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PSU Football visits former Freedom Conference rival

GAME #4: Plymouth State University (1-2) at Norwich University (1-2, 0-0 Empire-8)
Saturday, Sept. 24, 2005, 2:00 p.m., Sabine Field, Northfield, Vt.

PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Plymouth State University visits an old rival this Saturday when the Panthers travel to Northfield, Vt., to face Norwich University in a non-conference college football game.

The Panthers (1-2) and Cadets (1-2) will kick off at 2:00 p.m. Saturday at Sabine Field. There will be plenty of pomp and circumstance as Norwich celebrates its annual Homecoming contest against a familiar foe. PSU has been Norwich's Homecoming opponent for many years.

Plymouth State and Norwich have met 20 times since the series began in 1975, with the Panthers owning a 13-7 advantage. The two school were members of the Freedom Football Conference together from 1992-2003, with PSU winning 10 in a row from '92-'01. Norwich has turned the tables the last three years, blanking the Panthers 14-0 in 2002 and 41-0 in 2003 and winning last year's contest in Plymouth, 20-9.

PSU will be looking to even its record at 2-2 after falling a game below .500 last Saturday with a 17-0 loss to William Paterson. The Panthers had defeated UMass Dartmouth a week earlier and were hoping to carry some momentum into the game, but William Paterson had other ideas. The Pioneers rolled up 384 yards of offense against what has been a solid PSU defense. The Panther offense will also be looking for a stronger performance at Norwich after gaining only 136 yards vs. WPU.

Norwich, led by first-year head coach Shawn McIntyre, opened the season with a 42-39 victory over Mount Ida, but has dropped the last two to Saint Lawrence (42-0) and Coast Guard (30-12). The Cadets are coming off a pair of solid campaigns, earning ECAC post-season berths both years and finishing 6-5 in 2003 and 7-4 in 2004.

The Panthers have had some outstanding performances this season from the defense. Junior DB Dan Fallon (Manchester, N.H.) has led the team in tackles all three games, and also has two interceptions and three pass breakups. Freshman DB Kynan Mello (Beverly, Mass.) made three interceptions, three pass breakups and a forced fumble against UMass Dartmouth and received weekly honorable mention from the ECAC.

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