There were early struggles on offense and a few mistakes again
on special teams, though coach Joe Paterno's squad got a
confidence-boosting win heading into next week's showdown at
top-ranked Ohio State.
"We were a little erratic in some things that we have to
improve on," Paterno said. "But I think overall we made some
progress. We are certainly not good enough yet."
Still, Penn State was too big and fast for the Penguins (2-1)
for much of the afternoon. The Lions had 568 yards of total
offense, and held Youngstown State to 184, including just 41 in the
"Nobody likes to lose. We didn't come here to lose," Penguins
coach Jon Heacock said. "That stinks, that feeling doesn't feel
The game was scoreless midway through the second quarter when
Penn State's offense took off after Wallace took the reverse
handoff. He eluded the grasp of one tackler, got a nice block from
wideout Deon Butler inside the 5 before dashing past the goal line
and pointing to fans in the end zone to give Penn State a 10-0
Derrick Bush recovered a fumble by Monquantae Gibson to save a
turnover on Youngstown State's next drive, but safety Anthony
Scirrotto had a 28-yard interception on the next play after
Penguins quarterback Tom Zetts was chased out of the pocket by
linebacker Paul Posluszny.
Hunt turned a screen into a 16-yard gain on the ensuing drive,
and the tailback scored two plays later on a draw from 12 yards out
to extend Penn State's lead to 17-0.
Linebacker Dan Connor said the win helped erase the sting of
blowout loss to Notre Dame two weeks ago.
"That helps out, getting all 11 guys on defense and all 11 guys
on offense making big plays, big runs," Connor said.
About the only area in which the Lions didn't dominate was
special teams. A long kickoff return by Williams was called back
because of an illegal block penalty. Kicker Kevin Kelly had three
field goals, including one from 49 yards, but missed on three
There was a smattering of boos and loud sighs from
blue-and-white clad fans after Kelly missed a 31-yarder in a
scoreless first quarter. A small contingent of Penguin fans made
the trip down Interstate 80 from Ohio.
"We had the mindset that we had to work hard," said Connor,
who finished with five tackles. "We didn't play the perfect game
and we need to improve on a lot of areas."
Penn State led 20-0 at halftime after the TD runs by Wallace and
Hunt. Youngstown State was held to 41 yards offense in the half,
including minus-2 rushing, and just three first downs.
The Penguins found a little more success after opening the
second half with a 14-play, 64-yard drive highlighted by quick,
short passes and runs by Zetts. Brian Palmer kicked a 33-yard field
goal for the Penguins' only score.
"I think that our guys know that they hung in there and fought
until the very and I'm proud of that," Heacock said.
Zetts finished 12-of-20 for 95 yards and one interception. Penn
State's Anthony Morelli looked good early but wasn't sharp late,
finishing 11-for-27 for 154 yards.
Youngstown State's leading rusher, Marcus Mason, didn't play
because of a sore hamstring, though Heacock said he was available.
Mason had run for 208 yards and four touchdowns in the Penguins'
first two games.
The Penguins' leading tackler, linebacker Jeremiah Wright, hurt
his right knee in early in the first quarter and did not return.
Penn State added Youngstown State to the schedule after
Louisiana Tech backed out late last year because of a scheduling
conflict in the Western Athletic Conference.
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... Kevin Kelly's 28-yard FG gave the Nittany Lions a 20-0 lead after the first quarter.
Gameball goes to... Tony Hunt. The Penn State RB ran for 143 yards and scored one TD in the 34-point win.
Stat of the game... 389: Penn State racked up nearly 400 rushing yards, compared to the Penguins' 184 total yards.