(STATS) – A return to the FCS playoffs after 10 years had Youngstown State not wanting to give up the football Saturday.
Jody Webb rushed for 174 yards and two touchdowns and the Penguins controlled nearly 39 minutes of game clock in beating Samford 38-24 in the first round of the FCS playoffs at Stambaugh Stadium.
Youngstown State (9-3), a four-time national champion which is in the playoffs for the first time since 2006, advanced to play at No. 3 seed Jacksonville State (10-1) in the second round next Saturday.
Article continues below ...
Coach Bo Pelini's team wanted to rely on its rushing attack to keep the ball out of the hands of Samford quarterback Devlin Hodges. The Southern Conference's offensive player of the year threw for 372 yards as well as three touchdowns to wide receiver Kelvin McKnight, but two of the scores came after Youngstown State built a 38-10 lead.
Webb highlighted the win with a 62-yard touchdown run. Martin Ruiz (78 yards), Tevin McCaster and Shane Kuhn also scored on the ground.
Youngstown State, the third-place finisher in the Missouri Valley Football Conference, improved to 15-1 all-time in playoff games at Stambaugh Stadium. The Penguins won national titles in 1991, '93, '94 and '97 under coach Jim Tressel, now the university president.
Samford (7-5) ended the season 2-5 on the road. Hodges, who entered the game as the No. 3 passer, finished the season with 4,092 passing yards. Leading receiver Karel Hamilton caught 11 passes for 147 yards and McKnight had 11 for 144 yards.