(STATS) - Youngstown State played its annual spring game on a beautiful April night on Friday - with the Red team beating the White, 10-7.
The Penguins hope to get the job done seven months from now in the cold of November.
Youngstown State won three of its first four games in coach Bo Pelini's first season last year, but slumped to a 5-6 finish. A fast start and slow finish is familiar to the Penguins, who are 3-8 in November over the last three seasons.
This year, they again seek their first FCS playoff bid since 2006.
"I thought overall we had a good spring," Pelini said. "We identified some things. I think we made some progress in some areas. We identified some other areas where we have to make progress."
The Red team took a 10-0 lead on Zak Kennedy's 22-yard field goal with 4:37 left in the second quarter and quarterback Ricky Davis' 67-yard touchdown pass to Isiah Scott with 3:50 remaining to play.
Following the Red touchdown, the White answered quickly with a score. Nathan Mays (5 of 12 for 104 yards) completed a 35-yard pass to Joe Alessi and scored on a 40-yard keeper at the 3:10 mark.
The White had one more possession which advanced inside the Red team's 10-yard line, but was kept out of the end zone.
Youngstown State has 14 returning starters. Quarterback Hunter Wells and highly productive running backs Martin Ruiz and Jody Webb are among eight back to the offense. On defense, the top returnees are pass-rushing end Derek Rivers and safety Leroy Alexander.
The Penguins open their 2016 schedule on Sept. 1 by hosting Duquesne, the defending Northeast Conference champion.