YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The YSU Football team will travel to Michigan State on Saturday for the first time since 2013. And for a large portion of the Penguin’s young roster, this will be the biggest stage they’ve ever played on.
“This game is pretty exciting, playing against a Power 5 school especially the Big Ten,” said Penguins defensive back Keyon Martin. “The challenge for me is they like to throw the ball. So for me being able to prove myself and put my money where my mouth is, since I’ve been talking about it my whole life. This is just an opportunity to step up to the plate.
“This is a dream come true for me,” said Penguins tight end Andrew Ogletree. “My dream is to play in the NFL. They’re going to have packed houses every week, so it’s just an NFL game to me. That’s how I’m treating it.”
The Penguins are coming off one of the best rushing performances in school history. Senior Jaleel McLaughlin racked up 242 yards last Thursday, which ranks seventh all-time at Youngstown State.
But the Penguins will also be facing a daunting task this Saturday when they take on Kenneth Walker III, who finished with 262 yards rushing last week against Northwestern, which ranks seventh all-time at Michigan State and currently leads the nation.
“I believe we can stop them and hold them,” Martin said. “I don’t believe they can do that on us to be honest, especially with Grant Dixon and Griffin Hoak. We got a strong defensive line. We can meet their physicality. I believe it’s going to be a good game, especially with our running back. I believe he can dot that every week. So I know he’s going to do what he’s going to do.”
“It’s tremendous challenges across the board,” said Head Coach Doug Phillips. “We got to go in with a simplified plan so we can play fast, play loose. For us to have the opportunity to play against a Big Ten, I’m happy for our kids that they get that opportunity to play at that stage because they probably wanted to play at that level. Let’s be realistic here, for some reason maybe they didn’t have enough stars, maybe they weren’t tall enough. So our kids when they go into a game, they’re excited to be able to go out there and play football.”
The Penguins will kickoff at Michigan State this Saturday at noon.