GAME #5: Plymouth State College (0-4, 0-2 FFC) at U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (3-2, 2-1 FFC) Saturday, Oct. 12, 2002, 2:00 p.m., Captain Tomb Field, Kings Point, N.Y.
PLYMOUTH, N.H. - The The Plymouth State College football season continues this Saturday when the Panthers travel to the western tip of Long Island for a Freedom Football Conference encounter against the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, N.Y.
The Panthers and Mariners will kick off at 2:00 p.m. Saturday at Captain Tomb Field on the campus at Kings Point following the annual Homecoming festivities. Plymouth State is suffering from its worst start in history, while Kings Point is having one of its best campaigns in several years.
Plymouth State is looking to put its first mark in the win column, coming up short in its first four efforts this fall. PSC opened the season with non-conference losses at UMass Dartmouth and William Paterson (N.J.), and dropped FFC home games the last two weeks to Norwich and Western Connecticut. The Panthers own the highest career winning percentage in the history of NCAA Division III (.696), but are 0-4 for the first time in its 33-year history. The PSC offense is averaging 310 yards a game but has turned the ball over 21 times while the Panther defense has forced only five turnovers.
Kings Point has won three of its first five games, putting up a 2-1 record in conference contests. The Mariners' posted an excellent win two weeks ago, upsetting then-19th-ranked College of New Jersey, as well as recording conference wins over Norwich and WPI. Kings Point has finished sub-.500 the last three seasons, including a 4-5 mark last year, and was picked fourth in this year's FFC pre-season poll. Mariners' veteran head coach Charlie Pravata is the only coach to serve at his institution for all 11 years of the FFC.
This will be the eighth career meeting between PSC and Kings Point, the two teams that shared the 1994 FFC Championship, and the home team has yet to lose. The Panthers have won all four games in Plymouth (1994, 1997, 1999, 2001), and the Mariners have taken all three at Kings Point (19-3 in 1996, 28-13 in 1998, and 25-19 in 2000). PSC won last year's game at Currier Field, 21-14, on the strength of three touchdowns by former PSC running back Russ Massahos.