MILTON, Mass. - Senior quarterback Zach Cavanaugh (Marshfield, Mass.) ran for a 13-yard touchdown and threw a 48-yard scoring strike Saturday afternoon, leading Curry College past visiting Plymouth State University, 20-9, in a key New England Football Conference Boyd Division game at Katz Field.
The Colonels extend their win streak to six games in improving to 6-2 overall. Curry also moves to 5-0 in the Boyd Division and took over sole possession of first place. The Panthers had their six-game winning streak snapped and fell to 6-2 overall and 4-1 in the division. PSU also had its 13-game Boyd Division winning streak ended, which dated back to a loss to Curry in 2007.
Plymouth State took the opening kickoff, drove 59 yards in nine plays, but was forced to settle for a 29-yard field goal from sophomore Chris Mulcahy (Norwich, Conn.) when the drive stalled at the Curry 12. The Colonels responded at 3:26 of the opening frame, evening the game at 3-3 on a 25-yard field goal by junior Matt Alksninis (Mansfield, Mass.).
Junior quarterback J.J. Brooks (Seabrook, N.H.), who had thrown only two interceptions in the first seven games this season, threw the first of his three INTs on the day on the Panthers' next drive as Curry senior linebacker Mike Murray (Brockton, Mass.) picked him off at the Colonels' 44. Cavanaugh gave the hosts a 10-3 edge with his 13-yard scoring run with just two second remaining in the first quarter,
The second quarter was a scoreless duel until Curry's last possession of the half. Brooks' second interception came with 43 seconds remaining, and a 17-yard return by sophomore cornerback Chris Haddad (Bellingham, Mass.) set the Colonels up at the Panthers' 48. After a pair of incompletions, Cavanaugh connected with senior tight end Jeff Hibbard (Dedham, Mass.), who found the end zone after rumbling down the left side and breaking tackles, giving Curry a 17-3 advantage at the break.
The only scoring in the third frame came at 7:57 when Alksninis extended the Curry lead to 20-3 by making good on his second field-goal attempt of the day, this time from 28 yards out. At 5:07 of the third, an Alksninis punt was downed at the Plymouth State 1-yard line. The Panthers then put together a 20-play, 99-yard, 10 ½ minute drive, finished off at 9:37 of the closing stanza when Brooks found paydirt from a yard away. That accounted for the 20-9 final, as the Curry defense later intercepted Brooks a third time and forced two turnovers on downs to preserve the win.
The Panthers held a slight edge in total yards (269-240) and a more significant edge in first downs (17-10) and time of possession (33:33-26:27). But Plymouth State committed four turnovers to Curry's none.
Both schools play conference games again next Saturday, as Curry travels to Nichols College for a 1 p.m. tilt, while Plymouth State returns home for a noon match-up with MIT.
(Story Courtesy of Curry Sports Information) (Video Courtesy of Kevin Gray, N.H. Union Leader)
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