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Western Connecticut holds off PSC

DANBURY, Conn. - Junior receiver Michael Forest (Lacasta Lakes, N.J.) caught three touchdown passes and sophomore Dwaine Reed (Brentwood, N.Y.) rushed for 106 yards and a TD Saturday as Western Connecticut State University knocked off Plymouth State College, 33-17, in a Freedom Football Conference game at Midtown Campus Field.

The victory keeps WCSU unbeaten at 3-0 overall and 1-0 in the FFC, while PSC drops back to the .500 mark at 2-2 overall and 1-1 in the conference.

Plymouth State, which entered the game with a league-leading average of 390 yards of offense per game, piled up 318 yards on Saturday, but was hurt by six turnovers and nine penalties for 91 yards. PSC has now turned the ball over 20 times in its four games.

"It's the same old story," said PSC head coach Chris Rorke. "We have to hold on to the football. We can't turn it over. The first three times we turned it over in the first half all led to touchdowns. That's not good enough. We just had too many penalties and turnovers."

WCSU, which is ranked No. 1 in the ECAC New England Division III poll, led 7-0 after one quarter on a Forest 14-yard TD reception from quarterback Steve Silva (Methuen, Mass.), one of two Colonial signal-callers used in the game. Reed added a two-yard TD run in the second quarter, and Forest made it a 19-0 score just before halftime on a 25-yard reception from QB Michael Scipione (Oakton, Va.).

Plymouth State, ranked fifth in the New England poll, got back in the game in the third quarter. Senior Russ Massahos (Windham, NH) put PSC on the board with a one-yard run, and senior John Walters (Wells, Maine) caught a five-yard TD pass to pull the Panthers to within five points at 19-14. But on WCSU's next play from scrimmage, Scipione hit freshman Jeff Wakefield-Ward (Absecon, N.J.) on a 73-yard bomb down the sideline for a TD.

"We had plenty of opportunities," said Rorke. "We came back in the third quarter and we had all the momentum, but they got the big play that took the wind out of our sails."

PSC sophomore Eric Calderwood (Merrimac, Mass.) added a 35-yard field goal for PSC early in the fourth quarter, but Forest added an insurance TD for Western with a 12-yard reception from Silva with 6:45 remaining.

"Every time we made a big play, it was called back by a penalty," said Rorke. "It all comes back to penalties and protecting the football."

Senior safety Mike Pelletier (Concord, N.H.) turned in an excellent afternoon for the Panther defense, making a career-high 19 tackles (eight unassisted) while breaking up three passes. Senior Chris Kelliher (Goffstown, N.H.) made 10 tackles, including a sack.

PSC returns home to Currier Field for its next two games, hosting Kings Point next Saturday (Oct. 6) at 12 noon and Springfield the following week (Oct. 13) at 12 noon.