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PSC hosts WPI in season finale

GAME #10: Worcester Polytechnic Institute (2-7, 1-4 FFC) at Plymouth State College (4-5, 2-3 FFC)

Sat., Nov. 11, 2000, 12:00 p.m., Currier Field, Plymouth, N.H.

PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Both teams will be playing for pride this Saturday when Plymouth State College hosts Worcester Polytechnic Institute in a Freedom Football Conference battle at Currier Field.

The Panthers and Engineers will kick off at 12 noon Saturday in Plymouth, each squad looking to wrap up the season on a positive note. PSC needs a win to avoid its first losing season in more than 20 years, and will miss the play-offs for just the fourth time in the last 18 seasons. WPI, which hasn't won the FFC since capturing the first two titles in 1992 and 1993, is seeking its second straight win after dropping seven in a row.

Plymouth State has gotten back on the winning track the last two weeks with convincing victories over Coast Guard and Mount Ida. The Panthers got touchdowns from seven different players last Saturday in the Mount Ida win, as head coach Chris Rorke was able to utilize the entire bench in the 47-8 triumph. At 4-5 overall and 2-3 in the FFC, a win Saturday would put PSC at a respectable .500 mark, while a loss would leave the team below the break-even mark both overall and in the FFC.

WPI snapped a seven-game losing streak last Saturday with a 27-24 victory over Coast Guard. The Engineers were outgained in total offense 355-230 and ran only 51 plays (compared to 78 for Coast Guard), but pulled out the game on big plays, such as a Hail Mary touchdown on the last play of the first half and an 85-yard kickoff return in the fourth quarter for the decisive score. WPI has struggled this season after going 5-4 last year, its first winning season since 1994.

This will be the 10th meeting between the two schools in a series that began in 1989, with PSC holding a 6-3 advantage in the first nine encounters. Plymouth State has won four the of the last five, including a 21-0 whitewash in the last year's season finale. The Panthers are 3-1 vs. WPI at Currier Field, with three straight wins, including a 25-20 verdict two years ago.

FFC PICTURE: Springfield has clinched the 2000 FFC title with a perfect 6-0 record, its third championship overall and second outright (Springfield shared the title with Coast Guard in 1996). The Pride is the first team to win three FFC titles, and share the mark for most FFC outright titles with WPI. Springfield, 9-0 going into today's non-conference game vs. Union, receives the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament, and runner-up Western Connecticut has hopes of earning an at-large bid. The Colonials, who host Norwich today, could finish 9-1 with their only loss a 43-36 decision to NCAA-bound Springfield.

ACADEMIC HONORS: Plymouth State will likely have numerous players receive post-season honors for their performances on the field, but three members of the squad are in line to receive recognition for their work in the classroom. Senior center Chris Belmont (Campton, N.H.), senior defensive end Clint Medas (Taunton, Mass.) and junior linebacker Chris Kelliher (Goffstown, N.H./Trinity) are PSC's nominees for the Verizon Academic All-America Team (formerly GTE), and will be selected to the Freedom Conference All-Academic Team. Belmont and Kelliher were GTE Academic All-District selections last season.

PANTHER SENIORS: Saturday's game marks the final time several PSC players will suit up in a Panther uniform. The four-year record of this group is 26-16 with three post-season appearances. The PSC seniors in uniform include Chris Belmont (Campton, N.H.), Dennis Borcuk (Newport, N.H.), Andy Gale (Boxford, Mass.), Marc Gargaro (Newton, Mass.), Seth Howard (Manchester, N.H./Memorial), John Knapp (Wethersfield, CT), Jason Marcell (Stoughton, Mass.), Clint Medas (Taunton, Mass.), Ryan Van Gerena (Northwood, N.H.) and Bydrow Williams (Ledyard, Conn.).

2000 PSC WEEKLY HONORS:

Sept. 10 DB Mike Pelletier (FFC Def. Player/Week), WR Nate Sergent (FFC Honor Roll)

Sept. 24 DB Mike Pelletier (FFC Def. Player/Week, ECAC NE Honor Roll),

RB Russ Massahos (FFC Honor Roll)

Oct. 9 LB Chris Kelliher (FFC Honor Roll), RB Jason Bordas (FFC Honor Roll)

Oct. 16 LB Chris Kelliher (FFC Def. Player/Week, ECAC NE Honor Roll),

RB Russ Massahos (FFC Honor Roll)

Oct. 23 LB Chris Kelliher (FFC Honor Roll), RB Russ Massahos (FFC Honor Roll)

Oct. 30 LB Chris Kelliher (FFC Def. Player/Week), RB Russ Massahos (FFC Honor Roll)

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