‘It’s never over’: YSU ready to fight to the finish with Western Illinois

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The YSU Football team will start conference play this weekend against Western Illinois, the only team in the MVFC without a win yet this season.

But a win will not come easy for Youngstown State. The Leathernecks rallied to beat the Penguins earlier this spring and scored 56 points in a loss to Eastern Washington last week.

Their fight to the finish in both games has not gone unnoticed by Head Coach Doug Phillips.

“No, it’s never over,” Phillips said. “We learned at Incarnate Word that we stayed in that game and fought to the end. They did it against us last year, but seeing them comeback last week, they’re a good football team.”

“Every single team we play we know it’s going to be great competition,” said Penguins linebacker Grant Dixon. “Going into this week, everyone just needs to do their job, and if everyone does their job, we all fly to the ball, we’ll come out with a win.”

“Another thing he’s [Coach Phillips] been harping on is it’s been a rivalry through the history of YSU verse Western Illinois,” said Penguins wideout Jorge Portorreal. “Dating back to the years when Coach Tressel was here, he struggled with them. So there’s rivalry, there’s tension between the two of us. So we’re definitely really excited to play the game and get a win.”

The Penguins and Leatherneck will kickoff this Saturday at 6 p.m. at Stambaugh Stadium.

“It’d be great to have a crowd like we did last game, with the band and the student sections,” Phillips said. “Just walking through the tailgate lots, that was great to see and I look forward to doing that again this Saturday.”

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