Youngstown State 38
ON OFFENSE – Devlin Hodges, Samford (33-51 passing, 372 yards, 3 TDs).
ON DEFENSE – Derek Rivers, Youngstown State (3 tackles, 1 sack, 3 TFLs).
ON SPECIAL TEAMS – Jody Webb, Youngstown State (2 kick returns, 70 yards). [divider]
THE TURNING POINT
The third quarter and early part of the fourth quarter were the turning point in this game, and maybe the launch-point of YSU's postseason run. The Penguins came into the playoffs with a ton of respect for their defense, but not so much for their offense. When they went into halftime with a 10-7 lead, that appeared to be a fair assessment of the team.
But three touchdowns between the 13:03 mark in the third quarter and the 12:13 mark in the fourth turned this game into a blowout and YSU into a serious contender. [divider]
While Samford is a throwing team with a terrific quarterback in Devlin Hodges, YSU holding the Bulldogs to 24 yards rushing is ridiculously impressive. Samford averaged 1.4 yards per carry. On offense, the Penguins rushed for 289 yards. Running the football and stopping the run can take you a long way in the FCS playoffs. Up next for YSU is No. 3 Jacksonville State. The Gamecocks are a whole new level compared to Samford, but YSU's defense is playing elite ball right now. [divider]