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2024 YSU Football: Unveiling the Path to Victory

September 1, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Youngstown State Penguins wide receiver Andre Stubbs (4) runs into the end zone to score a 13 yard touchdown against the Pittsburgh Panthers during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. The Youngstown State Penguins won 31-17.
© Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Heading into the 2024 season, Youngstown State must fill significant gaps left by departing offensive stars while facing a demanding schedule. The tough matchups will be a crucible in which new talents emerge while the team's resilience is tested.

With eyes set on surpassing last year's achievements, the Penguins aim to transform adversity into strength, forging a path towards playoff contention and beyond.

YSU Football Schedule Overview

The 2024-2025 YSU football season kicks off against ninth-ranked Villanova, who handed them a divisional playoff loss last year. Following this tough opener, they face Valparaiso and Duquesne. The Penguins beat Duquesne in the wild card round of last season’s playoffs.

YSU then heads to Pittsburgh for an FCS vs. FBS matchup against the Panthers. After this, the Penguins travel to Missouri State and return home for a game against Indiana State. The season's most formidable challenge awaits in Brookings, S.D., where YSU Football takes on the back-to-back defending champion South Dakota State Jackrabbits. The Penguins conclude their season with games against South Dakota, North Dakota, Illinois State, Southern Illinois, and finally, a home game against UNI.

Team Analysis

As the Penguins prepare for the 2024 season, they face substantial obstacles. They particularly stand out on the offensive side following the departure of standout quarterback Mitch Davidson. Davidson’s impressive statistics tell the story: he averaged 237.54 passing yards per game, completed 69.57 percent of his passes, and achieved a passer rating of 158.31. He had 24 touchdowns and only 6 interceptions. He ranked No. 4 in passing yards (3,088), No. 11 in passing touchdowns, and No. 8 in passing efficiency within the FCS.

The Penguins also need to find new leaders in their rushing game. They lost Tyshon King, who rushed for 1,038 yards on 187 carries and scored 9 touchdowns, and Dra Rushton, who added 682 yards on 163 carries.

Additionally, the receiving corps will miss Bryce Oliver, whose 64 receptions totaled 978 yards and 8 touchdowns, averaging 15.28 yards per catch.

On the defensive front, YSU must replace key players like defensive linemen Lee Devin and Dylan Wudke, who were instrumental in the team’s success last season. Devin and Wudke contributed 5 and 4 sacks, respectively, and their departure leaves a significant gap on the defensive line.

The Missouri State Bears beat the Youngstown State Penguins 21-10 to clinch a share of the Missouri Valley Football Conference Championship on Saturday, April 10, 2021 at Plaster Stadium. Tmsu Football01255
© Nathan Papes/Springfield News-Leader via Imagn Content Services, LLC

While the Penguins face the challenges of replacing key players, there are opportunities across various positions for up-and-comers to make their mark.

In the quarterback room, sophomores Beau Brungard, Bryce Schondelmyer, and Max Blanc, along with hometown product Brady Shannon, are set to compete for the starting role. Each brings unique skills and determination to the field, eager to lead the offense.

In the backfield, redshirt freshman Da'shaun Whatley and sophomore Cephis Harris aim to step up. Though relatively unproven, these young tailbacks possess raw talent and untapped potential, ready to contribute to the team's offensive firepower.

On the defensive side, seniors Latrell Fordham and Kerion Martin look to build upon their previous performances and lead by example in the secondary. While their statistics may not be eye-catching, their experience and leadership qualities will be invaluable in guiding younger players and elevating the overall defensive unit's performance.

Expectations and Predictions

Overall, the Penguins are looking to build on the 2023 season and improve upon their 8-5 record and playoff berth from last year. With a significant amount of offensive production to replace, the team faces a tough challenge. However, the rigorous 2024 schedule will test their mettle and, ultimately, make them better prepared for a playoff run.

If they can endure the season, then they will come out of it sharper and more resilient for the postseason. The season ahead looks tough, but the Penguins will emerge stronger, battle-hardened, and ready for all challenges with confidence and determination.

As the 2024 season approaches, Youngstown State faces a daunting task of replacing key offensive players and navigating a challenging schedule. The road ahead will test the Penguins. But there is a chance for new stars to emerge and find a resilience from tough matchups. The Penguins have the opportunity to build on last year's success. If they can endure the season, then YSU will be well-prepared for a deep playoff run, embodying the spirit of a team forged by fire and ready to soar to new heights.


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