PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Plymouth State University gave league-leading Curry College its toughest game of the season Saturday afternoon, but the Colonels capitalized on five Panther turnovers to capture a 40-26 victory in a New England Football Conference game at Currier Field.
Sophomore QB Ryan Van De Giesen (North Attleboro, Mass.) threw three touchdown passes and rushed for 57 yards to lead the Colonels. Curry, ranked No. 3 in New England, overcame a sluggish effort to win its 16th straight regular season game and improve to 8-0 overall this fall and 5-0 in the NEFC. PSU, which outgained Curry in total yards, 297-285, dropped its third straight and fell to 2-5 overall and 2-3 in the conference.
Plymouth State turned the ball over on its own 25 yard-line on its first play from scrimmage. Five plays later, sophomore Steve DiFabio (Salem, N.H./Pinkerton) scored on a three-yard run to put Curry up 6-0. PSU answered on its next possession with a two-yard TD run by junior Jeff Mack (Milford, N.H./Milford) to tie things up at 6-6. The TD was set up by a 35-yard run by sophomore Brandon Clough (Gonic, N.H.) down to the Curry five yard-line.
Curry started to pull away with the next three scores. Junior David Vincent (Grafton, Mass.) booted a 22-yard field goal to make it 9-6 Curry at the end of the first quarter. The Colonels recovered the ensuing wind-blown kick-off deep in Panther territory, and Van De Giesen hit sophomore Brian Taylor (North Chelmsford, Mass.) with a 21-yard TD pass to put the visitors ahead 16-6. Senior Jarrad Jordan (Framingham, Mass.) added a five-yard touchdown run four minutes later to put Curry up 23-6 with 11:11 on the second quarter clock.
PSU came back with a 12-play, 69-yard drive, capped by a 22-yard TD pass from sophomore QB John DeMarco (Milford, N.H.) to junior Brad Largy (Litchfield, N.H.) This time, Plymouth State recovered the wind-blown kick-off and turned it into six points, as DeMarco connected with junior Adam Long (Plymouth, Mass.) on a 15-yard TD pass to cut Curry's lead to 23-19.
Van De Giesen led the Colonels to a pair of scores in the final four minutes of the first half. He hit Taylor for a 39-yard completion to the PSU five, and connected with junior Felix Borukhov (Newton, Mass.) on a five-yarder to make it 30-19. Then following another Panther turnover, Vincent kicked a 32-yard field goal with 49 seconds remaining in the half to go ahead, 33-19.
PSU junior Chris Dopp (Epsom, N.H.) had a 35-yard field goal attempt on the final play of the first half hit the crossbar and bounce out. A third-quarter attempt by Dopp from 27 yards out hit the left upright and bounced away.
After no scoring in the third quarter, Curry converted another Panther turnover in the fourth quarter into six points. Van De Giesen hit Borukhov from eight yards out after Colonels recovered a PSU fumble at the eight yard line.
PSU got a final touchdown on a DeMarco one-yard run with less than four minutes remaining. That was set up when the Curry long snapper hiked the ball over the punter's head and PSU recovered at the Curry five-yard line.
Curry, which had allowed only 201 yards rushing and 44 points in its first seven games combined, surrendered 185 yards on the ground and 26 points to Plymouth State. The Colonels had lost 15 straight to the Panthers, with the last Curry win over Plymouth State coming in 1977.
Senior Sean Crowley (Canton, Mass.) and sophomore Tim Bloniasz (Leicester, Mass.) had outstanding defense performances for Curry. Crowley made 12 tackles, all solo, along with one sack, while Bloniasz collected eight tackles, a pass break-up, two interceptions, and one fumble recovery.
Van De Giesen finished 7-of-19 for 132 yards and three TDs for the Colonels. DiFabio rushed for 87 yards and one TD.
Clough led the Panthers with 95 yards on 11 carries (8.6 average). DeMarco rushed for 38 yards, while completing 11-of-31 with two touchdowns and two interceptions in his first start at quarterback. Sophomore Mike Lannon (Sharon, Mass.) and senior Tim Butler (Concord, Mass.) paced the defense with eight six tackles apiece.
PSU returns to action next Saturday with a visit to MIT (12:00 p.m.) Curry returns home to host Nichols (12:00 p.m.)
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