Plymouth State University (0-5) at Springfield College
Saturday, Oct. 16, 2004, 1:30 p.m., Benedum Field, Springfield, Mass.
PLYMOUTH, N.H. - The Plymouth State University football team faces a huge challenge this Saturday with a visit to Springfield College, one of the top-ranked teams in Division III.
The Panthers and Pride will kick off at 1:30 p.m. Saturday on the turf at Springfield's Benedum Field. The game is a mismatch on paper, with the hosts (4-0) riding an 18-game regular season winning streak and the visitors looking for their first victory of the season. Springfield is ranked fourth in the nation in the American Football Coaches Association Division III poll and sixth in the country in the D3football.com poll. The Pride have also been ranked first in New England every week this season.
Both teams faced Western Connecticut in their last outing. Springfield rolled past Western 56-27 last Saturday, while PSU, which was idle last weekend, dropped a 45-13 decision to the Colonials on Oct. 2.
Plymouth State is hoping to keep Springfield's vaunted offense off the field, as it did against Western Conn. PSU had a 38:45 to 21:15 advantage in time of possession against WCSU, racking up 216 yards of offense. The Panthers continue to show signs of improvement, but the team has been unable to put it all together on the same day.
Springfield, which has outscored its four opponents 171-60, features the nation's second-leading rushing offense. The Pride gain 406.5 of their average of 451 yards per game of offense on the ground. Prior to the WestConn win, Springfield posted decisive victories over Union, Alfred, and Utica. A former member of the Freedom Football Conference, Springfield is now a football member of the Empire 8 Conference, along with Alfred, Ithaca, Hartwick, Norwich, St. John Fisher, and Utica.
Saturday's match-up will be the 10th career meeting between PSU and Springfield. The Pride have taken six of the first nine, including decisive shutouts the past two seasons (41-0 in 2002 and 62-0 last year). Plymouth State's last win was a 9-7 verdict in 2001 in Plymouth.
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