Bears defense stymies Panthers
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Defense was the story in the New England Football Conference crossover game Saturday afternoon as Bridgewater State University defeated Plymouth State University, 10-7, at Currier Field.
The Bears, from the NEFC Bogan Division, used a stifling defense to hold the Panthers (Boyd Division) to just 134 yards Saturday, its lowest total since a 112-yard performance against Buffalo State in October of 2004. BSU held the potent PSU ground game, which was averaging 270 yards per game, to a mere 84 yards. Bridgewater remains perfect at 2-0 while PSU drops to 2-1.
Bridgewater State scored all of its points in the opening quarter, grabbing a 3-0 lead late in the frame courtesy of a Brian Smith 30-yard field goal. BSU made it 10-0 when Bears quarterback Mike McCarthy found Matt Monahan with an eight-yard scoring strike as time expired in the quarter. That score was set up by an Eddie Jewel interception at the PSU 47-yard line and consecutive Panther face mask penalties that brought the ball down to the Panther 14-yard line.
Plymouth State responded with a workman-like 14-play, 57-yard drive to begin the second quarter, ending with a Josh Morgan 19-yard scoring toss to Josh Duford. The extra point by Christian Mulcahy made it 10-7 with 5:35 to play in the second quarter.
The two teams combined for seven punts in the third quarter, with both defenses holding check in between the red zones. The Panthers put together the most promising drive late in the fourth, moving the ball to the BSU 45-yard line, but were denied a chance to put points on the board when Bears defensive back Kevin Laudano intercepted a PSU pass on the eight-yard line.
BSU, which was able to chew up 178 yards on the ground, was led by Justin Fuller, who gained 114 yards on 35 carries. McCarthy was solid, completing 8-of-16 passes for 60 yards and no interceptions. Linebacker Pal Melicharek had seven tackles to lead the defense, while Jewel had a pair of interceptions to aid in the winning cause.
PSU's leading rusher Andrew Foglia, who had over 100 rushing yards in each of his first two games, was held to just 36 yards on 14 attempts. The Panther defense, which did all it could to keep PSU chances alive, was led by Bobby Lombardo and Nicolas Keene, who registered 12 and 11 tackles respectively.
Plymouth State begins Boyd Division play next week when it hosts UMass-Dartmouth in its Homecoming game at Currier Field (1:00 p.m.) BSU opens Bogan Division play with a 12 noon game at Framingham State University.
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