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September 19, 2007

PSU Football opens NEFC Boyd Division play at UMass Dartmouth

GAME #3:       Plymouth State University (2-0, 0-0) at the Univ. of Massachusetts Dartmouth (1-2, 0-0)
                        Saturday, Sept. 22, 2007, 12:00 p.m., Cressy Field, North Dartmouth, Mass.

              PLYMOUTH, N.H. - The Plymouth State University football team begins New England Football Conference Boyd Division play this Saturday with a visit to the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

            The Panthers and Corsairs will kick off at 12 p.m. Saturday at Cressy Field. PSU is off to a strong start to the season with back-to-back home victories over Mount Ida College and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.  UMD rebounded from season-opening losses to Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Bridgewater State College with a solid victory at Fitchburg State College last Saturday.  Plymouth State and UMass Dartmouth tied for third place (with Nichols College) in the Boyd Division last season, all with 4-3 divisional records.

            PSU posted an impressive 38-19 victory last Saturday over Coast Guard, the defending NEFC Bogan Division champions, snapping the Bears' nine-game regular season winning streak.  The Panthers improved to 2-0 on the season for the first time since 1998, when they won their first four games. PSU has rushed the ball on 131 of 153 offensive plays this season, gaining 599 of its 780 yards.

            Senior tailback Jeff Mack (Milford, N.H./Milford) and junior fullback Brandon Clough (Gonic, N.H./Spaulding) do the bulk of the work for the Panthers, and rank second and fourth in the conference in rushing.  Both have rushed over 100 yards in each of PSU's first two games and they have combined for six touchdowns.  Junior QB John DeMarco (Milford, N.H.) has thrown for two touchdowns and rushed for two others.

            Freshman DB Erich Sundberg (Plymouth, Mass./South), junior LB Tim Nicholson (Franklin, Mass.) and junior DB Mike Lannon (Sharon, Mass.) have been the PSU defensive leaders. Sundberg and Nicholson have 14 and 11 tackles, respectively, and Lannon picked off three Coast Guard passes last Saturday.

            UMD has a new look on the sideline, as head coach Bill Kavanaugh resigned after 17 seasons and was replaced by Mark Robichaud.  The Corsairs are led by junior RB J.T. Harold (North Andover, Mass./Austin Prep), who rushed for 195 yards and five touchdowns last week at Fitchburg State and was named NEFC Offensive Player of the Week.

                CAREER SERIES:  This will be the ninth career football meeting between Plymouth State and UMass Dartmouth, with PSU holding a 5-3 series lead.  The Panthers coasted to wins in the first two encounters in 1994 and 1995.  After a five-year hiatus, PSU won when the series resumed in 2001, but UMD came back with wins the next three years (2002-04).  Plymouth State won a defensive battle, 14-7, in 2005, and ran past UMD, 27-13, last season.  Because of a scheduling quirk with PSU joining the NEFC, the PSU-UMD football games the past two years have both been played in Plymouth.

              NEFC HONORS:  Plymouth State RB Jeff Mack (Milford, N.H.) and junior DB Mike Lannon (Sharon, Mass.) were selected to the NEFC Weekly Honor Roll after last week's win over Coast Guard. Mack rushed for 154 yards (5.3 avg.) and one touchdown, and Lannon picked off three passes, two of which set up Panther touchdowns. Here is the list of Panthers who have received NEFC weekly honors this season:
            Sept. 10      RB Jeff Mack (NEFC Honor Roll)
            Sept. 17      RB Jeff Mack (NEFC Honor Roll), DB Mike Lannon (NEFC Honor Roll)

                PSU FOOTBALL HISTORY:  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 has the 15th-highest career winning percentage (.628) among all NCAA Division III football programs.

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