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Panthers seeking upset at Springfield

GAME #6: Plymouth State College (0-5, 0-3 FFC) at

Springfield College (4-1, 3-0 FFC) Saturday, Oct. 19, 2002, 1:30 p.m., Benedum Field, Springfield, Mass.

PLYMOUTH, N.H. - The Plymouth State College football team will have upset on its mind Saturday when the Panthers face Springfield College in a Freedom Football Conference road contest.

The Panthers and Pride will kick off at 1:30 p.m. on the turf at Benedum Field in Springfield. The two teams are at opposite ends of the FFC spectrum, the Pride riding atop the standings as the only unbeaten team in conference play, while the Panthers are in the unfamiliar position of looking up at the rest of the field.

Plymouth State is trying to salvage the second half of the season, having gone winless in the first five games this fall. PSC's latest attempt was a 28-14 setback last Saturday at rainy Kings Point, its third conference loss in as many games. The Panthers continue to be hurt by turnovers on both sides of the ball, as the offense has recorded 27 giveaways in five games and the defense has collected only nine takeaways. PSC has also been hit hard by the injury bug.

Springfield, on the other hand, is in the driver's seat in the FFC race. The Pride, 4-1 overall, are the only team without a conference loss this season (3-0), and are coming off a dramatic, last minute 18-15 victory last Friday over Western Connecticut, the defending co-champion and pre-season favorite. The winner of the SC-WCSU game the last four years has gone on to win an FFC title and advance to the NCAA Tournament. Springfield's only setback was a 44-20 decision to Ithaca, which is currently 5-0 and ranked #7 in the nation in Division III.

This will be the eighth career meeting between PSC and Springfield, and the Pride have won four of the first seven. The games in the series have usually been high scoring, as the winning team has put up at least 30 points in five of the first six games. Last year, however, PSC won a defensive battle at Currier Field, 9-7, en route to a share of the FFC title. The Panthers are 0-3 at Benedum Field, losing 28-23 in 1996, 40-7 in 1998, and 42-26 in 2000.