PLYMOUTH, N.H. - For the second straight week, senior tailback Jeff Mack (Milford, N.H./Milford) and junior fullback Brandon Clough (Gonic, N.H./Spaulding) each rushed for over 100 yards, leading the Plymouth State University football team to a 38-19 victory over the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in a New England Football Conference cross-division game Saturday afternoon at Currier Field.
Mack rushed 29 times for 154 yards and a touchdown, while Clough carried the ball 17 times for 109 yards and a score. Junior quarterback John DeMarco (Milford, N.H.) also rushed for a TD while completing 7-of-12 passes for 139 yards and two touchdowns.
The Panthers improved to 2-0 on the season for the first time since winning their first four games in 1998. PSU gained 288 of their 427 yards of offense on the ground, running the ball of 61 of 73 plays from scrimmage. Plymouth State has rushed the football on 131 of 153 offensive plays this season, gaining 599 of its 780 yards.
The outcome stopped Coast Guard's nine-game regular season winning streak, and dropped the Bears to 1-1 on the season. CGA had started the streak with last year's 35-7 win over Plymouth State.
The Panther defense limited Coast Guard to 249 yards on the afternoon. Junior safety Mike Lannon (Sharon, Mass.) led the way, collecting three interceptions for PSU.
Plymouth State took the lead less than five minutes into the game when DeMarco scored on the first play following a Coast Guard fumble at its own three-yard line. The Bears got on the board later in the opening quarter with a 25-yard field goal by senior David Lieberman (Virginia Beach, Va.)
The Panthers pulled ahead on back-to-back touchdowns by senior tight end Adam Long (Plymouth, Mass./South) and Clough. Long's 25-yard TD reception was set up by Lannon's first interception, and Clough scored on a 50-yard burst up the middle, the longest run of his career.
Coast Guard kept within striking distance, putting the ball in the end zone in the final minute of the first half on a Christian George (Rumson, N.J.) to Matt Keith (Virginia Beach, Va.) 26-yard pass play, and the teams went to the locker room with PSU leading, 21-10.
Senior Chris Dopp (Epsom, N.H.) booted a 28-yard field goal for PSU midway through the third quarter to make it 24-10, but Coast Guard pulled to within a touchdown on a George to Sam England (Grand Prairie, Texas) 33-yard completion late in the third quarter.
PSU put the game away with a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns. DeMarco hit senior Brad Largy (Litchfield, N.H./Campbell) on a 30-yard completion for a score, and following Lannon's third pick of the day, Mack went in from 11 yards out.
The final Coast Guard points came on a safety in the final minute when PSU intentionally snapped the ball out of the end zone while in punt formation.
Plymouth State begins NEFC Boyd Division play next Saturday with a 12:00 p.m. contest at UMass Dartmouth. Coast Guard opens its NEFC Bogan Division slate next Saturday at home against Westfield State (1:00 p.m.)
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