GAME #5: U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (4-1, FFC 2-1) at Plymouth State Univ. (0-4, FFC 0-2)
Saturday, Oct. 11, 2003, 1:00 p.m., Currier Field, Plymouth, N.H.
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Plymouth State University faces a tough challenge this Saturday when the Panther football team hosts the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (Kings Point) at Currier Field.
The Panthers and Mariners will kick off at 1:00 p.m. Saturday in a Freedom Football Conference match-up. The youthful Plymouth State squad has shown improvement in recent weeks but is still searching for its first win of the season. Kings Point has won all four of its home games this season, but lost in its only road game at Springfield.
PSU is coming off a 43-0 loss last Saturday at powerful Western Connecticut, which is ranked #2 in New England. Although the score was 26-0 at halftime, PSU had run more plays (38-26) and had more possession time (19:48 to 10:12). A couple of mistakes on special teams also cost the Panthers and they fell to 0-2 this season in conference play. It’s a young and inexperienced group of Panthers, as 17 of PSU’s 22 starters are in their first season as a starter.
The Mariners have won four of their first five games, showing consistency on offense by scoring between 21 and 28 points in all five games. Kings Point, which is 2-1 in FFC play this fall, features one of the strongest running games in the conference, led by senior All-American David McNeal. The Mariners average 325 yards of offense a game while giving up 312 yards per outing.
This will be the ninth meeting in a series that dates back to 1994, with the series all even at four games apiece. The first Plymouth State-Kings Point game was a memorable NCAA Tournament game at Currier Field when the Panthers scored two touchdowns in the final four minutes to pull out a 19-18 victory. The home team has never lost in the series, as PSU went on to win at home in 1997, 1999 and 2001 while the Mariners have won the games at Kings Point in the even number years since 1996, including a 28-14 decision last season.
PSU is in the middle of a very challenging month, with Springfield, ranked 10th in the nation in Division III, coming to Plymouth next Saturday for Homecoming followed by a trip to undefeated Bentley College. PSU’s four October opponents are currently a combined 17-2.
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