Saturday, Nov. 15, 2003, 1:00 p.m., Alumni Field, Worcester, Mass.
PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Both schools will be looking to wrap up the season on a positive note this Saturday when Plymouth State University faces Worcester Polytechnic Institute in the final Freedom Football Conference game of the year.
The Panthers and Engineers will kick off at 1:00 p.m. Saturday at WPI's Alumni Field. It has been a disappointing campaign for both squads, as PSU is looking to avoid what could be its second straight winless season and WPI leads only Plymouth State in the FFC standings.
It has been a trying year for the Panthers, but the team continues to give its best effort every Saturday. PSU has shown improvement in recent weeks, scoring three touchdowns the past two Saturdays after a streak of five consecutive shutouts. The Panthers managed a fourth-quarter touchdown last Saturday in a 43-7 loss to a strong Division II opponent, Southern Connecticut.
PSU has played one of the toughest schedules in New England this season; Its 10 opponents have a combined record of 58-34, with seven of the 10 teams sporting winning records. PSU's non-conference opponents are a combined 26-13, and its FFC foes are 14-8 in non-league games.
WPI, which will bring a 3-6 overall record into the game, is coming off a tough 24-21 loss to Coast Guard. The Engineers have won only once in their last seven outings, but the victory was a 49-38 decision over Western Connecticut two weeks ago when WPI scored three touchdowns in the final three minutes to produce a remarkable come-from-behind victory. WPI opened the season with consecutive decisive non-conference victories over Endicott and archrival Worcester State.
Saturday's meeting will be the 13th in the series between Plymouth State and WPI, with the Panthers holding an 8-4 advantage. Last year's 23-13 WPI victory in Plymouth broke PSU's four-game winning streak against the Engineers. The Panthers captured the last contest in Worcester two years ago, 43-14.
This weekend also marks the end of the Freedom Football Conference. The conference is disbanding after the season with most schools headed to conferences in New York and New Jersey. Plymouth State will be an independent school in football beginning in 2004, and will play many of the same opponents, such as Norwich, UMass Dartmouth, Western Connecticut, and William Paterson as well as Mount Ida and Husson.
--- 30 ---