GAME #2: University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (1-0) at Plymouth State College (0-1)
Sat., Sept. 15, 2001, 2:00 p.m., Currier Field, Plymouth, N.H.
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Plymouth State College and the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth have decided to play their non-conference football game this Saturday at Currier Field.
The Panthers and Corsairs will kick off at 2:00 p.m. Saturday in Plymouth. A moment of silence will be held prior to the game in respect of the national tragedy.
PSC is looking for its first win of the season after a disappointing three-point loss at home last Saturday to RPI. UMD is off to a great start after an upset victory last week over Springfield College, an NCAA national quarterfinalist a year ago.
Despite the fact that these two schools play each other in most other sports as members of the Little East Conference, this will be just the third meeting on the gridiron, with PSC having captured the first two contests. In fact, UMass Dartmouth has yet to score a point against PSC. The Panthers registered a 35-0 victory in the 1994 season opener in North Dartmouth, Mass., and then posted a 33-0 verdict in the season opener in Plymouth a year later.
Plymouth State racked up 465 yards of total offense last week against Rensselaer, but suffered from seven turnovers (four fumbles, three interceptions) and lost 17-14 on a field goal in the final two minutes of the game. The offense had 321 yards of passing and 144 yards on the ground and were not forced to punt all day. PSC also converted 10 of 16 times on third down. The defense gave up only 122 yards in the first half, but wilted in the heat and finished with 399 yards allowed for the afternoon.
Like most teams, UMD was blown out by Springfield (62-30) during the 2000 season en route to a 5-4 record. But the Corsairs opened the 2001 campaign with a surprising 22-13 victory over the Pride last Saturday, forcing eight fumbles and recovering seven of them. UMD kept the Springfield offense out of the end zone, as both Pride touchdowns came on kickoff returns. The Corsair defense limited Springfield to just 181 yards, a huge difference from the 662 yards Springfield piled up against UMD last year. Corsair kicker Jacob Jata went 3-for-3 in field goal attempts, connecting from 35, 24 and 33 yards out.
RECORD-SETTER: Senior tight end John Walters (Wells, Maine) set a Panther single-game record last week with 12 receptions, amassing 180 yards. That performance broke the old mark off 11, set by Scott Anson in 1982 against Massachusetts Maritime. Walters, who led PSC in receptions (27), receiving yards (371) and receiving TDs (3) last season, was named Freedom Conference Co-Player of the Week. His 15-yard reception set up PSC’s first TD early in the third quarter, and his catches of 13 and 21 yards led to PSC’s game-tying fourth quarter touchdown.
APPROACHING MILESTONES: PSC running back Russ Massahos (Windham, N.H.) is currently fourth on the school’s career rushing list with 2,444 yards. He could move into third, or even second, with a strong performance this Saturday. Massahos needs 60 yards to pass Matt Friedman (2,503 yards from 1991-93) and 140 yards to pass Shawn Redburn (2,583 yards from 1994-96). Massahos has virtually no chance of catching all-time leading rusher Joe Dudek, who finished with 5,291 rushing yards from 1982-85.
PSC AT CURRIER FIELD: PSC has had plenty of success over the years here at Currier Field, capturing exactly three-quarters of the contests. Plymouth State now has an all-time home record of 114-37-3 for a .750 winning percentage. The Panthers are 32-11 (.744) at home the last nine years, and they were 38-13-1 (.740) in the ‘90s.
ALL-TIME SUCCESS: The Panthers entered the 2001 season as the winningest Division III football program in the NCAA with at least 25 years on the gridiron. PSC has an all-time winning percentage of .696 with an overall record of 206-88-7, just ahead of Wisconsin-Lacrosse, which has a .695 winning percentage in 76 years of football (470-195-40).
A LOOK AHEAD: Both PSC and UMD begin conference play next weekend, the Panthers in the Freedom Football Conference and the Corsairs in the New England Football Conference. PSC will play consecutive FFC road games at Norwich and Western Connecticut the next two weeks. UMD plays three of its next four on the road, beginning next Saturday at Maine Maritime.