YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Youngstown State football team (4-3) has just four games left to prove it belongs in the FCS playoffs this year.
Three of those games will come against teams that currently have a losing record, including Saturday’s opponent, Missouri State. The Bears are also the team that knocked the Penguins out of playoff contention last year.
“You got to win every game. You got to win every game,” said YSU head coach Doug Phillips. “There’s a lot of teams sitting there right in the middle. And after this week, some are going to make the climb up and some are going to make the climb down.”
“All these games are important,” said Penguins tailback Dra Rushton. “We’re in the Missouri Valley. We know all these games are important. They’re all playoff games for us.”
“We’ve just got to come on and play like how they’re going to have to come, come play,” said Penguins defensive back Marcus Hooker. “You know that it’s going to be a dogfight at the end of the day.”
The Penguins are coming off a dramatic 41-38 victory over Illinois State last weekend. Phillips said some of the motivation leading up to that win came from a Wednesday meeting with former university president Jim Tressel.
“Coach Tressel always knows when to make a right appearance,” Phillips said. “He shared with me, and I shared with our kids even Sunday, a Winston Churchill quote, ‘The gravest danger is the illusion that all is well, when indeed all is not well.’ It’s a team effort and we’re not there yet. It’s a process. We’re going to learn from that and we got to be a lot better when we show up Saturday at 2 p.m. against the Bears.”
Youngstown State will host Missouri State this Saturday at 2 p.m. at Stambaugh Stadium.