GAME #9: Plymouth State College (5-3) at Mount Ida College (1-6)
Sat., Nov. 3, 2001, 1:00 p.m., Mount Ida Field, Newton Centre, Mass.
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – With hopes of a Freedom Football Conference championship and a post-season berth still very much alive, Plymouth State College plays a non-conference encounter this Saturday at Mount Ida College.
The Panthers and Mustangs will kick-off at 1:00 p.m. Saturday at Mount Ida Field in Newton Centre, Mass. Plymouth State, 5-3 overall and ranked seventh in the ECAC Division III New England poll, is hoping victories in its last two games will send the Panthers into the post-season for the fourth time in the last five years, while Mount Ida, 1-6, is slowly improving in what is its third season of varsity football.
The Panthers moved into a tie for first place in the Freedom Football Conference last Saturday with the combination of their 42-19 conference win over Coast Guard, and Western Connecticut’s 22-15 loss at WPI. PSC and Western Conn. are both 4-1, and Springfield (3-2) and WPI (2-2) are still in the picture, with all sorts of tiebreaker possibilities. Plymouth State’s remaining FFC game is against WPI, and WCSU has yet to play Norwich. The FFC Champion receives an automatic berth into the NCAA Division III Football Championship Tournament.
Plymouth State is also eyeing a potential spot in an ECAC Championship game. With two more wins, the Panthers could finish the regular season at 7-3, with a possible share of the FFC championship and one of the toughest non-league schedules in the East (PSC’s three non-league opponents so far are a combined 19-4). Plymouth State played in three straight ECAC Championship games from 1997-99 after finishing 7-3 in the regular season.
Mount Ida is looking to break a three-game losing streak since picking up a victory over another young football program, Utica College, 18-0. The Mustangs have also played a tough schedule, facing four teams that have post-season hopes. Mount Ida turned in a respectable 3-4 record in 1999, its first as a varsity team, but went winless in eight tries last season.
PSC and Mount Ida met for the first time last season in Plymouth. The Panthers got touchdowns from seven different players in a 47-8 triumph.
NEW ENGLAND POLL: Worcester State (9-0) received 10 of 11 first-place votes to earn the top spot in the ECAC New England Division III poll. Unbeatens Amherst (6-0), Westfield State (8-0), and Williams (6-0) take up the next three spots, and once-beaten Curry (8-1) and Western Connecticut (6-1) are fifth and sixth. PSC (5-3) moved from 10th to seventh, followed by UMass Dartmouth (6-2), Tufts (4-2) and Nichols (5-3). No. 1 Worcester State and No. 3 Westfield State meet this Saturday.
3,000-YARD MAN: PSC RB Russ Massahos (Windham, N.H.) made small college football history last Saturday, becoming the 22nd player in New England Division III history to rush for over 3,000 yards. Massahos is now 20th on the New England career rushing list with 3,123 yards. He is second on the PSC career rushing list, trailing Joe Dudek’s 5,560 yards from 1982-85.
FFC LEADERS: Several Panthers are ranked among the FFC statistical leaders. Senior RB Russ Massahos is leading the league in scoring (6.8 points/game) and ranks second in rushing (95.2 yards/game). Senior TE John Walters is ranked third in receiving yards (60.0/game) and sixth in receptions (4.25/game) and senior P Bobby Maylone is third in the FFC in punting average (37.0). Defensively, senior LB Chris Kelliher is the FFC leader in tackles (10.0 per game) and senior LB Brian Chaplain is second in sacks (6). Senior DB Mike Pelletier is tied for third in interceptions (3) and passes defended (9) and seventh in tackles (8.0 per game)
FFC HONORS: For the third time this season, RB Russ Massahos was selected the FFC Offensive Player of the Week and as a member of the ECAC Honor Roll. A two-time All-Conference pick, Massahos has received weekly honors from the FFC more than a dozen times in his career.
A LOOK AHEAD: Plymouth State remains on the road for its final regular season game next Saturday at WPI. PSC has a career record of 7-3 against WPI, including a 3-2 mark in Worcester, Mass. A victory would guarantee PSC at least a share of the FFC Championship, its first since 1995.