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Panthers to host WPI in season finale

GAME #10: Worcester Polytechnic Institute (3-6, 2-3 FFC) at Plymouth State College (0-9, 0-5 FFC)

Saturday, Nov. 16, 2002, 1:00 p.m., Currier Field, Plymouth,N.H.

PLYMOUTH, N.H. - The Freedom Football Conference season concludes Saturday, and Plymouth State College and Worcester Polytechnic Institute will be out to end the campaign on a positive note when the teams meet in a conference game at Currier Field.

The Panthers and Engineers will kick off at 1:00 p.m. Saturday in Plymouth in the season finale. The Panthers need a victory to avoid a winless season, while WPI is looking to capture its second in a row and carry momentum into next year.

PSC is in the unbelievable position of searching for its first win of the season. The Panthers have been hurt by injuries, inexperience at key positions and lack of depth, and are hoping for a win in their final game. The Panthers have also played a tough schedule; their 10 opponents enter this week's games with a combined record of 57-34 (the non-conference foes 28-11). Five of PSC's opponents have post-season hopes: UMass Dartmouth (10-0), Bentley (9-1), Southern Conn. (8-2), Springfield (7-1) and Kings Point (7-2).

WPI, which won the first two FFC Championships in 1992 and 1993, is one of the schools departing the conference at the end of next season. The Engineers are finishing up a losing season for the third straight year and seventh time in the last eight years. WPI is coming off a big 40-14 victory last week over Coast Guard, racking up 454 yards of offense while limiting Coast Guard to 196. The Engineers were picked fifth in the FFC pre-season poll, and are currently tied for fourth.

This will be the 12th contest between Plymouth State and WPI, with PSC holding an 8-3 advantage in the career series. The Panthers have won four in a row and seven of the last eight. The WPI wins came in 1992, '93 and '97. PSC took last year's game in Worcester, 43-14, and the Panthers won the last time they played at Currier Field in 2000, 49-19.

Two Plymouth State players who are wrapping up good seasons are having career years. Senior WR Chris Holton (Bellows Falls, Vt.) has improved every year, going from one reception in 1999 to 10 catches in 2000 to 13 receptions last year to a team-leading 40 catches for 507 yards this season. He is second in the FFC in receptions (4.44 per game) and fifth in receiving yards (56.3 per game). Senior LB Tim Boothroyd (Amesbury, Mass.), who played offense his first two seasons (when he wasn't injured), moved to the defense last year and finished with 16 tackles. This year, he leads the team and is second in the conference with 90 tackles.

WPI junior Preston Roberts has rushed for more than 100 yards in six games, including a career-high 247 yards last week along with three touchdowns, and needs 174 yards to break the WPI single-season rushing record of 1,283, set by Jason Wooley in 1990. He is second in the conference in both rushing (1,110 yards) and scoring (12 TDs).