NEW LONDON, Conn. - Freshman quarterback Cory Anderson scored on a one-yard run with 38 seconds left and Ace Castle added the extra point to lead Coast Guard to a dramatic 34-33 win over Plymouth State College in a Freedom Football Conference game at Cadet Memorial FIeld.
The win was Coast Guard's first win over Plymouth State since 1997 and improves the Bears to 2-5 overall and 1-3 in FFC play. PSC's nightmare season continued as the Panthers dropped to 0-8 and 0-5.
Trailing 27-13 late in the third quarter, PSC rattled off 20 unanswered points to take a 33-27 advantage with 2:45 remaining in the game, but Coast Guard answered with an 11-play, 52 yard drive in the closing moments, capped by Anderson's TD. Plymouth State also had two extra point kick attempts blocked, which turned out to be the difference in the final score.
Anderson, who was making his second career start for the Bears, was 30 of 54 for 299 yards with two touchdowns and four interceptions. He threw a 14-yard touchdown to Rob Bixler with 11:17 left in the first quarter to give the Bears a 7-0 lead. Bixler tied a Coast Guard record with 12 catches to go with his 136 yards.
Plymouth State tied the game on a two-yard run by Mike Bicchieri (Londonderry, N.H.) with 4:21 left in the first quarter, and took a 13-7 lead with 13:02 remaining in the first half when Matt Simpson (Auburn, Maine) threw a 29-yard pass to Jay Zinis (Manchester, N.H.), but the second extra point try was blocked by Coast Guard's Connor Sullivan.
Coast Guard took a 20-13 lead into the break following a two-yard run by Jason Kling and a one-yard burst by Antonio Brino. The Bears held Plymouth State to just two rushing yards on 19 carries in the first half.
Anderson threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Jud Dean with 6:51 left in the third quarter for a 27-13 Coast Guard lead, but PSC cut the lead to 27-20 on a one-yard run by quarterback Ryan Diamond (Plymouth, N.H.) with 1:59 left in the third quarter. The Panthers tied the game 27-27 with 11:26 left in the game when Simpson threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Chris Holton (Bellows Falls, Vt.).
Plymouth scored its 20th straight point and took the lead after Matt Trombley (Londonderry, N.H.) intercepted Anderson and returned it 13 yards to the Coast Guard 20 yard line. Diamond threw a 39-yard touchdown to Zinis on 2nd and 29 with 2:45 to play, but Connor Sullivan again blocked the extra point.
Rich Sullivan gave Coast Guard great field position on the ensuing kickoff with a 39-yard kickoff return to the Coast Guard 48-yard line. Anderson completed back-to-back 11-yard passes to give the Bears a first down on the Plymouth 30-yard line. The key play later in the drive was a nine-yard pass to Jon Tillman on third and nine from the 10-yard line. Anderson scored the game-tying touchdown on the next play.
Coast Guard totaled 413 yards while Plymouth State had 399 total yards.
Bicchieri finished his afternoon with 30 carries for 120 yards, while Simpson was 16 of 28 for 271 yards, 2 TD, and 4 INT. Zinis finished with five catches for a career-high 162 yards and two scores.
PSC plays a tough non-conference road game next Saturday (Nov. 9) at Southern Connecticut (1:00 p.m.) before winding up the season at home on Nov. 16 against FFC foe WPI.
(Courtesy Coast Guard Sports Information)