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Panthers improve to 6-3 with rout of Mount Ida

NEWTON, Mass. - Plymouth State College ran up a season-high 543 yards of offense Saturday en route to a 43-13 non-conference victory over Mount Ida College at Mount Ida Field.

Senior RB Russ Massahos (Windham, N.H.) rushed 13 times for 100 yards and three touchdowns to lead an impressive Panther ground attack, while junior QB Matt Simpson (Auburn, Maine) led the aerial assault by completing 10-of-16 passes for 250 yards and one TD. Senior TE John Walters (Wells, Maine) caught five of the passes for 147 yards, including an 83-yard scoring reception.

The victory improves PSC to 6-3 overall, while Mount Ida drops to 1-7. The Panthers are still very much alive for a post-season berth with one regular season game remaining.

Plymouth State scored twice in the opening six minutes of the game. Massahos capped PSC's first possession with a two-yard TD burst, and senior DB Justin Falite (Saugus, Mass.) returned a fumble 34 yards for a score to give the Panthers a 14-0 lead.

Mount Ida got on the board early in the second quarter on its first play after recovering a fumble at the Panther 10 yard line, as freshman QB Craig Condra (Babylon, N.Y.) connected on a TD pass to sophomore Leigh Putnam (West Newton, Mass.).

Walters made it a 21-7 Panther lead at the intermission with his 83-yard TD reception with just under six minutes remaining in the half.

Massahos added a pair of third quarter touchdowns from 35 and one yards out, giving the Panthers a 34-7 advantage. The 35-yarded was preceded by a 48-yard run by junior Jason Bordas (Elmore, Vt.).

Bordas and junior Mike Bicchieri (Londonderry, N.H.) had strong afternoons for the Panthers, Bordas finishing the day with 79 yards rushing on eight carries and a 57-yard reception and Bicchieri adding 73 yards rushing and 116 yards on kick returns.

The Mustangs turned in one of the most exciting plays of the year for their second touchdown late in the third quarter. After a double reverse, Putnam, a receiver, tossed a long bomb downfield, where Condra, the quarterback, tipped the ball to a streaking Shamik Songui (Orange, N.J.), who went 54 yards into the end zone.

PSC rounded out the scoring in the fourth quarter on a five-yard TD run by Bicchieri, and a Panther safety when the Mount Ida punter took a fumbled snap and ran out of the end zone.

The Panthers outgained the Mustangs 543-223. The PSC defense, led by 13 tackles from senior LB Chris Kelliher (Goffstown, N.H.), limited Mount Ida to 24 rushing yards on 24 attempts.

Plymouth State wraps up the regular season next Saturday (Nov. 10) with a Freedom Football Conference game at WPI. A Panther victory in that contest assures the team of at least a share of the FFC Championship, its first conference title since 1995.