Panthers host Bears in MASCAC contest
|Bridgewater State University (3-3, 2-1) at Plymouth State University (1-4, 0-3)|
|Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013, 1:00 p.m., Currier Field, Plymouth, N.H.|
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – An old rivalry will be renewed Saturday when the Plymouth State University football team hosts Bridgewater State University in a Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) contest.
The Panthers and Bears will kick off Saturday at 1:00 p.m. at Currier Field. Plymouth State, 1-4, is coming off a bye week, which came at the midpoint of the schedule for the Panthers. PSU is looking for its first MASCAC win after suffering three straight losses heading into the bye. Bridgewater State, 3-3, is also looking to get back on the winning track after consecutive setbacks the past two weeks, dropping the Bears to the .500 mark.
After averaging 374 yards and 34 points in its first two games this season, the Panthers have struggled in conference games, scoring just 17 points in three contests. PSU is averaging 261 yards a game on offense, including 175 yards a game on the ground, while opponents have gained 455 yards per game against the Panther defense. The Panthers have been solid on special teams; Junior K Rob Giles (Derry, N.H./Pinkerton) is 10-of-11 on PAT kicks and 3-of-4 on field goal attempts and senior P Nick Cavallo (Salem, N.H.) leads the MASCAC with a 39.9 yard punting average.
Bridgewater State has averaged 381 yards and 27.5 points in its last two games but suffered losses to Western Connecticut and UMass Dartmouth to slide to the .500 mark. The Bears offense, which is averaging 407 yards per game for the season, is led by senior QB Mike McCarthy, who has accounted for 18 touchdowns, nine rushing and nine passing. The Bears defense has allowed 348 yard per game. Bridgewater State has had nine straight non-losing seasons; the Bears finished 9-2 last year after a loss to Widener in the first round of the NCAA Division III Tournament.
Saturday marks the 26th career meeting in football between Plymouth State and Bridgewater State, and the Panthers hold a 16-8-1 lead in the all-time series. The teams were rivals in the New England Football Conference from 1974 through 1990, when the Panthers defeated the Bears for the NEFC Championship, 26-7. They met in non-conference games from 1992-97, and PSU hosted and defeated Bridgewater State in the last meeting in the 2007 ECAC North Atlantic Bowl, 24-21.
PANTHERS AT CURRIER FIELD: PSU has struggled on home turf over the last four years, going 5-13 including setbacks to Castleton, Western Connecticut at Westfield State 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 27-16 at home since 2005 and has an all-time home record of 146-67-3 for a .683 winning percentage.
MASCAC LEADERS: PSU has a number of individuals who rank among the MASCAC leaders. PSU senior RB Andrew Foglia (Montauk, N.Y.) ranks fourth with 111 rushing yards per game; Senior DB Jake Matthews (WIndham, N.H.) is tied for seventh with 7.2 tackles per game and tied for third with five passes defended; Sophomore KR Bobby Whelan (Falmouth, Mass.) is fourth in kick returns (21.6 yds/return); and sophomore DL Zack Wilkins (West Simsbury, Conn.) is tied for fifth with three sacks. Junior K Rob Giles (Derry, N.H.) is fourth in the league for kickers with 19 points on three field goals and 10-of-11 PAT kicks; and 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 (4-0) received 13 of the 19 first-place votes and tops this week's New England Division III football poll. Framingham State (5-1) got four top votes and ranks second. Amherst (4-0) has climbed to third while Salve Regina (4-1), with two first-place votes, and Wesleyan (4-0) are tied for fourth. The bottom half of the poll includes Middlebury (3-1), Endicott (4-2), Westfield State (3-2), Western Connecticut (3-2), and Springfield (3-3).
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 play three of their final four games on the road, beginning next Saturday at league-leading Framingham State. The final home game is in two weeks, Nov. 2, vs. Worcester State, followed by road games at Massachusetts Maritime and Fitchburg State.
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