GAME #5: Endicott College (1-3, 1-1) at Plymouth State University (4-0, 2-0)
Saturday, Oct. 6, 2007, 1:30 p.m., Currier Field, Plymouth, N.H.
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – After a very successful month of September, the Plymouth State University football team begins October with a pair of home games, beginning this Saturday with a New England Football Conference Boyd Division contest against Endicott College.
The Panthers and Gulls will kick off at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Currier Field in Plymouth. Plymouth State is 4-0 overall (2-0 in conference play), its best start in nine years, and has won six in a row dating back to last season, while the Gulls are 1-3 (1-1 in the conference) to begin the season and looking to return to the form that helped them post winning records the past three years.
PSU, ranked third in this week’s New England Division III poll, has won its first four games for the eighth time in school history and the first time since 1998, when the team went on to finish 7-3 in the regular season and play in the ECAC Northeast Championship game. The Panthers have used a strong ball-control offense, averaging 273 rushing yards per game while using the most efficient passing offense in the league. PSU ranks second in the NEFC in total offense (415.8 yards per game) and scoring offense (40.8 points per game), while on the other side of the ball the Panthers are seventh in total defense (326.8) and 10th in scoring defense (26.5).
Senior tailback Jeff Mack (Milford, N.H./Milford), junior fullback Brandon Clough (Gonic, N.H./Spaulding) and junior QB John DeMarco (Milford, N.H.) backbone the powerful Panther offense. Mack has rushed for 507 yards and seven touchdowns, Clough for 348 yards and four scores, and DeMarco for 199 yards and six TDs. DeMarco is also leading the conference in passing efficiency, tossing for 571 yards, five touchdowns and only two interceptions.
PSU has also had solid special teams, as senior Brad Largy (Litchfield, N.H.) is third in the conference in punting average (39.5 yards per boot) and senior Chris Dopp (Epsom, N.H.) is one of the leading kickers in the NEFC, converting 22-of-22 extra point attempts and all three field goal tries.
After posting 6-4, 7-3 and 6-4 records the past three seasons, the 1-3 start is a surprise for Endicott, which finished second in the Boyd Division last season with a 5-2 record. Endicott couldn’t hold a 14-7 halftime lead last Saturday in its 28-14 loss to Nichols. The Gulls average 309 yards and 17.5 points a game while giving up just 281 yards (ranked third in the NEFC) and 19.5 points an outing.
CAREER SERIES: This will be just the second meeting between the two schools, as Endicott just started varsity football in 2003. The Gulls took last year’s contest in Beverly, Mass., 24-7, taking a 21-0 halftime lead and keeping the Panthers off the scoreboard until the final six minutes of the game.
NEFC HONORS: Plymouth State QB John DeMarco (Milford, N.H.) named NEFC Co-Offensive Player of the Week after his four-touchdown performance last Saturday (two rushing, two passing) in PSU’s win over Western New England. Here is the list of Panthers who have received NEFC weekly honors this season:
Sept. 10 RB Jeff Mack (NEFC Honor Roll)
Sept. 17 RB Jeff Mack (NEFC Honor Roll), DB Mike Lannon (NEFC Honor Roll)
Sept. 24 QB John DeMarco (NEFC Honor Roll)
Oct. 1 QB John DeMarco (NEFC Co-Offensive Player of the Week)
PSU FOOTBALL HISTORY: After beginning its football program in 1970, Plymouth State was a member of the NEFC from 1971-91, winning or sharing nine titles in those 21 seasons. The Panthers won or shared eight straight NEFC championships from 1981-88. PSU has the 15th-highest career winning percentage (.628) among all NCAA Division III football programs.
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