GAME #6: Plymouth State University (4-1, 2-0) at Endicott College (2-3, 1-1)
Saturday, Oct. 11, 2008, 12:00 p.m., Endicott Stadium, Beverly, Mass.
PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Riding a three-game winning streak, the Plymouth State University football team hits the road for its next two games, beginning this Saturday with a New England Football Conference Boyd Division clash at Endicott College.
The Panthers and Gulls will kick off at 12:00 p.m. Saturday at Endicott Stadium in Beverly, Mass. PSU is 4-1 overall this season and tied with Curry College for first place in the Boyd Division with 2-0 records, while Endicott, 2-3 overall, is tied with three other teams for third place in the division with 1-1 conference marks.
Plymouth State, which moved up one spot to fifth in this week's New England Division III poll, continues to turn its power running game into victories. The Panthers have gained over 1,000 yards on the ground the past three weeks, including a whopping 415 yards against UMass Dartmouth two weeks ago. PSU has run the ball on 182 of 196 plays from scrimmage over the last three weeks. On the other side of the ball, the Panthers rank first in the NEFC in total defense, as the only team allowing less than 300 yards per game, and rank second among the 16 teams in both scoring defense (17.8 points allowed per game) and rushing defense (132 yards allowed per game).
Endicott has won two of its last three games after a pair of losses to open the season. The Gulls are coming off a 27-20 road victory at Nichols College last Saturday. They are ranked fifth in the in the NEFC in total defense (327 yards per game) and13th in total offense (304 yards per game). Endicott finished 3-6 overall last year, but had three winning seasons and a 19-11 record from 2004-06.
This Saturday will be just the third meeting between PSU and Endicott, and the teams have split the first two, with the home team winning each time. The Gulls took the series debut, 24-7 in 2006 in Beverly, while the Panthers captured a 28-17 triumph last season in Plymouth. Endicott started varsity football in 2003.
PSU plays another conference road game next Saturday at Nichols College in Dudley, Mass. The Panthers will have to avoid looking ahead to what could be a showdown at Currier Field on Oct. 25 against defending champion Curry.
MACK ATTACK: The PSU ground game is led by senior Jeff Mack (Milford, N.H.), who ranks second in the NEFC in rushing (167 yards per game) and tied for fourth in scoring (nine touchdowns). He has compiled a pair of 200-yard rushing games this season, and ran for 197 yards and four touchdowns in the first half last week against WNEC. An All-New England player last year, Mack has also moved into third place on PSU's career rushing list with 3,002 yards. His next target is Russ Massahos, who gained 3,276 yards from 1998-01. PSU's all-time rushing leader is Joe Dudek, who ran for 5,291 yards from 1982-85.
NEFC HONORS: After Honor Roll recognition from the NEFC three times in the first four weeks, senior Jeff Mack was named Co-Offensive Player of the Week after his big game against WNEC. In addition, sophomore LB Steve Campbell (Northborough, Mass.) became the fourth different Panther to earn Defensive Honor Roll accolades after sharing the team-high with six tackles (five solo) and adding a pass break-up and a blocked kick (which he recovered himself) that led to PSU's third touchdown. Here are the Panthers who have received NEFC weekly honors this season:
Sept. 8 RB Jeff Mack (NEFC Honor Roll), DL Matt MacLean (NEFC Honor Roll)
Sept. 15 None
Sept. 22 RB Jeff Mack (NEFC Honor Roll), DB Kevin Whalen (NEFC Honor Roll)
Sept. 29 RB Jeff Mack (NEFC Honor Roll), DB Zach Parsons (NEFC Honor Roll)
Oct. 6 RB Jeff Mack (NEFC Co-Offensive Player/Week), LB Steve Campbell (NEFC Honor Roll)
ECAC CO-PLAYER OF THE WEEK: The honors continue to pile up for senior Jeff Mack. In addition to being honored four times in five weeks by the NEFC, he was named ECAC Northeast Co-Player of the Week after his outstanding performance in last Saturday's win over WNEC. He ran for 197 yards and four touchdowns, including a career-long 66-yard dash, before sitting out the entire second half with his team holding a comfortable lead.
GOLD HELMET: In PSU's season-opening win over Saint Anselm College, senior RB Jeff Mack rushed for 204 yards and two touchdowns are earned the Boston Globe Gold Helmet Award for Division II/III. He was presented the award at the New England Football Writers' weekly luncheon at Harvard University. It was the first Gold Helmet for a PSU player since Russ Massahos rushed for six touchdowns against Coast Guard in 1999.
PSU AT CURRIER FIELD: The Panthers are 3-0 at home this season, running their home winning streak to 10, dating back to 2006. PSU was 6-0 at home last season, the first undefeated mark in home games since the Panthers were 4-0 in 1991, and the best undefeated home record since the 1984 team went 6-0. Plymouth State now has an all-time home record of 134-54-3 for a .709 winning percentage. PSU is 16-3 at home since 2005.
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 12th-highest career winning percentage (.636) among all NCAA Division III football programs.
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