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October 12, 2005

PSU Football to host Springfield in Homecoming contest

GAME #7: Springfield College (1-4) at Plymouth State University (2-4)
Saturday, Oct. 15, 2005, 1:30 p.m., Currier Field, Plymouth, N.H.

PLYMOUTH, N.H. - The Plymouth State University football team will face a difficult challenge this Saturday when the Panthers celebrate Homecoming with a non-conference clash against Springfield College.

The Panthers (2-4) and Pride (1-4) will kick off at 1:30 p.m. at Currier Field in Plymouth. The Panthers may come into the contest with a better record than Springfield, but the Pride are coming off a three-season combined record of 26-5 with three straight post-season berths (two NCAA, one ECAC). Both teams begin the week with sub-.500 records this fall, but both are coming off victories that each is hoping will help turn its season around.

PSU got back on the winning track last Saturday, running away from Becker College, 31-8. Junior Kyle Clark (Bradford, N.H./Cushing Academy) enjoyed a breakout game, rushing 25 times for a career-high 154 yards and three touchdowns. He had gained 158 yards on 54 carries in PSU's first five games. Sophomore Brent Gallant (Byron, Maine) also rushed for a touchdown, and junior Chris Smith (Maple Shade, N.J.) booted PSU's first field goal of the season. Junior DT Jeff Ethier (North Attleboro, Mass.) anchored the Panther defensive effort, making seven unassisted tackles, including three sacks and two others in the opponent's backfield, and recovering a fumble. The backbone of the defense, junior DB Dan Fallon (Manchester, N.H./Central) led the way with nine tackles.

Look for the Pride to carry the football Saturday, as 311 of their 339 plays from scrimmage have been runs. Springfield dropped its first four games this season to teams that are currently a combined 17-3. The last two setbacks were by one-point, including an overtime decision to Alfred. The Pride played their second overtime contest last weekend against Western Connecticut; After WestConn scored a touchdown and kicked an extra point in the first OT, Springfield answered with a TD and then converted a two-pointer for the dramatic victory. The Pride finished 4-2 in Empire-8 games last season, but is 0-2 this fall after the one-point losses to Alfred and Utica, which are both 4-1.

The Plymouth State-Springfield series began 10 years ago when both schools were members of the Freedom Football Conference, and the Pride holds a 7-3 lead. PSU won two of the first three, but Springfield has taken six of the last seven, including the last three, all by shutouts. The Pride won last year's meeting, 55-0, and the last get-together at Currier Field, 62-0 in 2003. The last Panther victory was a 9-7 decision at Currier Field in 2001, the season PSU shared the FFC championship.

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