YOUNGSTOWN - The Youngstown State University football team is coming off one of the school's biggest comeback victories in more than a decade, but the Penguins' mindset isn't focused on taking that momentum into this week.
Their thinking, basically, is what happened in Carbondale, Ill., stays in Carbondale, Ill.
The party is over after YSU (4-1, 1-0 Missouri Valley Conference) stunned Southern Illinois by overcoming a 13-point, fourth-quarter deficit on the road in a 28-27 victory. At least, it better be.
"Some of the young guys may not have experienced a win like that in college," senior captain Dom Rich said. "It's the coaches' job as well as the seniors and leaders on this team to let them know it's time to move on and get to work. We're facing a good team and a tough offense that our defense has to find a way to stop.
"We have the 24-hour rule here. After a big win, you have 24 hours to celebrate. Now, it's time to move one."
Next up for YSU is another road game, this time against the Illinois State Sycamores (1-3). ISU is coming off a 38-37 loss to Tennessee Tech, and is just 1-3 on the season, but the Sycamores boast one of the best running backs in the FCS. Senior Shakir Bell is a Walter Payton Award candidate - an honor given to the top player in the FCS - and is coming off a 201-yard performance that gave him more than 4,000 yards for his career.
He also may have a little extra motivation after YSU held him in to 54 yards on 18 carries during a key game in 2012. The Penguins won, 27-6, which essentially kept Indiana State out of the playoffs.
"I'm sure he has a chip on his shoulder from last year," Rich said. "He's a great back. He's shifty, he's fast and he runs hard, so we're definitely going to have our hands full with him."
Bell injured his shoulder in the first game of the season and missed two contests against Purdue (a 20-14 loss) and Quincy (a 70-7 win). That hasn't stopped him from gaining 314 yards on 43 carries (7.3 average) in one-and-a-half games - he was injured midway through a loss to the University of Indiana. ISU quarterback Mike Perish has completed 61 percent of his passes and has 10 touchdowns and five interceptions. The Sycamores' average height on the offensive line is 6-5, 300 pounds, and defensive end/linebacker Connor Underwood is playing at an All-American level (seven tackles for loss, four sacks and one interception return for a touchdown).
"On film, they don't look like a 1-3 football team," Wolford said. "If you watch them against Purdue, they had every right to win that game. They played really well. ... They'll be excited to play us. I'm sure they're frustrated about last week's game, so they'll definitely be ready."
HYMES STILL HURTING: Sophomore running back Demond Hymes, a Warren G. Harding product who entered training camp as the starter, still doesn't feel fully healthy after injuring his ankle prior to the season. The injury was thought to me minor, but after more than two months of rehab and little improvement, Wolford said Hymes underwent an MRI on Monday.
"We're just trying to get to the bottom of that thing right now," Wolford said. "He just hasn't been able to really, 100 percent cut off that foot. When he goes left, he seems to be fine. He can go out there and play right now, but we've got to get to the bottom of that (injury)."
Hymes has two rushes for seven yards on the season.