GAME #4: Western New England College (2-1,
0-1) at Plymouth State University (1-2, 1-0)
Saturday, Sept. 30, 2006, 1:00 p.m., Currier Field, Plymouth, N.H.
PLYMOUTH, N.H. - The Plymouth State University football team will host Western New England College this Saturday in the Homecoming and Family Week contest at Currier Field.
The Panthers and Golden Bears will kick off at 1:00 p.m. in the first meeting between the two school is 18 years. Plymouth State is looking for its second straight NEFC Boyd Division victory, while Western New England is looking to rebound from a loss to three-time defending NEFC champion Curry.
PSU bounced back from a pair of disappointing losses to open the season with a solid victory over UMass Dartmouth in last Saturday's home opener. The Panthers grinded out 234 of their 243 total yards on the ground, running the football on 64 of the 70 plays from scrimmage. It was an excellent offensive balance, with running backs Jeff Mack (21 carries, 86 yards, 1 TD) and John DeMarco (22 carries, 75 yards, 2 TD) and QB Tye Seastedt (17 carries, 63 yards) sharing the load. PSU has held on to the football for an average of nearly 37 minutes a game this season. The Panthers are averaging 288 yards of offense per game, while the defense gives up 272 yards per game.
WNEC, which finished 3-6 overall and 2-4 in the NEFC last year, got off to a strong start this season with a pair of wins over Westfield State and Maine Maritime before losing at Curry last week. The Golden Bears had the opposite success as Plymouth State, with 262 of their 282 yards coming through the air. Sophomore Jordan Capitanio went over the 1,000-yard mark (1,028) in career rushing, becoming the 10th player in school history to reach the plateau. The WNEC offense averages 313 yards per game, while the defense surrenders 280 yards per contest.
Saturday will be the first meeting between these two schools since 1988, and the ninth overall. PSU and WNEC hooked up eight straight years from 1981-88 and the Panthers took every game, all by decisive scores. There were four shutouts and the Panther defense limited WNEC to single digit points in the other four encounters.
The Panthers will be on the road the next two weeks for NEFC Boyd Division games at Endicott and Nichols before returning home to host Curry on Oct 21. WNEC returns to Springfield, Mass., to host UMass Dartmouth next Saturday.
NEFC LEADERS: All 16 teams are pooled together for the NEFC team and individual rankings, and PSU is ranked second in both rushing offense (208 yards/game) and rushing defense (112 yards/game). The Panthers are seventh in both total offense and total defense.
WEEKLY HONORS: Two Panthers have received NEFC weekly honors in the first three weeks of the season. RB John DeMarco was named to the NEFC Honor Roll after rushing for 100 yards in PSU's season-opening loss to Mount Ida, and DB Dan Fallon earned the same honor after making five tackles and an interception in last Saturday's victory over UMass Dartmouth.
PSU IN THE NEFC: After beginning its football program in 1970, Plymouth State was a member of the NEFC from 1971-91, winning or sharing nine titles in those 21 seasons. The Panthers won or shared eight straight NEFC championships from 1981-88. PSU entered the 2006 season with the 11th-highest career winning percentage (.633) among all NCAA Division III programs.
PSU AT CURRIER FIELD: The Panthers have enjoyed plenty of success over the years at Currier Field, capturing over two-thirds of the contests. Plymouth State now has an all-time home record of 123-53-3 for a .696 winning percentage. PSU was 3-2 at home last season.
PRESEASON ALL-AMERICA: Senior SS Dan Fallon (Manchester, N.H./Central), the team's leading tackler the past three years, earned Football Gazette Pre-Season All-America honors in 2006. The 2003 Freedom Football Conference Rookie of the Year after a 72-tackle season, Fallon has recorded back-to-back 77-tackle seasons, collecting four interceptions and five fumble recoveries along the way.
NEFC: The NEFC has 16 teams in two divisions in 2006. The regular season includes one game against each member of its own division and one contest against a team in the other division. PSU and Coast Guard play each other in the cross over game in 2006 and 2007. The NEFC concludes the regular season with a championship game between the first-place teams from each division, this year on Nov. 11, with the winner receiving an automatic berth in the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament.
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