College football returns to Ohio this Sunday


YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WCMH) — The college football season is almost here for teams in the Football Championship Subdivision, including Youngstown State.

The Penguins face FCS perennial powerhouse and No. 1 ranked North Dakota State on the road at 3:30 EST on Sunday. The Bison have won three FCS championships in a row and eight of the last nine.

Youngstown State played for the title in 2016 but lost to James Madison.

The unprecedented season will be led by first-year head coach Doug Phillips who took over the program in February 2020. Philips joins Youngstown State after three seasons on the coaching staff at Cincinnati. Phillips has nearly 25 years of football coaching experience, including six seasons at the FBS and FCS levels. He is the 8th coach in Youngstown State’s football history.

Phillips’ coaching staff includes three men with Central Ohio ties: John Peterson, Ashton Youboty, and Mike Tomczak.

YSU coaches with Central Ohio ties

John Peterson/Former Ohio State coach and offensive lineman: Peterson is an assistant coach, offensive tackles coach and tight ends coach at YSU. He’s in his second year with the YSU coaching staff and spent eight seasons (2004-11) coaching with Jim Tressel at Ohio State.

Peterson was the tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator at OSU and helped the Buckeyes compile an eight-year record of 80-22 while making two appearances in the BCS Championship Game (2006 and 2007). With Peterson overseeing the program’s recruiting efforts, Ohio State had seven classes rated among the nation’s top 15, including top five classes in 2008 and 2009. 

Peterson was also an offensive lineman for the Buckeyes from 1987-90. As a senior starting guard, he helped pave the way for 1,000-yard rusher Robert Smith.

Ashton Youboty/Former Ohio State cornerback: Youboty is in his first season with the Penguins and is serving as the cornerbacks coach.  Youboty was a standout defensive back at Ohio State and was named first-team All-Big Ten in 2005. He was taken 70th overall in the 2006 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills. Youboty played five seasons in Buffalo before finishing his career with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2011.

Youboty spent the past three years at Wisconsin serving in a variety of roles for the Badgers. He spent two seasons as a quality control specialist before moving in the role as Senior Defensive Analyst in 2019.

Mike Tomczak/Former Ohio State and NFL quarterback: Tomczak is serving as an advisor to the head coach in a voluntary role and is in his third season at YSU. Tomczak was a standout quarterback at Ohio State from 1981-84 and played 14 years in the NFL as a quarterback for the Steelers, Browns, Packers and Bears.

At Ohio State, Tomczak threw for what was then a record 5,569 yards. He now ranks 8th in that category. As a senior in 1984, he led OSU to an appearance in the Rose Bowl.

Notable YSU Players with Central Ohio ties

*Note: All four quarterbacks on Youngstown State’s roster played high school football in and around the Central Ohio area.

Joe Craycraft/Quarterback: Craycraft hails from Marion, Ohio and is in his third year with YSU. Last year, he played in 11 of the Penguins’ 12 games and started four. As a sophomore, Craycraft completed 66-of-127 passes for 893 yards and eight touchdowns while rushing for 143 yards on 59 carries and three touchdowns. He’s YSU projected starter for this season.

Griffin Hoak/Linebacker: Former Dublin Coffman standout Griffin Hoak is in his sophomore year at YSU. As a redshirt freshman, Hoak played in 11 of YSU’s 12 games and started the last two games of the season. Hoak was named first-team All-Ohio Division I as a senior and was an Ohio Division I All-Central District selection that year as well.

Demeatric Crenshaw/Quarterback: Crenshaw led Pickerington Central to its first state title in 2017 and helped the Tigers capture their second state championship two years later in 2019.

Conor Collins/Quarterback: Collins is a Bishop Hartley grad who’s entering his junior year at YSU. Collins helped lead the Hawks to the 2016 Division IV state championship. He redshirted his first two years at YSU and played in two games last year as a sophomore.

Matt Carlisle/Quarterback: Carlisle is a freshman quarterback who played at Newark Catholic High School. He helped lead the Green Wave to a 9-3 record and an appearance in the quarterfinals.

Dorian Holloway/Linebacker: Holloway was at Cincinnati for two seasons before transferring to YSU. Holloway was named one of Ohio’s top 75 players for the class of 2017 at Marion-Franklin.

Josh Burgett/Tight End: Burgett is a Grove City grad and is entering his junior year at YSU. He played in all 12 games last year and made eight starts.

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