Edwards leads Panthers to Homecoming victory
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Senior quarterback Zack Edwards (Brookfield, Mass.) threw for a season-high 225 yards and three touchdowns to lead Plymouth State University to a 38-6 win over Worcester State University in a Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) football game at Currier Field on Homecoming Weekend on Saturday.
PSU got off to a quick start when senior Mitch Banuskevich (Milford, N.H.) streaked 57 yards down the right sideline on the opening kickoff, setting up the Panthers with great field position. One play later Edwards connected with sophomore Max Osgood (Nashua, N.H.) for a 22 yard touchdown and Plymouth State rolled from there.
Edwards added a 31 yard touchdown toss to sophomore Cooper Gorski (Weare, N.H.) later in the first quarter, before connecting with Osgood again midway through the fourth. Banuskevich and junior Nick Lancia (Bedford, N.Y.) added touchdown runs, as PSU picked up 345 yards of total offense.
Plymouth State improves to 2-2 overall and 1-2 in the MASCAC, while Worcester State goes to 2-3 and 1-2 in league action.
Plymouth State 38, Worcester State 6
Plymouth State 2-2 (1-2 MASCAC)
Worcester State 2-3 (1-2 MASCAC)
How it Happened:
* After the initial opening kickoff went out of bounds, Plymouth State opted to push the ball back and have the Lancers re-kick. The decision payed immediate dividends as Banuskevich split a pair of would-be tacklers and sprinted down the right sideline 57 yards to the Worcester State 22-yard line.
* Edwards found Osgood open on the right side for a 22-yard touchdown on the next play from scrimmage and the Panthers led 7-0 just 18 seconds into the game.
* After the teams combined for three straight punts, PSU had its next drive stopped when senior Chris Cesar (Lowell, Mass.) cut in front of a Panthers' receiver for an interception near midfield. The Plymouth State defense got the ball right back three plays later. Senior Dex Andrews (Dorchester, Mass.) was bottled up in the backfield for a loss on a fourth-and-one at the PSU 46-yard line. Andrews lost the ball and sophomore Elijah Bussell (Athens, Maine) scooped it up.
* PSU quickly took advantage of the turnover. Lancia ran for an 11-yard gain and, facing fourth-and-six, Edwards found Gorski on the left sideline. Gorski cut back and into the end zone for a 31-yard score and 14-0 lead.
* Plymouth State added another touchdown on its next possession. Lancia hit a seam and burst through the middle for 36 yards before getting caught from behind by freshman AJ Byard (Lowell, Mass.) at the 1-yard line. Three plays later Banuskevich jumped over a pile for his first touchdown of the year and a 21-0 advantage.
* The Lancers followed with a 13-play, 41-yard drive. With the Lancers on the PSU 19-yard line, sophomore Zac Garside (Londonderry, N.H.) and senior Cam McGhee (Winchester, Mass.) teamed up for a six yard sack and the defense held WSU to a field goal try, but the kick went wide left and PSU maintained a three-score lead.
* The Panthers followed with a 77-yard drive to close the half. Edwards connected with Lancia for 23 yards on a third down screen pass, and added key completions to Banuskevich for 16 yards and sophomore Patrick Saltmarsh (Mattapoisett, Mass.) to convert a fourth-and-eight and sophomore Jeremy Martin (Charlton, Mass.) split the uprights from 20-yards out to make it 24-0 at the half.
* Plymouth took advantage of another WSU miscue to open the second half. Junior Jacob Szulc (Concord, N.H.) got through to block a punt from deep in Lancers' territory and Lancia rushed around the left edge for a 14-yard touchdown run on the ensuing play as the Panthers' lead extended to 31-0.
* Worcester State followed with the best drive of the day. Senior quarterback Noah Brum (Honolulu, Hawaii) completed 10-of-13 pass attempts and capped the drive with a 10-yard toss to Andrews, but the Panthers stuffed the two point conversion attempt to make it 31-6.
* Plymouth extended the lead to 38-6 with a fourth quarter touchdown. With the Lancers expecting PSU to run on third-and-short, Edwards found a wide open Osgood over the middle for a 45-yard touchdown strike.
Inside the Numbers:
* Edwards finished 16-of-27 for 225 yards and three touchdowns. Brum, who came in averaging nearly 250 passing yards per game, was limited to 120 yards and a TD.
* Lancia ran for a career high 98 yards and a score, while sophomore Vito Aleo (Hazlet, N.J.) added 18 yards on the ground.
* Osgood made the most of this three catches, finishing with 73 yards and two scores. WSU senior Cam Charette (Fairhaven, Mass.) led all players with five receptions.
* Banuskevich played a role in all three phases of the game. He finished with two catches for 16 yards and a pair of carries for four yards and a TD on offense, contributed a team-high ten tackles on defense and added 87 return yards on two kickoffs.
* Senior Brady LaFrance (West Paris, Maine) also finished with ten tackles for the Panthers, including eight solo.
* Freshman Nicholas Ashley (Worcester, Mass.) led the Lancers with nine tackles (seven solo).
* The Panthers have now won six of nine head-to-head match-ups with Worcester State. PSU took last year's contest by a 16-6 score.
Straight from the Coach's Mouth:
"We started fast today, which was a point of emphasis heading into the game," said head coach Paul Castonia. "We actually opened both halves well and it was good to see we were able to take advantage of the opportunities that came our way. Our tackling was better today, but we've still got a long way to go."
* Plymouth State has a short week as the Panthers head to Bridgewater State for a MASCAC game on Friday night (Oct. 5). Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m.
* The Lancers host WestConn for a MASCAC contest on Saturday (Oct. 6) at 12:00 p.m.
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