The Valparaiso University football team went toe-to-toe with full-scholarship foe Youngstown State in the first quarter on Saturday afternoon at Stambaugh Stadium in Youngstown, but the Penguins pulled away for a 42-7 victory. Valpo carried the momentum early, jumping out to a 7-0 lead 10 minutes into the game, but the Penguins scored 42 unanswered to close out the victory.
How It Happened
- Local running back Anthony Maceo (Portage, Ind. / Portage) had a big play on Valpo’s opening drive, as the true freshman carried it for 14 yards on the first play of his career. That marked the highlight of a drive that saw Valpo set back by a penalty before eventually punting.
- The Valpo defense started the day on a high note by forcing a three-and-out on Youngstown’s first drive. Drew Snouffer (Columbus, Ohio / Upper Arlington) and Jesse Studyvin (Barnhart, Mo. / St. Pius X) made quality defensive plays in succession to help lead to the stop.
- After a bad snap on a punt play allowed the Penguins (1-2) to start a drive in Valpo territory, the Valpo defense held strong again. Jamari Booker (Kentwood, Mich. / East Kentwood) made a key third-down stop, leading to the missed 42-yard field goal attempt by Zack Kennedy.
- On the first play of the ensuing drive, something that will come as no shock to Valpo fans occurred – Griffin Norberg (Sunrise, Fla. / Western) made a big play. The senior wide receiver outran everyone on a pass over the middle that went for a 75-yard touchdown from quarterback Chris Duncan (Woodland Hills, Calif. / Woodland Hills-Taft). That allowed Valpo to strike first and own a 7-0 lead with 5:09 left in the first quarter.
- Youngstown State responded with an eight-play, 75-yard drive to tie the game at seven. A key personal foul penalty against Valpo turned what would have been fourth-and-12 from near midfield into an automatic first down. Montgomery VanGorder found Natavious Payne open for a 27-yard TD to cap the drive and tie the game at seven with 1:46 left in the first quarter.
- With the game still even at seven, Valpo put together a 10-play, 31-yard drive that resulted in a missed field goal. Elias Earley (Land O’Lakes, Fla. / Carrollwood Day) made his first reception of the season for 10 yards on a key third down, before Valpo converted again on third down with another Duncan-to-Norberg connection.
- Two big plays, one rushing and one passing, allowed the Penguins to march down field and take a 14-7 lead after a drive that took only 52 seconds.
- The next Valpo drive resulted in an interception, setting Youngstown State up with a short field. The Penguins punched it into the end zone to build the lead to 21-7 at halftime.
- The Penguins started the third quarter the same way they ended the first half – with an impressive drive that resulted in seven points. Youngstown State tacked on two more touchdowns before the game concluded, cruising to the 42-7 win.
Inside the Game
- Norberg made his second touchdown reception of over 50 yards in as many weeks. He has been on the receiving end of both Duncan touchdown passes this season. That was the ninth receiving TD of Norberg’s career and his 11th overall TD.
- Norberg finished with over 90 yards receiving for the second straight week, this time surpassing the 100-yard plateau. He finished with five receptions for 102 yards, coming within two yards of his career high, which was established in the 2017 season opener at Montana.
- Senior Jean Rene (Delray Beach, Fla. / Wellington Community) had four receptions for 59 yards.
- Duncan finished 13-of-24 for 177 yards, while Trey Bilinski (Nappannee, Ind. / Northwood) made his collegiate debut and completed three of his five pass attempts. Duncan’s TD pass was the fourth of his career and his second this season.
- Snouffer led the team in tackles again this week, once again reaching a double-figure total. He had nine solos among his 11 stops, while Austin Petrie (Livonia, Mich. / Stevenson) had six tackles, highlighted by 1.5 tackles for loss.
Valpo (0-2) will open the home portion of the season next week with a 1 p.m. CT kickoff on Saturday as Truman State comes to Brown Field. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3, which can be accessed free of charge with a cable subscription. Links to live video, audio and stats are available on ValpoAthletics.com.