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PSU Football visits Salve Regina for final road trip

Panthers to take on Boyd Division co-leaders

GAME #9:    Plymouth State University (2-6, 1-4) at Salve Regina University (7-1, 4-1)
  Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012, 12:00 p.m., Gaudet Field, Middletown, R.I.



            PLYMOUTH, N.H. – The Plymouth State University football team will play its final road game of the season this Saturday when the Panthers visit Salve Regina University for a New England Football Conference Boyd Division contest.

            The Panthers and Seahawks will kick off Saturday at noon at Gaudet Field in Middletown, R.I. PSU is looking to regroup after a pair of home losses the last two weeks to the past two NEFC champions, Endicott two weeks ago and Western New England University last Saturday.  The Panthers will meet a Seahawk team that was 7-0 overall, undefeated in the division and ranked 24th nationally and No. 1 in New England until suffering a 20-19 upset loss at MIT last Saturday, snapping a 13-game winning streak.

            Plymouth State stayed with both Endicott and WNE for the first half, going into the locker room tied against both teams, but the Gulls and Golden Bears both pulled away in the second half. The Panther offense, which was averaging 260 yards per game, was held to a season-low 159 yards against WNE.  PSU gained only 90 yards on the ground, the first sub-100 yard rushing game for the team this season.  The Panther defense has been solid and ranks sixth among the 16 teams in the NEFC in rushing, scoring and total defense.

            Salve, ranked fourth in this week's New England poll, remains in the driver's seat in the Boyd Division race with a 4-1 mark and a victory over Endicott, the only other team with just one conference loss. The Seahawks can claim the Boyd Division's spot in the NEFC Championship game with wins Saturday vs. PSU and next week at home against Nichols College.  The Salve offense averages 395 yards and 33 points per game while the defense gives up an average of 16 points and 300 yards an outing.  The Seahawks won their final six games of 2011, including an ECAC Bowl game, and their first seven this year until last Saturday's last-minute loss at MIT.

            Saturday will be the 10th career meeting in football between PSU and Salve, with the Panthers leading the series, 6-3. The Seahawks have won the last two after Plymouth State had won the previous six.  Salve won last year's game in Plymouth, 28-7, and took the last meeting in Rhode Island, 30-14, in 2010.

THREE TIMES IN ONE YEAR:  The first three games of the PSU-Salve series came within a 365-day span in the late 1990s, including two ECAC Championship games. Salve took the first contest, 36-6, in Newport, R.I. on Nov. 21, 1998, for the ECAC Northeast title. The teams met again to open the 1999 season, with PSU winning 16-7, and they made it three contests in less than a year when the Panthers captured a 13-7 win for the ECAC Northeast Championship on Nov. 20, 1999.

NEFC LEADERS:  PSU has several players who rank among the NEFC leaders.  Senior RB Andrew Foglia (Montauk, N.Y.) is ranked third among the 16 teams in the NEFC in rushing (87.4 yds/gm) while Panthers who are ranked defensively include junior LB Josh Morgan (Foster, R.I.) with 64 tackles, including 11 for lost yardage, and senior DE Matt Fiore (Merrimac, Mass.) with 4.5 sacks.  Junior Jake Matthews (Windham, N.H.) is fifth in punt return average and senior Ray Boulay (Keene, N.H.) is ninth in kickoff returns.

NEFC HONORS:  Six different PSU players have received NEFC weekly recognition this season, with senior RB Andrew Foglia making the list twice.  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 earlier this season 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:  After suffering its first loss of the season, previous No. 1 Salve Regina (6-1) fell to fourth in this week's New England Division III poll, while still receiving two first-place votes.  Trinity (5-0) takes over the top spot with 14 top votes, while Framingham State (7-1) is runner-up, earning two top votes and Middlebury (5-0) is third with five first-place votes. Bridgewater State (7-1) remains in fifth place in the poll, while the bottom half includes Amherst (4-1), Wesleyan (4-1), Endicott (6-2), Mount Ida (6-1) and Springfield (5-3).

A LOOK AHEAD:  PSU returns home to wrap up the 2012 season next Saturday, Nov. 3rd, against Curry College, in what will be Plymouth State's final contest in the New England Football Conference.  PSU will join the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) for football in 2013. The Panthers were members of the NEFC from 1971-91, winning or sharing nine titles in those 21 seasons, including eight straight in the 1980s. After competing in the now-defunct Freedom Football Conference from 1992-2003, PSU rejoined the NEFC in 2006 and won its 10th NEFC title in 2008.

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