Offense to face another home challenge
Kurtis Drummond is primed for something of a homecoming this weekend.
The junior safety and former SuperPrep and PrepStar All-Midwest Team honoree at Hubbard High School in Hubbard, Ohio went to school about two minutes away from the campus of Youngstown State University.
Being familiar with the history involving MSU head coach and former Youngstown assistant coach Mark Dantonio and defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi’s father, Bill, who coached the Penguins from 1975 to 1985, few understand the rich football heritage of the area quite like Drummond does.
As the Penguins come to town Saturday for the second time in the past three seasons (2 p.m., Big Ten Network), Drummond said this weekend’s matchup is a “little bit more special” to him.
“They’re going to come in here and play, just like they did in 2011,” Drummond said.
After redshirting in 2010, Drummond made his MSU debut against Youngstown State in 2011, collecting a single tackle in a 28-6 victory. Now, Drummond is the starting safety of MSU’s top-ranked defense and is tied for the team lead in tackles with 13.
The Penguins enter the weekend as the No. 23 team in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS)LM, ranking fourth in the division in total offense (579 yards per game) and 15th in total defense (280.5).
A week ago, Youngstown State dominated Morehead State in a 67-13 thrashing at Stambaugh Stadium, collecting 718 yards of offense and averaging a staggering 9.7 yards per play.
By comparison, MSU’s offense averages 281 yards per game with an average of four yards per play, largely struggling to find explosive plays with a rotating carousel at the quarterback position through the first two games.
With a Youngstown State staff that includes former Kansas head coach Mark Mangino and former Cincinnati defensive coordinator Joe Tresey, Dantonio said the Penguins play hard and are active on defense, which shouldn’t be overlooked on Saturday.
The Spartans enter the weekend looking to take a step forward on the offensive side of the ball with a showdown against Notre Dame looming on Sept. 21.
Earlier in the week, Dantonio said sophomore quarterback Connor Cook would be getting the No. 1 reps in practice leading up to the game, with freshman Damion Terry getting the No. 2 reps.
Through two games, the Spartans have played three different quarterbacks and only have managed a total of two touchdowns on offense — one less than sophomore defensive end Shilique Calhoun has on his own.
“Every game is an important game; no game is a soft game,” Calhoun said. “We see them as Notre Dame, we see them as Michigan. Every game we go into, they’re all big teams and we want to win and we want to dominate.”