NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. - The Plymouth State University football team scored three touchdowns in the first quarter and went on to defeat the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, 34-0, in the New England Football Conference Boyd Division opener for both teams at Cressy Field.
Junior quarterback J.J. Brooks (Seabrook, N.H./Winnacunnet) completed just 3-of-7 passes for 94 yards for PSU, but all three completions went for touchdowns. All five Panther scores on the day came from different players. PSU, defending NEFC and Boyd Division champions, won its third straight game and improved to 3-1 overall. UMD dropped to 0-4, its worst start since beginning the 2005 campaign at 0-5.
Senior Harry Fallon (Hampton Falls, N.H./Winnacunnet) made eight tackles to lead the PSU defense, including five solos and a tackle for lost yardage. Junior Zach Parsons (Florence, Mass.) finished with seven tackles and a forced fumble and senior Jim Sestito (Foxboro, Mass.) also had seven tackles, including one-and-a-half sacks.
The Panthers got a 52-yard return of the opening kickoff from freshman Ray Boulay (Keene, N.H.) but were thwarted on the opening drive when UMD intercepted a pass on the Corsair 18-yard line. PSU drove 67 yards on five plays on its second possession of the game to take a 7-0 lead, capped by a 17-yard pass play from Brooks to junior John Creamer (Hanover, Mass./Abington). Freshman Ty Long (Dover, N.H.) ran 41 yards on the second play of the drive.
Plymouth State scored again three minutes later when junior Chris Francher (Weare, N.H./John Stark) raced 64 yards from scrimmage to make it 14-0 with 4:29 left in the first quarter. After a UMD fumble on its next possession, Brooks connected with senior Alex Smith (Walpole, Mass.) from 26 yards out to make it 21-0 with 1:22 to play in the first quarter.
PSU drove 65 yards on three plays to score a second-quarter TD, with Brooks hitting sophomore Sean Simpson (Derry, N.H./Pinkerton) on a 51-yard scoring play to make it 28-0 with 1:59 left in the first half.
UMass Dartmouth drove to the Panther seven-yard line on its first possession of the second half, but freshman quarterback Brendan McNeish (Springfield, Mass.) was hit as he pitched the ball, and junior Matt MacLean (Abington, Mass.) recovered for PSU at the 11-yard line. The Panthers then drove 89 plays for the final score of the game, with sophomore running back James Dionne (Danville, N.H./Timberlane) scoring from 31 yards out.
The Corsairs drove to the Plymouth State five-yard line on their next possession, but a 21-yard field goal attempt sailed wide.
The Panthers, who rushed for 315 yards, got 79 yards on five carries from Francher and 76 yards on nine attempts from Long.
PSU plays another Boyd Division road game next Saturday at Western New England College (1:00 p.m.), while UMD will visit MIT.
(Courtesy of UMass Dartmouth Sports Information)
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