Youngstown State's football team, like Santa Claus, wears red and does its best work in December.

The defending champion Penguins (14-0-1), playing in their fourth straight NCAA I-AA championship game, beat Boise State 28-14 Saturday for their 14th consecutive victory.Youngstown State has won three of the past four championship games played in mid-December, losing only to Marshall in 1992.

"We like to set the tone and show an opponent we're going to pound on them and pound on them," Youngstown State running back Shawn Patton said. "Winning this was . . . great."

Boise State (13-2), which was only 3-8 last season, lost for the first time in eight games.

Youngstown took control of the game in the second quarter behind Mark Brungard's rushing.

The quarterback capped a nine-play, 43-yard drive by leaping for a 2-yard touchdown, tying the score 7-7.

Boise State quarterback Tony Hilde and Brungard traded interceptions on the ensuing series, then Youngstown State forced Boise to punt with only 1:18 left in the half.

Youngstown needed only 43 seconds and three plays to score. Patton ran for 8 yards on the first play, then Brungard threw to Trent Boykin for 17 yards. On the next play, Brungard ran untouched 39 yards for a touchdown on a quarterback draw, making it 14-7.

Brungard said he changed the play from a pass to a run just before the snap.

"Boise was in a man-to-man defense on our four wideouts," Brungard said. "The middle linebacker came up. It was like a parting of the Red Sea. . . . It was easy."

Brungard ran the option several times during the third quarter, and Boise State couldn't stop it.

"We prepared all week for the option," Boise State safety Chris Cook said. "We should have been ready for it, but they took advantage of it."

Boise State coach Pokey Allen said, "We don't get to see the option too much. They have variances of the option that we weren't prepared for."

When Boise State started to focus on stopping the option, Youngstown was ready for it.

On second-and-11 from his 22 with 3:20 left in the period, Brungard started to option right, then darted back and threw to a wide open Don Zwisler for 68 yards. It was Zwisler's 100th career catch.

"Brungard saw something that the defense gave us," Zwisler said. "I ran a (special) route and he got me the ball."

Brungard found Zwisler again three plays later for the score, muscling the ball just past defensive back DaWuan Miller for the 5-yard touchdown that made it 21-7.

Boise State, which rallied from 17 points down to beat Marshall in the semifinals and had several big comebacks throughout the season, wasn't able to produce its second-half magic this time.

Youngstown State's defense had a lot to do with that. The Penguins held Boise to 225 yards total offense, 200.5 below the Broncos' average of 425.5 per game.

It looked for a while like both defenses would be that dominant.

"Youngstown has a great defense," Allen said. "We had trouble protecting Hilde."

In the first quarter, Youngstown managed only 40 yards total offense and Boise State 32. The biggest play of the period came on defense, where Boise State free safety Chris Cook returned an interception 58 yards to the Youngstown 5.

On the next play, Hilde hit tight end Randy Matyshock for a touchdown. Hilde and Matyshock also connected for a 6-yard TD in the fourth quarter.

Patton also had a 55-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter and finished with 140 yards, giving him a school-record 1,626 for the season. The previous mark of 1,545 yards was set by Tamron Smith in 1991.

Boykin caught two passes to tie Jim Ferranti as the university's second-leading career receiver with 186 receptions. Ferranti played from 1976-79.