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PSU Football faces another tough challenge

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

Saturday, Oct. 18, 2003, 1:00 p.m., Currier Field, Plymouth, N.H.

PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Plymouth State University will welcome a Homecoming crowd this Saturday as the Panther football team hosts Springfield College, the No. 1 team in New England and the eighth ranked team in the nation in Division III.

The Panthers and Pride will kick off at 1:00 p.m. Saturday at Currier Field in a Freedom Football Conference affair. The two teams are at opposite ends of the college football spectrum, with PSU still searching for its first win of the season and Springfield coming in undefeated and having outscored its opponents 230-88.

Plymouth State is in the middle of an extremely tough month, as its four October opponents are currently a combined 20-3 overall and all four have been nationally ranked this season. PSU is averaging 193.2 yards a game on offense, 112 on the ground. The Panthers have made a big improvement from last year in the turnover department, with only 11 giveaways this year compared to 27 through five games last season. The Panthers have also been stung by injuries, with two starting quarterbacks, among others, going down with injuries.

Springfield brings another juggernaut to town, powered by a dominating rushing game. The Pride average 366 yards and four touchdowns a game on the ground. Springfield quarterbacks have completed only 14 of 30 passes, but eight have gone for touchdowns. The defense gives up only 248 yards per contest, including less than 80 yards a game on the ground. The Pride, led by 20-year veteran head coach Mike DeLong, defeated Western Connecticut last Saturday (21-7) to grab a hold of first place in the FFC as the only unbeaten team. Springfield could be headed to its fourth FFC title in six years.

This will be ninth meeting in a series that dates back to 1995, with Springfield winning five of the first eight. Plymouth State's wins came in 1995, 1997 and 2001, while the Pride won games in '96, '98, '99, '00 and '02. PSU is 3-1 against Springfield at Currier Field, including a 9-7 decision the last time out in 2001. The Pride won last year's game at Benedum Field in Springfield, 41-0.

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