YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio --The Indiana State Sycamores dropped their season finale at Youngstown State by the score of 27-6 at Stambaugh Stadium.
Indiana State ends the season with a 7-4 overall record and a 5-3 mark in Missouri Valley Football Conference play. The Sycamores had a four-game MVFC winning streak snapped, but did finish the season with a 3-1 mark on the road in league play.
Mike Perish completed 18-of-36 passes for 221 yards while Demory Lawshe caught six passes for 72 yards. Shakir Bell finished the game with 55 yards rushing on 17 attempts.
Lucas Hileman averaged a career-best 48.2 yards per punt on five attempts, including a long of 57 and pinned the Penguins inside their own 20-yard line three times.
Just as they did for most of the season, Aaron Archie and Jacolby Washington each reached double figures tackles as Washington led with 11 stops and Archie had 10.
Youngstown State scored first in the game with a 20-yard field goal from David Brown with 9:55 left in the first quarter to take a quick 3-0 lead on the Penguins' first offensive possession of the contest.
The Sycamores moved 18 yards on their first drive before Lucas Hileman was called upon to punt the ball 42 yards and pin the Penguins inside their own 20-yard line. YSU was able to bring the ball out to midfield and were forced to start inside their own six-yard line.
Mike Perish came out firing on the Sycamores' second possession of the game with completions of 21 yards to both Chris O'Leary and Demory Lawshe which moved the ball to midfield. After ISU was stopped on fourth-and-one at the YSU 41-yard line, the Penguins took over on down as the first quarter came to an end.
The two teams then traded punts until Calvin Burnett returned one 10 yards to start the Sycamores out at their own 49-yard line with 9:06 left in the second quarter. There were two huge penalties in the game, the first a pass interference on Youngstown State which moved the ball down to the 25-yard line and then a holding penalty on Indiana State, which nullifed a three-yard pass to Michael Mardis which would have put the Sycamores ahead.
Instead, the Sycamores settled for a 30-yard field goal from Tanner Fritschle with 4:21 remaining the half to even the contest at 3-3.
On the ensuing kickoff, Michael Wheary picked up a squib quick and returned it 56 yards for to the Indiana State 32-yard line. The Sycamore defense allowed just two yards on three plays and then following a timeout, Brown hit a career-long 47-yard field goal to push the Penguins back ahead 6-3 with three minutes remaining before halftime.
The Sycamores moved the ball just six yards before Hileman once again pinned the Penguins at their own 13-yard line on a 56-yard punt. Indiana State's defense held once again as the called a timeout with 27 seconds left to force YSU to punt. The Sycamores took over at their own 29-yard line before Shakir Bell got an eight-yard rush to end the first half.
Trailing 6-3 at the half, the Sycamores moved the ball well on their first offensive possession of the third quarter, with a 15-yard reception by Tanner Riley plus a roughing the passer call which moved the ball onto the Youngstown State side of the field. On the next play, Mike Perish found Mardis for a 22-yard reception to move near the red zone. The Sycamores got all the way down to the 15-yard line before Tanner Fritschle booted a 32-yard field goal with 12:22 on the clock to even the contest at 6.
The Indiana State defense continued its strong play as they forced a punt and the drive started at the Sycamore 13-yard line. The possession started strong with a 24-yard pass from Perish to Riley and moved into Penguin territory with a face mask penalty. The Sycamores drove down to the YSU 37-yard line but Shakir Bell was intercepted on a halfback pass and the Penguins took over at the their own three.
The Penguins would go on to overcome a chop block penalty in their next offensive possession to move the ball 97 yards and take a 13-6 lead with 3:20 left in the third quarter on a 30-yard touchdown pass from Kurt Hess to Andrew Williams.
Andrew Williams scored on pass receptions of 30 and 43 yards from Kurt Hess in the late third and early fourth quarters to stretch the lead out to 27-6.
Hess finished the game with a 20-of-28 passing performance for 248 yards and a pair of touchdowns.