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PSU Football returns home to host Norwich

GAME #4:         Norwich University (3-0) at Plymouth State University (0-3)
                          Saturday, Sept. 25, 2004, 1:00 p.m., Currier Field, Plymouth, N.H.

              PLYMOUTH, N.H. - After two consecutive road games, the Plymouth State University football team returns home to Currier Field this Saturday to take on long-time rival Norwich University in a non-conference encounter.

            The Panthers and Cadets, who will kick off at 1:00 p.m. Saturday, have played some exciting games over the years, including the last 12 years as members of the Freedom Football Conference.  The two schools are on different paths now, with NU a football member of the Empire 8 Conference and PSU a Division III football independent.  Norwich is also off to a 3-0 start while Plymouth State is searching for its first win after three tries.

            Plymouth State has shown many signs of improvement over last season, but has come up empty in the wins department.  The Panther defense was consistent in the first two games but struggled in last week's loss at William Paterson, while the offense had a hard time against Saint Anselm and UMass Dartmouth before showing signs of life last Saturday at WPU. PSU's kicking game is also better than last year's, but the team hasn't been able to put it all together on the same day.

            It has been an outstanding month of September for Norwich, with consecutive non-conference wins over Mount Ida, Saint Lawrence and Coast Guard to open the season.  The Cadets have picked up from where they left off last year; after sub-.500 seasons in 2001 and 2002, Norwich put together a 6-5 campaign last season, including a 4-2 mark in the Freedom Conference and an ECAC post-season berth.  NU is now in the Empire 8 Conference (in football only) with Alfred, Hartwick, Ithaca, St. John Fisher, Springfield, and Utica.

            Saturday's game will be the 20th career meeting in a series that began in 1975, with Plymouth State holding a 13-6 advantage.  Norwich won four of the first seven games in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s before the series went on a hiatus from 1985-91.  The series resumed in 1992 when they both helped form the FFC, and PSU captured the next 10 contests.  Norwich has started to make amends, shutting out the Panthers the last two seasons, 14-0 two years ago at Currier Field and 41-0 last season in Northfield, Vt.

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