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PSU Football hosts Coast Guard in FFC contest

GAME #8: U.S. Coast Guard Academy (1-5, FFC 0-3) at Plymouth State University (0-7, FFC 0-4)

Saturday, Nov. 1, 2003, 12:00 p.m., Currier Field, Plymouth, N.H.

PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Plymouth State University will face a sub-.500 team for the first time in six weeks this Saturday when the Panthers host the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in a Freedom Football Conference match-up.

The Panthers and Bears will kick off at 12:00 p.m. Saturday at Currier Field, with both teams out to break losing streaks. PSU is winless through seven games while the Bears have dropped five in a row and bring a 1-5 record to Currier Field.

Plymouth State is coming off an extremely challenging month of football, as its four October opponents have a combined record of 27-4, with three of the four losses to each other. The Panthers' last two setbacks came at the hands of Springfield and Bentley, two of the five undefeated teams in New England and both nationally-ranked, Bentley in Division II and Springfield in Division III. The young Panthers continue to battle hard and will be ready to take on the Bears on Saturday.

Coast Guard has dropped five consecutive outings, but has played strong teams extremely tough the last two weeks. The Bears dominated Western Connecticut two weeks ago in total yards, 484-191, but lost in overtime, 16-9, and gave Union all it could handle last Saturday in a 35-26 setback. CGA ranks second in the FFC in passing offense, gaining 214 of its 353 yards a game through the air.

This will be 13th meeting between PSU and Coast Guard in a series that dates back to an ECAC Championship game in 1988, won by the Bears, 28-19. The last 11 contests have come since 1992 as members of the FFC, and Plymouth State has won eight times to take an 8-4 series lead. Coast Guard pulled out a 34-33 decision last season in New London, Conn., denying PSU its best chance for a victory during the winless 2002 campaign. The Panthers won the last meeting at Currier Field, 42-19 in 2001, during their FFC Co-Championship season.

Two Plymouth State players were on the receiving end of FFC Weekly honors after last Saturday's loss at Bentley. Freshman Dan Fallon (Manchester, N.H./Central) led the Panthers for the second week in a row with 10 tackles and one blocked kick recovery and was selected FFC Rookie of the Week. Fallon is sixth in the conference in tackles (7.1 per game). Senior Jay Zinis (Manchester, N.H./West) was named to the FFC Honor Roll after being a jack-of-all-trades, playing offense, defense and special teams. He caught five passes for 61 yards, returned four kickoffs for 90 yards (long of 34), returned one punt for four yards, and made seven tackles, including five unassisted. A fifth-year senior, Zinis made his first career appearance in the Panther defensive backfield.

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