Panthers score on offense, defense and special teams in key win
DANBURY, Conn. – The Plymouth State University football team scored points on offense, defense and special teams Saturday afternoon at The WAC in a 27-19 victory over Western Connecticut State University in the MASCAC opener for both schools.
Sophomore quarterback Zack Edwards (Brookfield, MA) threw for a touchdown and freshman David Hamilton (Westville, N.J.) rushed for a TD to lead the Panther offense; Junior Blair Zentek (Simsbury, Conn.) spurred the defense with an 86-yard interception return for a touchdown; and the special teams got a pair of field goals from sophomore Jeff Madden (Wolfeboro, N.H.) and a 98-yard blocked extra point return.
Edwards connected with tight end Elijah Johnson (Windsor, CT) from five yards out to put the Panthers up 15-7 with 8:20 remaining in the second quarter. Plymouth went on to score its final 18 points during the second stanza, but it was enough as its 27-13 advantage at intermission was never threatened in the second half.
Plymouth State (3-0, 1-0) has won its first three games to start the season for the first time since the 2007 Panthers started 6-0. Western Conn. dropped to 1-2, 0-1.
The WAC, Danbury, Conn. – Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016
Plymouth State 27, Western Connecticut 19
Plymouth State 3-0 (1-0 MASCAC); Western Connecticut (1-2, 0-1 MASCAC)
* WCSU was picked to finish third in the MASCAC in the preseason poll.
* Western scored a touchdown midway through the second quarter to draw within two points, 15-13. The extra-point try was blocked and returned for two defensive extra-points by Zach Ziemba (Manchester, N.H.).
* Madden capped off a nine-play, 50-yard drive when he split the uprights with a 44-yard field goal with 1:32 remaining before the break to put PSU up, 20-13.
* With 25 seconds remaining, Zentek picked off Western and returned the ball 86 yards for a touchdown. After Maddan's PAT, the Panthers led, 27-13.
* In the second half, Jawad Chisholm (Bridgeport, CT) caught a nine-yard TD pass from Quinn to cap off an 18-play, 87-yard drive that ate up 8:14 of valuable time. Quinn's two-point toss failed and Western trailed by eight, 27-19.
* A pair of turnovers by Quinn in the final quarter, an interception and a bone-crunching fumble at the Panthers' eight yard line with 47 seconds remaining. Brandon Mitchell (Naples, ME) forced and Matt Shea (Windham, NH) recovered the loose ball on that final drive for the Colonials.
PSU STATS LEADERS
* Edwards finished Edwards completed 11 of 19 passes for 124 yards and one touchdown
* Mitch Banuskevich (Milford, N.H.) led all runners with 15 carries for 78 yards. Hamilton added 14 carries for 33 yards and the score for the winners.
* Ziemba recored a game-high 13 tackles, 11 of them primary and had a 24-yard interception return.
WCSU STATS LEADERS
* Quinn completed 28 of 35 passes and threw a pair of TDs.
* Calamita and Chisholm led the Western receivers with seven and six catches for 63 and 93 yards, respectively.
* Kevin Maxen (Southbury, CT) had 10 tackles for the Colonials. It is the second straight week that Maxen has registered double-digit take downs, tallying 11 a week ago at Union.
* Plymouth State hosts UMass Dartmouth for its homecoming at 1 pm next Saturday, September 24, at Currier Field. Western travels to Framingham State next Saturday, with kick-off slated for 12 noon.
-- 30 --