Panthers looking for momentum after opening day win
|GAME #2:||Plymouth State University (1-0) at Mount Ida College (0-1)|
|Saturday, Sept. 10, 2011, 1:00 p.m., Mount Ida Stadium, Newton, Mass.|
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – The Plymouth State University football team will be looking to build momentum this Saturday when the Panthers take on Mount Ida College in a non-conference clash in Newton, Mass.
The Panthers and Mustangs will kick off Saturday at 1:00 p.m. at the Mount Ida Athletic Stadium. PSU is coming off an impressive season-opening victory last Saturday at home, downing Castleton State College 28-20. Mount Ida is looking to rebound from a 24-21 setback at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth in its season debut last Friday. The game features the Panthers of the New England Football Conference (Boyd Division) against the Mustangs of the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference.
Plymouth State gained 299 yards on the ground and 389 yards overall in the win over Castleton. Led by a veteran offensive line, three Panther backs rushed for at least 50 yards, led by junior Andrew Foglia, who gained 151 yards and scored two touchdowns. Senior Dustin Matthews ran for 79 yards and one TD, and junior quarterback Chris Rigoli rushed for 53 yards and passed for 90 yards and a touchdown in his first career start. The Panther defense kept a potent Castleton offense to 282 yards, and the PSU special teams averaged more than 33 yards on kickoff returns.
A second-half rally fell short for Mount Ida last Friday in the loss to the Corsairs. A pair of Mustang second-half turnovers led to a pair of UMD touchdowns and a 24-7 lead before Mount Ida rallied with a pair of scores. The Mustangs pulled to within three points with 1:32 left in the game, put UMD recovered an onside kick and ran out the clock. Senior Johrone Bunch rushed 35 times for 171 yards and two touchdowns to pace the Mustang attack, while senior LB Herve Kasanda made nine tackles and recovered two fumbles. Mount Ida finished with a 6-5 record last year, including a loss to Springfield in the ECAC North Atlantic Bowl.
Saturday will be the 10th career meeting between PSU and Mount Ida, and the Panthers have a 5-4 lead in the all-time series. The teams have alternated victories over the last seven years; Mount Ida won in the even-numbered years (28-14 in 2004, 19-14 in 2006, 24-7 in 2008, and 41-16 in 2010), and PSU won in the odd-numbered years (31-20 in 2005, 41-30 in 2007, and 34-16 in 2009). The Mustangs snapped PSU's 17-game home winning streak in last year's meeting. Plymouth State coasted to easy victories the first two games, 47-8 in 2000 and 43-13 in 2001.
NEFC HONORS: Both making their first career starts, senior RB Andrew Foglia and CB Derek Lussier were PSU's representatives on the NEFC Weekly Honor Roll. Foglia rushed for 153 yards and two touchdowns, and Lussier had a team-high 10 tackles and a pass break-up.
NEFC PRE-SEASON POLL: The Panthers were picked to finish fifth in the Boyd Division in the 2011 NEFC preseason coaches' poll. Defending champion Endicott College was the preseason favorite in both the Boyd Division as well as the NEFC overall. Western New England College was runner-up in the Boyd Division voting, with Salve Regina University third, Curry College fourth, and PSU fifth. Rounding out the divisional poll are UMass Dartmouth, MIT and Nichols. Defending champ Maine Maritime is the favorite to win the Bogan Division, with Framingham State second and Bridgewater State third.
COACHING STAFF: Head coach Paul Castonia (Trinity '86) is in his ninth season in charge of the Panthers, with a PSU coaching record of 42-39. He has four assistants returning from last year – Devin Zeman (Associate Head Coach/Def. Coordinator/Linebackers), Lou Desloges (Running Backs), Tom Pabst (Offensive Line), and Eric McCarthy (Tight Ends). Mike McLaughlin (Associate Head Coach/Def. Backs/Special Teams Coordinator), who was an assistant at PSU from 2003-07, in back after three years at Alfred, and new members of the Panther staff include Tom Bolio (Defensive Line) and Chris Pittman (Receivers).
PSU FOOTBALL HISTORY: PSU enters the 2011 campaign with the 11th-highest career winning percentage (.643) among NCAA Division III football programs. 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, led by former Heisman Trophy candidate and Sports Illustrated cover man Joe Dudek. PSU was also a member of the now-defunct Freedom Football Conference from 1992-2003, winning FFC Championships in 1994, 1995 and 2001. PSU rejoined the NEFC in 2006 and won its 10th NEFC title in 2008.
A LOOK AHEAD: Plymouth State returns to Currier Field for its next two games. Bridgewater State University comes to town next Saturday, Sept. 17, for the NEFC crossover game, and UMass Dartmouth visits Currier Field on Saturday, Sept. 24, for the NEFC Boyd Division opener.
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