The 11th-ranked Youngstown State University football team beat No. 21 University of Northern Iowa, 14-10, on Saturday despite key injuries.
YSU (5-1, 3-0 Missouri Valley Football Conference) lost starting quarterback Ricky Davis and backup Trent Hosick by halftime. But third-string quarterback Nathan Mays – an Urbana High School graduate – led YSU to victory.
Mays entered the game at the end of the second quarter and played the remainder of the game. Mays managed the offense and helped the Penguins push the ball down the field in the fourth quarter.
“Against a lot of odds, and a difficult situation, they just fought for that win,” YSU head coach Bo Pelini said. “Heck, Nathan Mays was on the scout team this week and I gave him a game ball because he deserves it.”
“It’s not quite the dramatic story. It’s definitely something you dream about, getting the chance to do something,” Mays said. “It was definitely out of nowhere until I got hit the first play. I’m in the meeting rooms every day watching film and I’m right by Ricky and Trent’s side.”
Along with the offense having two long scoring drives, the offensive line played well enough to wear UNI’s defense down. The Penguins ran the ball 61 times for 226 yards rushing.
“Nate and I took snaps throughout the week, so it wasn’t a big deal,” center Vitas Hrynkiwicz said. “He came up to us and assured us that he was ready to go. It’s the senior leadership, everyone just pushes us through saying just 2 more and keep going.”