Panthers at home to take on defending champions
|GAME #8:||Western New England University (4-3, 2-2) at Plymouth State University (2-5, 1-3)|
|Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012, 1:00 p.m., Currier Field, Plymouth, N.H.|
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – It will be another tough challenge for the Plymouth State University football team this Saturday when the Panthers host defending New England Football Conference champion Western New England University in a Boyd Division contest.
The Panthers and Golden Bears will kick off Saturday at 1:00 p.m. at Currier Field in Plymouth. PSU is looking to stop a two-game skid after losses to MIT and Endicott, while WNE is coming off a win over MIT and is out to stay on pace for a post-season berth. The Golden Bears won their first NEFC championship in 2011, running the table in the Boyd Division (7-0) and defeating Framingham State in overtime in the title game, 20-13, to advance to the NCAA Championship Tournament.
Plymouth State fell to Endicott last Saturday 27-10 but the Panthers put up a formidable battle against the Gulls. The Panthers led 10-3 in the second quarter before settling for a 10-10 tie at halftime. PSU kept the ball out of the hands of the powerful Endicott offense, using its running game to possess the ball for more than 36 minutes; the Panthers lead the league in time of possession and rank sixth in rushing. The Panther defense held Endicott to 10 points below its average; PSU ranks fifth among the 16 teams in the NEFC in rushing, scoring and total defense.
Western New England, which averages more than 30 points a game, got back on track last Saturday with the win over MIT, avoiding its first three-game losing streak in three years. John Krafick completed 20 of 24 passes for 186 yards and two touchdowns, and Kevin Cook rushed for 116 yards. The Golden Bear defense is led by DB Alex Miller, who leads the nation with eight interceptions. WNE is ranked 10th in the NEFC in both total offense and total defense. Western New England is 23-7 since the start of the 2010 season, going 9-2 with an ECAC Bowl victory in 2010 and finishing 10-2 in last year's championship campaign.
Plymouth State leads the career series against Western New England, 12-2, but WNE has taken the last two meetings between the two teams. The Golden Bears mauled the Panthers last year in Springfield, Mass., 49-7, after posting their first win in the series in 2010, 14-6, in Plymouth. The Panthers easily won all eight games in the 1980s, scoring at least 20 points and keeping WNEC to single-digit scoring in all eight. When the series resumed in 2006, the Panthers pulled out a 19-18 fourth-quarter win, and PSU won by at least 17 point the next three years before WNE broke through in 2010.
PANTHERS AT CURRIER FIELD: PSU is 1-2 in its first two home games this season, falling to Mount Ida and Endicott but defeating Nichols in overtime. The Panthers had a 17-game unbeaten streak at Currier Field from 2006-09, including 6-0 in '09, but went 2-3 at home each of the past two seasons. Plymouth State is 27-11 at home since 2005 and has an all-time home record of 146-62-3 for a .699 winning percentage.
NEFC LEADERS: PSU has several players who rank among the NEFC leaders. Senior RB Andrew Foglia (Montauk, N.Y.) is ranked second among the 16 teams in the NEFC in rushing while Panthers who are ranked defensively include junior LB Josh Morgan (Foster, R.I.) with 53 tackles, including 10 for lost yardage, and senior DE Matt Fiore (Merrimac, Mass.) with 3.5 sacks. Junior Jake Matthews (Windham, N.H.) is fourth in punt return average and senior Ray Boulay (Keene, N.H.) is fifth in kickoff returns.
NEFC HONORS: Two more PSU players received NEFC weekly recognition this week. RB Andrew Foglia rushed for 114 yards and a touchdown to earn his second Honor Roll selection of the season while senior safety Louis Montegari (Wanaque, N.J.) received his first Honor Roll selection after making eight tackles, breaking up a pass attempt and forcing a fumble. Here are the Panthers to receive NEFC weekly honors in 2012:
|Sept. 10||DL Matt Fiore (NEFC Honor Roll); RB Andrew Foglia (NEFC Honor Roll)|
|Sept. 17||DB Ray Boulay (NEFC Honor Roll)|
|Oct. 1||LB Josh Morgan (ECAC, NEFC Def. Player/Week); P Nick Cavallo (NEFC Honor Roll)|
|Oct. 15||RB Andrew Foglia (NEFC Honor Roll); DB Louis Montegari (NEFC Honor Roll)|
WORKING OVERTIME: PSU's 20-14 overtime victory over Nichols in the last home game was the third football game in PSU history decided after the regulation four quarters, and the first Panther victory. The first overtime game was a dramatic 5-OT loss at Saint Anselm College, 41-35, in the 2009 season opener, and the second was a 24-21 setback to Curry College in Plymouth in the 2010 season finale.
NEW ENGLAND POLL: Salve Regina, the only 7-0 team in New England, received all 23 first-place votes and tops the New England Division III football poll for the fourth straight week. The top six spots remained the same this week, with NESCAC schools Trinity (4-0), Middlebury (4-0) and Wesleyan (4-0) in the 2-4-6 slots, respectively, and NEFC Bogan Division leaders Framingham State (6-1) and Bridgewater State (6-1) third and fifth. The bottom of the poll includes Amherst (3-1), Endicott (5-2), Mount Ida (5-1) and Worcester State (5-2), Also receiving votes was Springfield (4-3).
A LOOK AHEAD: Two games remain in the 2012 regular season slate. PSU makes its final road trip next Saturday to league-leading Salve Regina before wrapping up the campaign at home on Nov. 3rd against Curry.
-- 30 --