UNION, N.J. - Same Plymouth State College football team. Different Opponent. Different Day. Same Result.
Plymouth State used the breakaway running of sophomore halfback Russ Massahos (Windham, NH) and a ferocious run defense Saturday to hand Kean University a 40-0 non-conference defeat at new Kean Alumni Stadium. The victory kept PSC's hopes alive for an ECAC play-off berth on Nov. 20th, while Kean (0-8) remains winless with one game left in the season.
The Panther offense erupted for 30-second half points, highlighted by a Masasahos 68-yard touchdown run midway through the third, one of his two touchdowns of the day. Massahos, who is coming off a record-breaking game last Saturday, carried 24 times for 191 yards (8.0 avg) and the two touchdowns, his 11th and 12th of the season.
"He's a great running back," said PSC head coach Chris Rorke of Massahos. "We've known this all along. As our offensive line has improved and Russ has becomes familiar with the schemes, he just gets better and better."
The PSC defense turned in another dominating performance, picking off five passes and limiting Kean to five rushing yards on 15 carries and a total of 213 yards on 60 plays, posting its second consecutive shutout.
Plymouth State (6-3 overall) scored on its opening drive of the game, going 65 yards on seven plays and Massahos scoring on a 19 yard burst. The TD was set up by a Kean pass interference penalty against Charlie Schubert (Manchester, NH). PSC extended its lead to 10-0 on a 38-yard field goal by sophomore Todd Waldrop (Smithfield, RI) midway through the second quarter, a play set up by a fake-punt pass completion from Jason Marcell (Stoughton, Mass.) to Tim Shaw (Bristol, RI) that gained 22 yards.
Leading 10-0 at the break, the second half was all Plymouth State. After Waldrop's second field goal and Massahos' 68-yarder extended PSC's lead to 20-0, and Schubert caught a nine-yard pass from freshman Matt Simpson (Auburn, Maine) early in the fourth to make it 27-0. It was Schubert's eighth TD reception of the season.
PSC poured it in the fourth quarter when Sans Milbury (Danvers, Mass.) returned one of his three and PSC's five interceptions 21 yards for a touchdown with seven minutes remaining. Senior Colt Meredith (Saugus, Mass.) and freshman Colby Morrison (Wentworth, NH) also picked off Kean passes.
With less than two minutes remaining, PSC reserve running back Eric Taylor (Saratoga Springs, NY) put the final points on the board with an eight-yard TD run, set up Morrison's 11-yard interception reception to the 36 yard line.
"Obviously this is a good win for us," said Rorke. "I thought we played well on both sides of the ball. Even though they had some success throwing the ball, our defense came up with huge plays time after time. I thought our special teams also played a big role in today's victory."
PSC, ranked seventh in last week's ECAC Division III New England poll, is still in the hunt for one of the two ECAC New England post-season berths. Two of the teams ahead of PSC are NCAA-bound. The Panthers certainly would need a win in their final game next Saturday (Nov. 13), the Freedom Football Conference finale against WPI in Worcester, Mass. (1:00 p.m.).
One milestone was reached Saturday and another was approached. Massahos went over the 1,000 yard rushing mark for the first time in his career, becoming the first Panther back since Shawn Redburn in 1996 to rush for over 1,000 yards. The victory was career win No. 199 for Plymouth State College, improving PSC's all-time record to 199-83-7 (.701 winning percentage).
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