PSU Football wraps up season with visit to Curry

Panthers hope to stop skid vs. Colonels

GAME #10:  Plymouth State University (4-5, 2-4) at Curry College (4-5, 2-4)
  Saturday, Nov. 5, 2011, 1:00 p.m., Katz Field, Milton, Mass.



            PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Both teams will be looking to close out the season on a winning note this Saturday when Plymouth State University visits Curry College for the New England Football Conference Boyd Division regular season finale.

            The Panthers and Colonels will kick off Saturday at 1:00 p.m. at Katz Field in Milton, Mass.  The teams sport identical records of 4-5 overall and 2-4 in NEFC Boyd Division games; PSU needs a victory to avoid its first losing season since 2006, while Curry needs a win to prevent its first losing campaign since 1997. 

            PSU is also trying to break a three-game losing streak, although the three losses have come to the top three teams in the Boyd Division.  The Panthers gave Salve Regina a battle last Saturday before the Seahawks put up two fourth quarter touchdowns for a 28-7 victory. PSU's offense has stalled, gaining no more than 125 yards in any of the last three games; the defense has been consistent, giving up fewer than 300 yards in seven of the nine games this season. Due to injuries, PSU has used three different starting quarterbacks, all making their first career starts.

            Curry has dropped four of its last five games, including last Saturday's 33-7 home setback to UMass Dartmouth.  The Colonels outgained the Corsairs in total yards, 292-136, but committed a whopping eight turnovers which led to five UMD touchdowns.  The Curry offense averages nearly 378 yards per game while the defense allows opponents less than 300 yards an outing.  The Colonels captured five straight NEFC Championships from 2003-07 and went to six straight NCAA Championships from 2003-08 before finishing 8-3 in 2009 (winning the Boyd Division title) and 6-4 last year.

            Saturday marks the 28th career meeting in football between Plymouth State and Curry, and while the Colonels have won four of the five games since 2006, the Panthers hold a 17-10 lead in the series that dates back to 1971.  Curry won six of the first seven games in the 1970s, and PSU dominated the next two decades, with 15 consecutive victories between 1978 and 1997. The Colonels prevailed in the first two games when PSU rejoined the NEFC, 40-26 in 2006 and 42-14 in 2007 before PSU took the 2008 showdown, 28-17.  Curry won two years ago in Milton, Mass., 20-9, and took last year's season-ending meeting in overtime, 24-21. 

QB SHUFFLE:   Due to injuries, PSU has used three different starting quarterbacks this season, all making their first career starts.  Junior Chris Rigoli started the first two PSU games; junior Josh Morgan started the next two; freshman Joey Avila started game's five, six and seven; and Rigoli has been back under center for the last two.  Freshman Brendan Gallagher has also seen action off the Panther bench. 

SPECIAL TEAMER: PSU has one of the top special teams players in Christian Mulcahy, who has been both the NEFC Defensive Player (Oct. 2) and Special Teams Player of the Week (Oct. 9).  The senior defensive back is leading the NEFC and ranks seventh in the NCAA Division III in kick-off return average (30.6 yards/return) and ranks in the top 20 in the NCAA in interceptions (5).  He exploded in back-to-back victories over Nichols and MIT the first two weeks in October, combining for four interceptions, a 90-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, a 62-yard punt to set up a score, and a game-winning 42-yard field goal. Mulcahy received the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston Gold Helmet Award on Oct. 12 from the New England Football Writers. 

WEEKLY HONORS:  Here are the Panthers who have received NEFC weekly honors this season:

Sept. 5  RB Andrew Foglia, Derek Lussier (NEFC Honor Roll)
Sept. 12  LB Nicolas Keene (NEFC Def. Player/Week); RB Andrew Foglia (NEFC Honor Roll)
Oct. 3 DB Christian Mulcahy (NEFC Def. Player/Week); RB Andrew Foglia (NEFC Honor Roll)
Oct. 10 DB Christian Mulcahy (Gold Helmet Award, NEFC Spec.Teams Player/Week);
  RB Andrew Foglia (NEFC Honor Roll); DT Peter LaBreck (NEFC Honor Roll)

NEW ENGLAND POLL:  There was a shake-up at the top of the New England Division III football poll after top-ranked Endicott was knocked off by fourth-ranked Western New England.  The top two spots are now Trinity (6-0) and Amherst (6-0), followed by Western New England (8-1), Endicott (8-1), and Framingham State (7-2).  The bottom half of the poll includes Worcester State (7-2), Springfield (5-3), Bridgewater State (6-2), Salve Regina (5-3), and Williams (4-2). 

NEFC PICTURE:   The NEFC Championship game representatives of the Boyd and Bogan Divisions were solidified last Saturday.  Western New England (6-0) upset defending champion Endicott (5-1) to claim the Boyd Division spot in the title game, and Framingham State (6-0) remained undefeated in the Boyd Division while every other team has at least two losses. 

A LOOK AHEAD:  The NEFC Championship game is set for Saturday, Nov. 12, with the Boyd Division champion hosting the Bogan Division winner for the conference championship and berth in the NCAA Division III Football Championship Tournament. Endicott defeated Maine Maritime in last year's title game, 38-35. 

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