Oliver enters YSU record books with 26th receiving touchdown | News, Sports, Jobs

Oliver enters YSU record books with 26th receiving touchdown | News, Sports, Jobs

Correspondent photo / Robert Hayes
Youngstown State’s Bryce Oliver hauls in his 26th career touchdown pass at YSU, a program record.

YOUNGSTOWN — Youngstown State wide receiver Bryce Oliver needed a shot.

Since getting that opportunity at YSU, Oliver has thrived to say the least.

On Saturday, the senior etched his name in the record books, scoring his 26th career touchdown reception in a Penguins uniform.

“It’s a blessing man. It’s a testament to the hard work I’ve put in on and off the field,” Oliver said. “I can’t say how thankful I am for this opportunity to come here and being able to lead this program to where it needs to be. I think I’m getting my just due out of the work I put into the offseason and to be in there leading these guys. It’s a blessing for sure.”

The 21-yard connection from quarterback Mitch Davidson right before halftime broke Jim “Flea” Ferranti’s record of 25 set in 1979.

“I knew Bryce needed one more – and trust me, he let me know all week he needed one more – but I saw him singled up, and Bryce Oliver singled up, I’m going to go to him every time,” Davidson said.

At Kentucky, Oliver played in spurts, but never got that consistent opportunity. He saw action in 18 contests across two seasons, including six starts, but couldn’t stick in the lineup.

Looking for a new opportunity, Oliver opted to hit the transfer portal.

It wasn’t a bitter separation between Kentucky and the Fort Lauderdale native, far from it, but Oliver has made the most of his switch.

And while achieving the individual stuff is fun, Oliver’s focus has been all on the team. All of his individual successes have been for the team, and playing his role in bringing Youngstown State football back.

“When I came here last year, my mind was set on trying to change the program around and trying to get back to what Youngstown is,” Oliver said. “I think me stepping into a leadership position, where we’re at right now, I think we’re doing just fine. I think we’re in a good space right now going into next week.”

Oliver also set a new career-high in receiving yards with 181 in the 40-7 victory over Duquesne. He surpassed his previous high of 169 set against Missouri State earlier in the season.

In coming to YSU, he not only found the opportunity he needed on the field, but a brother in Davidson.

The pair have formed a true bond that extends beyond X’s and O’s.

“When we’re not in the facility, it’s us hanging out on Thursday night watching football. It’s all that stuff. That’s where you truly create this team bond that we have and this brotherhood that we have,” Davidson said following the Missouri State game.

Even though their bond is bigger than football, no one can argue that their connection has played a big role in the Penguins’ success this season.

“Words can’t describe how big of a blessing he is to my life,” Oliver said. “He’s been able to change my future just off of the work we put in and showcasing it on Saturdays. I just want to say thank you to Mitch, thank you to coach (Doug) Phillips, for everything. Let’s get this thing rolling in Philly next week.”

Oliver and the Penguins hit the road for round two of the postseason and are set to take on Villanova.

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