Story and photo courtesy of Youngstown State Athletics
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - The Youngstown State football team opened the 30th Anniversary of Stambaugh Stadium with a 59-0 win over Valparaiso and extended its home-opener winning streak to 17 on Saturday afternoon.
The Guins improve to 2-0 while the Crusaders fall to 0-2. The win marks the first time YSU has started 2-0 since 2006 and marks the first shutout since a 28-0 win over Indiana State in 2009.
Junior quarterback Kurt Hess moved into sole possession of third place on YSU's history chart with 42 career touchdown passes. Hess completed 7-of-10 attempts for 138 yards and two touchdowns. Hess has 4,869 career passing yards and needs just 131 more to become just the fifth quarterback in school history to pass for at least 5,000 yards.
Junior Torrian Pace rushed for a career-high 146 yards on 14 carries and scored two touchdowns. Pace scored twice in the second quarter on runs of three and 14 yards.
Redshirt freshman Demond Hymes carried 11 times for 80 yards and two touchdowns, the first of his brief YSU career.
The Penguins scored seven touchdowns in the first half, totaled 524 offensive yards for the contest and averaged 7.8 yards per play. The last time YSU had totaled at least 500 yards on offense was 646 yards against Saint Francis (Pa.) in 2011. Of the 524 yards, 334 came on the ground on 46 attempts for a 7.3 average.
The defense held Valpo to just 190 total yards and 11 first downs. It was the first shut out since Head Coach Eric Wolford took over the program and since YSU blanked Central State in 2008.
Touchdowns on their first two possessions and a fumble return for a touchdown by Jeremey Edwards gave the Guins a quick 21-0 lead just five minutes into the contest.
On the game's opening possession, Hess hit Christian Bryan for a 24-yard touchdown pass with 13 minutes left to give the Guins a 7-0 lead.
The defense forced a three-and-out on the Crusaders' first possession, then junior Ali Cheaib blocked a punt and Ricardo Dixon recovered at the Valpo 11-yard line.
On the next play, Hess connected with Will Shaw to give the Guins a 14-0 advantage at the 10:53 mark of the first quarter.
Senior Travis Williams forced a fumble on the second play of the Crusaders' next possession, and Edwards scooped up the loose ball and returned it seven yards for a touchdown for a 21-0 lead.
Pace scored on the first play of the second quarter capping a 62-yard, seven-play drive to put the Guins ahead 28-0.
Cook, Hymes and Pace each scored from two, one and 14 yard out to extend the YSU to 49-0 at the intermission.
Patrick Angle completed 6-of-10 passes for 50 yards and Dante Nania was 1-of-1 for two yards.
David Brown kicked a 27-yard field goal with 11:55 left in the third to go up 52-0, and Hymes scored for the second time on a three-yard run to put the Penguins up 59-0 with 5:27 left in the fourth.
The Guins play host to Albany, Saturday, Sept. 15, at 4 p.m. at Stambaugh Stadium.