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PSU Football visits Fitchburg State for season finale

Panthers look to wrap up 2013 on high note

GAME #10:   Plymouth State University (2-7, 1-6) at Fitchburg State University (5-4, 4-3)
  Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013, 1:00 p.m., Elliott Field, Fitchburg, Mass.

 

 

            PLYMOUTH, N.H. – The Plymouth State University football team will look to wrap up the 2013 season on a high note this Saturday as the Panthers visit Fitchburg State University for the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) season finale for both schools.

            The Panthers and Falcons will kick off Saturday at 1:00 p.m. at Elliott Field in Fitchburg, Mass. PSU (2-7, 1-6) is coming off a wild 46-44 loss to Massachusetts Maritime Academy in a game that featured nine lead changes, 1,047 yards of offense and 90 points.  Fitchburg State has won its last two games over Westfield State University and the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, and has captured four of its last five to move over the .500 mark.

            There were plenty of Plymouth State (2-7, 1-6) highlights in the game against Mass. Maritime. Junior Mark Hennessy (Westford, Mass.) rushed for a career-high 151 yards on 26 carries (5.8 avg.) and a career-high four touchdowns, while senior Josh Morgan (Foster, R.I.) carried the ball six times for 139 yards and two scores, both on runs of 60-plus yards. Morgan, who starts at linebacker for the Panthers and led the team with 11 tackles, including eight solo stops, took numerous snaps at quarterback and on special teams to lead the team.

            Fitchburg State (5-4, 4-3) has already matched the number of victories the team captured in the last three years combined (5-25). Freshman quarterback Garrett Dellechiaie has sparked the Falcons, throwing for a league-leading 20 touchdowns, while running backs Steph'fon Teague and Mike Delaney have combined to rush for more than 1,100 yards and 11 TDs.  Fitchburg is in the process of posting its first non-losing season since the 2005 team finished 8-3. The Falcons were picked eighth in this year's MASCAC preseason poll.

            Saturday will be just the sixth career football meeting between Plymouth State and Fitchburg State, and the first since 1990. Plymouth State won all the previous encounters played five consecutive seasons from 1986-90, blanking the Falcons in each game by lop-sided scores.

HIGH SCORING:  The 44 points last Saturday at Mass. Maritime were the most in a game for PSU since a 48-30 win over Nichols College on Oct. 17, 2009, and the most in a loss in the program's history, eclipsing the 35 points scored in the 2009 season-opening 41-35, five-overtime setback at Saint Anselm College.

MASCAC HONORS:  Senior Josh Morgan (Foster, R.I.) earned MASCAC Weekly for the second week in a row after his performance on both sides of the football last week, and was joined for the first time by junior running back Mark Hennessy (Westford, Mass.).  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)
Oct. 21 DB Chris Smith (MASCAC Special Teams Player/Week)
Oct. 28 K Rob Giles (MASCAC Special Teams Player/Week)
Nov. 4 LB Josh Morgan (MASCAC Special Teams Player/Week); RB Andrew Foglia
  (MASCAC Honor Roll)
Nov. 11 LB Josh Morgan (MASCAC Honor Roll); RB Mark Hennessy (MASCAC Honor Roll)

MASCAC LEADERS:  PSU has a number of individuals who rank among the MASCAC leaders. Senior DB Jake Matthews leads the league with 11 passes broken up, ranks third in punt return average (9.0 yds/return) and ranks tied for eighth with 7.3 tackles per game; Senior LB Josh Morgan is tied for fifth with seven tackles per game; Senior RB Andrew Foglia ranks fourth with 97 rushing yards per game and nine rushing touchdowns; Senior Zac Iovanella is fifth in kick returns (22.6 yds/return); Sophomore DL Zack Wilkins (West Simsbury, Conn.) is tied for fifth with four sacks; and junior K Rob Giles shares the lead with nine field goals (9-of-11) and ranks second for kickers with 50 points. 

BLOCK THAT KICK:  PSU managed to block four kicks in PSU's 34 31 victory over Worcester State on Nov. 2, three extra point attempts and a punt.  Senior Josh Morgan (Foster, R.I.) and junior Kyle Wilson (Dover, N.H.) each blocked two kicks for the Panthers, helping PSU to the three-point victory. Morgan's blocked punt was picked up and returned for a touchdown by freshman Bubba Kaplan (Truro, Mass.) 

RECORD KICKS:  PSU junior kicker Rob Giles (Derry, N.H./Pinkerton) etched his name in the PSU record books on Saturday, Oct. 26, matching the school mark with three field goals in a game.  He connected from 39, 31 and 38 yards against Framingham State to also earn MASCAC Special Teams Player of the Week for the second time this season. He matched the standard previously accomplished three times (Tom Williams vs. Framingham State in 1975, Brian Harrington vs. Maine Maritime in 1986, and Paul D'Ascoli vs. Western Connecticut in 1997).

MASCAC FOOTBALL:  The 2013 season marked 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, UMass Dartmouth, and Western Connecticut.  The teams 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.

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