YSU Football Wins Gateway Conference Championship
The 2006 Youngstown State Football squad posted a memorable campaign winning 11 games, earning the school’s second consecutive Gateway Conference title, reaching the NCAA semifinals and finishing fourth in the final national polls.
The high-flying Penguin offense averaged 31.4 points per game and 381.6 yards of total offense. Overall, the Guins amassed 5,343 yards of total offense and scored 440 points.
Senior tailback Marcus Mason led the way being named a consensus All-American and the 2006 Gateway Offensive Player of the Year. He placed fourth in the Walter Payton Award balloting which honors Division IAA’s top offensive player. Mason rushed for a school-record 1,847 yards on 302 carries and scored 23 touchdowns. He averaged an impressive 153.9 yards per game, second most in the nation. Center Ryan Jewell joined Mason as a first-team All-American selection.
YSU scored at least 27 points on 10 occasions, including a 35-31 first-round playoff victory over James Madison, which was televised nationally on ESPN2, and a 28-21 win over Gateway rival Illinois State. During the year the Guins knocked off five ranked foes and finished fourth in the final Sports Network and CSN Coaches Poll after losing to eventual national champion Appalachian State in the semifinals.
The defense had six individuals named first-team all-conference -- cornerback Jason Perry, cornerback Codera Jackson, defensive tackles Jim Phelan and Mychal savage and linebackers James Terry and Marty Hutchinson – while punter Joe Bishop was named first-team all-league. The group came up with numerous game-saving stops throughout the campaign.
Head Coach Jon Heacock was named the Gateway Coach of the Year, finalist for the Eddie Robinson Award and the I-AA AFCA Region Four Coach of the Year.