Courtesy William Paterson Sports Information) (Game Box)
WAYNE, N.J. – Junior running back Bryant Richardson (Elizabeth, N.J.) rushed for 159 yards and a touchdown and also set the school record for career receptions Saturday as William Paterson University knocked off Plymouth State College, 30-20, in a non-conference football game before 2,118 at Wightman Field.
Sophomore wide receiver Brian Lowenstein (New Milford, N.J.) caught two TD passes for William Paterson and senior safety Lamar Askew (Columbus, N.J.) recovered a pair of Panther fumbles and picked off a pass for the Pioneers (1-1), who forced four Plymouth State turnovers.
The Panther offense, which collected 404 total yards, got a pair of touchdown receptions from senior Jay Zinis (Manchester, N.H.). The first one tied the game at 7-7 early in the second quarter, and the second, a 44-yard catch midway through the third quarter gave PSC a 20-19 lead, but the visitors could not hold on to the lead.
The Pioneers led 19-13 at halftime, as sophomore QB Cristobal Rodriguez (Fort Lee, N.J.) connected with Lowenstein on a 17-yard TD toss, sophomore LB Matt Busacca (Point Pleasant, N.J.) returned a fumble 70 yards for a score, and Richardson scampered for a career-long 77 yard scoring run with 50 seconds left in the half. Plymouth State got its points on Zinis’ first score and a pair of field goals by junior Eric Calderwood (Merrimac, Mass.), including a PSC-record 51-yarder as the first-half clock expired.
PSC took the lead briefly on Zinis’ second touchdown, but William Paterson regained the advantage late in the third on a 22-yard field goal by junior Graeham Watts (El Sobrante, Cal.).
With the Pioneers leading, 22-20, to start the fourth quarter, PSC was driving from deep in its own territory when Askew intercepted a pass just past midfield. Five plays later, senior QB Sean O’Connor (Hackensack, N.J.) completed a 27-yard touchdown pass to Lowenstein. A two-point conversion by O’Connor to his brother Justin O’Connor gave that Pioneers a 30-20 lead with 10:09 left.
Zinis finished with five receptions for 109 yards, and classmate Chris Holton (Bellows Falls, Vt.) made seven catches for 90 yards. Senior quarterback Matt Simpson (Auburn, Maine) completed 19-of-37 for 244 yards, two TDs and one interception. The Panther defense was led by seniors Justin Falite (Saugus, Mass.) and Tim Boothroyd (Amesbury, Mass.) and sophomores Matt Trombley (Londonderry, N.H.) and Jose Baez (Lawrence, Mass.), who each made seven tackles.
Calderwood’s 51-yard field goal broke the school record of 50 yards, set by Jesse Elderkin at Brockport State on Sept. 18, 1999.
After two non-conference road games to open the season, Plymouth State makes its 2002 Currier Field debut next Saturday (Sept. 28) in the Freedom Conference opener against Norwich University. The Panthers are defending co-champions and are seeking their record fourth FFC title.