressive 3-1 record and three consecutive victories. The Bears’ 2-0 conference start is their program’s best since 1997.

Head coach Bobby Petrino — who previously coached at Louisville and Arkansas at the Power 5 level — has put his stamp on the Bears’ program by reaching into the transfer portal to add plenty of speed, athleticism and big-play ability to the MSU roster as a whole, and at the quarterback and receiving positions specifically.

QUARTERBACKS

YSU — Demeatric Crenshaw had his most productive game of the season last week at Northern Iowa, completing 25 of 37 passes for 198 yards and a 14-yard touchdown pass to Jorge Portorreal.

That was an important day of growth, but the redshirt freshman still needs to start hitting on big plays. Crenshaw’s 8.19 yards per completion rank 110th out of 113 FCS quarterbacks.

MSU — Petrino expressed excitement about transfer quarterback Jason Shelley ahead of the 2021 fall football season, and the dual-threat senior hasn’t disappointed.

Shelley, who spent his first three seasons between Utah and Utah State, ranks 24th in the FCS in passing yards with 1,066, and has thrown for six touchdowns. On the ground, he’s run for 160 yards and three scores on a team-high 55 carries.

EDGE — Missouri State

RUNNING BACKS

YSU — Jaleel McLaughlin has run into tough sledding since his impressive first half against WIU. The senior was kept to 20 yards on 12 attempts at UNI, as YSU as a whole mustered just 52 yards as a team.

McLaughlin and Co. are in for another challenge this week, as the Bears feature the No. 13 rushing defense in the FCS, giving up just 86.2 yards per game.

MSU — Kevon Latulas and Tobias Little form a dynamic 1-2 punch for Missouri State, whose rush attack averages 149.2 yards per game.

That figure ranks the Bears at 55th, but don’t discount the home-run capabilities of this backfield. Latulas is 30th nationally in yards per carry with an average of 5.55, and also can grab passes out of the backfield. He’s up to five catches for 77 yards and two TDs.

EDGE — Youngstown State

WIDE RECEIVERS

YSU — The tight ends once again were at the forefront of YSU’s passing game last week, as Drew Ogletree and Josh Burgett combined for 12 receptions and 83 yards.

The Penguins did attempt a few downfield passes, including a deep shot to Bryce Oliver that could have resulted in a long touchdown. YSU head coach Doug Phillips said the Penguins have worked on timing and execution to start amping up those big plays, which could provide a boon to C.J. Charleston, Oliver and Jorge Portorreal.

MSU — The other area Petrino targeted in the offseason, the Bears are deep and dynamic at the receiver spot.

Tyrone Scott and Xavier Lane, who transferred in from Central Michigan and Western Kentucky, respectively, have made an immediate impact for MSU. Scott has 16 receptions for 250 yards and two touchdowns, while Lane has a team-high 20 receptions for 248 yards and a score.

EDGE — Missouri State

OFFENSIVE LINE

YSU — After a tough first quarter, Doug Phillips felt the Penguin front settled in fairly well at UNI. YSU is allowing two sacks per game, ranking the Penguins 67th nationally.

The offensive line figures to have its hands full again this week, as MSU averages three sacks a game. That’s the 14th-best average in the FCS.

MSU — The Bears give up 3.75 sacks per game, a mark that puts them at 112th out of 123 teams in the FCS. That could create opportunities for YSU to disrupt the big-play capabilities of the Missouri State offense, which averages 34.2 points per game.

EDGE — Youngstown State

DEFENSIVE LINE

YSU — This week presents an opportunity for YSU’s defensive front to improve on its 1.25 sacks per game and four tackles per loss per game. That TFL mark is 109th in the FCS, while the sack average is 95th.

MSU — Defensive end Kevin Ellis is among the top opponents YSU will see up front, and for good reason. The senior has 4.5 sacks and 6.5 TFLs this year, putting him in the top 15 of the FCS for both categories. He’s coming off a 10-tackle, 3-sack performance against South Dakota. The Bears’ three sacks per game are 14th nationally.

EDGE — Missouri State

LINEBACKERS

YSU — Grant Dixon intercepted a pass in the UNI-Dome last week, and leads the team in tackles (25) and TFLs (2.5).

However, the linebackers and YSU run defense as a whole were gashed for several big plays last week, including a 52-yard touchdown run by Dom Williams. Given Missouri State’s big-play capabilities, that will have to change quickly.

MSU — Illinois State’s run defense is stout, thanks in large part to the play of Tylar Wiltz and Ferrin Manuleleau. The duo has 44 tackles between them, including five TFLs.

If that dominance continues, YSU could be in for a tough day offensively.

EDGE — Missouri State

SECONDARY

YSU — Big plays were a bit of an issue for the defensive backfield last week, and YSU’s pass defense as a whole is giving up 297.8 yards per game, ranking it 112th in the FCS. Deep threats abound with Missouri State, so the Penguins will have to tighten up if they’re to come away with a win.

MSU — Like YSU, the secondary has been a tough spot for the Bears. MSU gives up 299 yards per game through the air, slotting it one spot behind YSU at 113th in terms of pass defense.

EDGE — Youngstown State

SPECIALISTS

YSU — Colt McFadden is 3-for-4 on field goals this season, while punters Paddy Lynch and Nick DeSalvo have done well in their 2-man rotation.

MSU — The Bears get their money’s worth on special teams, as punter Grant Burkett averages 47.65 yards per punt, fifth-most in the FCS. MSU is also third in terms of net punting.

Kick returner Montrae Braswell is fifth in the FCS with 34.2 yards per return.

EDGE — Missouri State

PREDICTION

The Penguin offense should produce a little more this week, but still not enough to keep pace with the potent Bears.

Missouri State wins, 35-17.

NEWSLETTER

Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *
     

COMMENTS

Starting at $4.62/week.

Subscribe Today