PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Junior Kyle Clark (Bradford, N.H.) rushed for a career-high 154 yards and three touchdowns Saturday afternoon to lead Plymouth State University to a 31-8 triumph over Becker College in a non-conference football game at Currier Field.
Clark carried 24 times on the day, scoring on a 25-yard burst in the first quarter, an eight-yard run in the second quarter, and a one-yard plunge early in the fourth. He helped the Panthers improve to 2-4 overall, while Becker, a first-year varsity program, falls to 0-4.
Clark, who had gained 158 yards this season entering the game, is the first PSU back to rush for 100 yards in a game since Mike Bicchieri in the final game of the 2002 season.
The Panthers also had a strong defensive effort Saturday, limiting the Hawks to 240 yards of offense and keeping the visitors off the board until there were five minutes left in the fourth quarter. Junior DT Jeff Ethier (North Attleboro, Mass.) led the Panther effort, making seven unassisted stops, including three sacks and five tackles for loss, and recovered a fumble. Junior DB Dan Fallon (Manchester, N.H./Central) led the secondary with a team-high nine tackles and a pass break-up.
"The challenge we gave our team today was to get our second win for the first time since 2001," said PSU head coach Paul Castonia. "In order to do that, we had to beat Becker, and today we accomplished that."
Clark's first TD run, a 25-yarder, came on the first play after the Panther defense forced Becker to punt from its own one-yard line. The extra-point attempt failed, but PSU led 6-0. Clark then capped an eight-play, 63-yard drive midway through the second quarter with an eight-yard TD run, and senior QB Jimi Lampron (Rochester, N.H.) hit sophomore John DeMarco (Milford, N.H.) for the two-point conversion, and the Panthers had a 14-0 lead at the break.
PSU extended its lead to 17-0 on a 26-yard field goal by junior Chris Smith (Maple Shade, N.J.), which was set up by a 17-yard interception return junior Ryan Puck (Fair Haven , N.J.). Clark added his third TD early in the fourth quarter to make it 24-0, and reserve RB Brent Gallant (Byron, Maine) took advantage of some playing time with a 48 yards on six carries, scoring on a three-yard run with 8:24 remaining.
"That's the first time in my life I've scored three touchdowns in a game," said Clark. "I'm glad it came in a win."
Becker broke the shutout when freshman QB Shawn Cameron (Gardner, Mass.) came off the bench and scored on a seven-yard scramble. Cameron finished with 61 yards on eight carries.
Plymouth State finished with a 385-240 advantage in total offense, which marked the highest Panther output since gaining 399 against Coast Guard on Nov. 2, 2002.
PSU is home again next Saturday with the Homecoming contest against Springfield (1:30 p.m.) The Pride picked up their first win of the season Friday night, defeating Western Connecticut in overtime. Becker plays its first home game next Saturday, hosting Hartwick at WPI's Alumni Field (5:00 p.m.)
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