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PSU Football to host Westfield State in Homecoming clash

PSU Football to host Westfield State in Homecoming clash

Panthers meet Owls for first time since 1991

GAME #5:    Westfield State University (2-1, 1-0) at Plymouth State University (1-3, 0-2)
  Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013, 2:00 p.m., Currier Field, Plymouth, N.H.



             PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Plymouth State University and Westfield State University will meet on the gridiron for the first time in 22 years this Saturday when the Panthers host the Owls in a Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) contest.

            The Panthers and Owls will kick off Saturday at 2:00 p.m. in the Homecoming contest at Currier Field.  Plymouth State, 1-3, is looking to get back on the winning track after suffering losses to Western Connecticut and UMass Dartmouth in its first two MASCAC games; Westfield State, 2-1, is coming off its bye week after a decisive victory over UMass Dartmouth in its MASCAC opener two weeks ago.

            After averaging 374 yards and 34 points in the first two games this season, the Panther offense has struggled of late, averaging just 227 yards in MASCAC losses to Western Connecticut and UMass Dartmouth.  Senior RB Andrew Foglia (Montauk, N.Y.) has rushed for 495 yards and five touchdowns while senior WR Zac Iovanella (North Andover, Mass.) has caught 12 passes for 179 yards and a touchdown.  Senior DB Jake Matthews (Windham, N.H./Salem) has been a leader for the Panther defense, topping the team with 30 tackles and an interception while sophomore LB Mike Leonard (Merrimack, N.H./Trinity) has 24 tackles and two picks. Sophomore DL Zack Wilkins (West Simsbury, Conn.) has recorded three sacks. Junior K Rob Giles (Derry, N.H./Pinkerton) is 10-of-11 on PAT kicks and 3-of-4 on field goal attempts.

            After suffering a disappointing 28-27 overtime loss to Nichols in its season opener, Westfield State has posted decisive victories over Western Massachusetts rival Western New England University and UMass Dartmouth.  The Owl defense has been outstanding, forcing six turnovers by Western New England and limiting UMass Dartmouth to 201 total yards.  Senior receiver Kane Terilli scored on an 87-yard kickoff return and a 58-yard reception in the win over UMD. Westfield State finished 5-5 in 2010 and 2011 before sliding to 3-7 last season.  The Owls went 25-7 from 2001-03 with three straight NEFC Bogan Division titles and an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2001.

            The Plymouth State Football program extends a warm welcome to members of the 1983 Football Panthers, who will be on hand Saturday to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the first ever Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III title. The event is sponsored by the Plymouth State Friends of Football.  Welcome Back!!

SERIES HISTORY:  The Panthers and Owls faced each other 10 times from 1982 to 1991 when both were members of the New England Football Conference (NEFC), and Plymouth State won all 10, mostly by lopsided scores.  The Panthers blanked the Owls four times, and held them to single-digit scoring in the first nine. Westfield nearly pulled the upset in the final meeting in 1991, but fell 24-22.  Plymouth State departed for the Freedom Football Conference in 1992 and the teams haven't played since.  Both were in the NEFC from 2006-12, but they did not play each other as Westfield was in the Bogan Division and Plymouth the Boyd Division.

PANTHERS AT CURRIER FIELD:  PSU has posted an uncharacteristic 5-12 record on home turf over the last four years, including setbacks to Castleton and Western Connecticut this season. 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 in 2010 and 2011 and 1-4 last season.  Plymouth State is 27-15 at home since 2005 and has an all-time home record of 146-66-3 for a .686 winning percentage.

MASCAC LEADERS:  PSU has a number of individuals who rank among the MASCAC leaders.  Senior RB Andrew Foglia (Montauk, N.Y.) shares the MASCAC lead with five rushing touchdowns and ranks third with 124 rushing yards per game; Senior DB Jake Matthews (WIndham, N.H.) is tied for fifth with 30 total tackles and tied for the lead with five passes defended; Freshman DB Zach Ziemba (Manchester, N.H./West) is tied for third with four passes broken up; Sophomore DL Zack Wilkins (West Simsbury, Conn.) is tied for third with three sacks; Junior K Rob Giles (Derry, N.H.) shares the lead for kickers with 19 points on three field goals and 10-of-11 PAT kicks; Nick Cavallo (Salem, N.H.) leads the league in punting average (39.7 yards/punt).

MASCAC HONORS:  The Panthers have come up empty after receiving weekly honors from the MASCAC after the first two games. Here are the Panthers to receive weekly honors in 2013:

Sept. 9   K Rob Giles (MASCAC Special Teams Player/Week); DB Zach Ziemba (MASCAC
  Rookie/Week); RB Andrew Foglia (MASCAC Honor Roll)
Sept. 16    RB Andrew Foglia (MASCAC Off. Player/Week); K Rob Giles (MASCAC Honor Roll)

NEW ENGLAND POLL:  Trinity (2-0) received 10 of the 19 first-place votes and tops this week's New England Division III football poll. Framingham State (3-1) got seven top votes and ranks second. Middlebury (2-0) has climbed to third while Springfield (3-1) dropped to fourth after its first loss of the season. Amherst (2-0) is fifth, giving the NESCAC three of the top five teams.  The bottom half of the poll includes Salve Regina (2-1), Bridgewater State (3-1), Wesleyan (2-0), Worcester State (3-1) and Western Connecticut (2-1). 

MASCAC FOOTBALL:  The 2013 season marks the beginning of football in the MASCAC.  The conference includes six core MASCAC institutions (Bridgewater, Framingham, Fitchburg, Mass. Maritime, Westfield, Worcester) along with Plymouth State, the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, and Western Connecticut State University.  The teams will play a round-robin schedule, and after the mandatory three-year wait, the champion will receive an automatic berth into the NCAA Division III championship tournament.

A LOOK AHEAD:  The Panthers will have a bye next Saturday and will be back on the field in two weeks, Saturday, Oct. 19, vs. Bridgewater State.  PSU will finish the season with three of its final four on the road. Westfield will play home games the next two weeks, including next Saturday against 2012 NEFC Champion and 2013 MASCAC preseason favorite Framingham State.

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