PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Senior Jeff Mack (Milford, N.H.) rushed for 204 yards and two touchdowns Saturday afternoon as Plymouth State University held off Saint Anselm College, 36-28, in a non-conference football game at Currier Field.
PSU won its season opener for the second straight season, and captured its eighth consecutive home victory. It was also the first win over Saint Anselm in three career meetings.
Saint Anselm finished with two 100-yard rushers. Sophomore running back Joe Tran (Quincy, Mass.) gained 139 yards and freshman quarterback Marc Wilson (Farmington, Conn.) added 122 yards, and each rushed for one TD.
Plymouth State came out like gangbusters and took a two-touchdown lead in the first seven minutes of the game. Mack ran for 27 yards on PSU's first play from scrimmage, and scored on a 38-yard burst on PSU's third offensive play. The Panthers made it 14-0 six minutes later when senior quarterback John DeMarco (Milford, N.H.) connected with sophomore John Creamer (Abington, Mass.) on a 31-yard scoring strike down the middle.
Saint Anselm regrouped on its next possession, and using a hurry-up offense, went 55 yards on nine plays for its first touchdown of the season. Freshman quarterback Marc Wilson (Farmington, Conn.) hit classmate Bryant Lane (Norwood, Mass.) on a pass from eight yards out, and it was a 14-6 game after the Hawks' extra point attempt failed.
DeMarco completed a 46-yard pass play to sophomore tight end Aaron Getz (Palmerton, Pa.) on PSU's first play on the next possession, putting the ball inside the 10-yard line. Three plays later, DeMarco snuck it in to give the Panthers a 21-6 advantage after one quarter.
The Hawks played a strong second quarter and scored the only points of the frame when Wilson scrambled into the end zone from 15 yards out.
Plymouth State started to pull away in the second half, with Mack scoring his second touchdown with 30 seconds to go in the third quarter on a three-yard run. A botched extra-point kick attempt turned into a two-point conversion when sophomore J.J. Brooks (Seabrook, N.H.) hit junior Jim Sestito (Foxborough, N.H.) in the back of the end zone.
But Saint Anselm did not quit. Tran scored for the Hawks on a 15-yard burst, capping a 10-play, 70-yard drive, to make it 29-20.
DeMarco put a nail in the Hawks coffin with a two-yard sneak with 5:37 remaining in the game. That score was set up by a 37-yard interception return by sophomore Zach Parsons (Florence, Mass.), and a pair of Saint Anselm personal foul penalties.
The Hawks scored one more time with 2:32 to play on a nine-yard run by junior Luke St. Marie (Mill Creek, Wash.), but PSU ran out the clock to capture the win.
Saint Anselm finished with more yards (360-352) and more first downs (20-15) than the home team.
PSU plays another non-conference game next Saturday at Mount Ida College. Saint Anselm is idle next week, and hosts Pace University in the home opener on Sept. 20.
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