GAME #5: Western Connecticut State University (3-1) at Plymouth State University (0-4)
Saturday, Oct. 2, 2004, 1:00 p.m., Currier Field, Plymouth, N.H.
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – It will take a big upset to send the Homecoming crowd home with a win this Saturday when Plymouth State University hosts Western Connecticut State University in a non-conference football game at Currier Field.
The Panthers and Colonials, who will kick off at 1:00 p.m. Saturday, are former Freedom Football Conference rivals traveling on different paths now. Western Connecticut has become a football member of the New Jersey Athletic Conference and PSU a Division III football independent. WCSU is also ranked fourth in New England while Plymouth State is searching for its first win.
Plymouth State gave Norwich a tough battle last Saturday, but came up short, 20-9. The Panther defense has kept the team competitive in most games, but has lacked consistency. The offense has been slow to develop, but is beginning to come around. The special teams have shown the most improvement over last year, but the team has been unable to put it all together on the same day.
Only a setback to national power Rowan has prevented WestConn from cruising to an undefeated season to date. The Colonials have captured decisive victories over Fitchburg State, Salve Regina and William Paterson. After struggling for many years, WCSU is now one of the top teams in New England year-in and year-out, posting a 44-12 record over the last six years. Western now plays in the NJAC in football with the College of New Jersey, Cortland State, Kean, Montclair State, Rowan, and William Paterson.
Plymouth State and Western Conn. have played 27 times in football since 1971, which matches Maine Maritime for the most games and longest series for Plymouth State. PSU holds a 21-6 lead in the all-time series. The Panthers used to dominate the Colonials, winning 21 of the first 22 meetings, including 16 straight from 1977-98. Western has turned the tables, capturing the last five games, including a 43-0 whitewash last season at Danbury, Conn., and a 47-13 verdict two years ago in Plymouth.
Sophomore DB Dan Fallon (Manchester, N.H.), who was the Freedom Conference Rookie of the Year last season after leading the Panthers in tackles, is enjoying another strong campaign. He leads the team again with 38 tackles, and last week returned his second interception 45 yards. Senior DB Adam Briggs (Peabody, Mass.) also has two interceptions and a team-high five pass break-ups while averaging 11.9 yards on punt returns and 17.5 yards on kick returns. Freshman WR Brad Largy (Litchfield, N.H.) caught five passes for 105 yards and one TD last week, becoming the first Panther receiver with 100 yards in a game since Jay Zinis against Coast Guard on Nov. 2, 2002.
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