GAME #8: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2-5, 2-3) at Plymouth State University (6-1, 4-1)
Saturday, Oct. 27, 2007, 1:00 p.m., Currier Field, Plymouth, N.H.
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Boyd Division action in the New England Football Conference continues this Saturday as Plymouth State University hosts the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on Senior Day at Currier Field.
The Panthers and Engineers will kick off at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday in Plymouth. The Panthers are looking to regroup after last week’s disappointing loss at league-leading Curry College, while MIT is looking for its third straight victory after opening the season with five consecutive losses. Plymouth State also continues the college athletics tradition of paying tribute to the seniors who are playing in their final regular season home game.
PSU, ranked seventh in this week’s New England Division III poll, is enjoying its best season in 10 years, having won its first six games before last Saturday’s loss at Curry. PSU’s dream of an undefeated season turned into a nightmare when Curry took a 42-7 lead by halftime.
The Panthers feature a high-scoring offense with a power running game, averaging 33.6 points and 265 rushing yards per game to rank second in the NEFC in scoring and third in rushing offense. Running backs Jeff Mack (Milford, N.H./Milford) (774 yards, 8 TDs) and Brandon Clough (Gonic, N.H./Spaulding) (471 yards, 6 TDs) and QB John DeMarco (Milford, N.H./Milford) (423 yards, 10 TD) give the Panthers a triple rushing threat, while DeMarco (42-78, 840 yards, 7 TD, 5 INT) leads the league in passing efficiency (161.10). The Panther defense is ranked in the middle of the pack in the NEFC in all categories.
PSU has also been solid in the kicking game, as senior Brad Largy (Litchfield, N.H.) is second in the NEFC in punting average (38.3 yards per boot) and senior Chris Dopp (Epsom, N.H.) is one of the leading kickers, converting 31-of-32 extra point attempts and all four field goal tries.
MIT has shown life in recent weeks, posting back-to-back victories over Western New England and Salve Regina. The Engineers also feature a solid running game, ranking fourth in the NEFC with 244 yards rushing per game. In fact, MIT set a school record last Saturday with 477 yards rushing in a win over Salve. MIT dominated time of possession, controlling the ball for nearly 42 minutes while DeRon Brown and Robert Utz each rushed for over 100 yards. The Engineers started football in 1988 and have had the same coach for the duration, Dwight Smith. MIT’s best year was 1999, when it finished 6-4 overall.
CAREER SERIES: This is only the second career meeting in football between PSU and MIT, since the Panthers were out of the NEFC before MIT was admitted in 1997. Last year’s first career encounter went to the Panthers, 35-3, in Plymouth.
PANTHER BACKS CLIMBING: PSU’s backfield combination of Jeff Mack, John DeMarco and Brandon Clough are all climbing up on the Panther career rushing list. All three have gone over the 1,000-yard mark for their careers this season, the 10th, 11th and 12th players in school history to reach the milestone. Mack has moved up to sixth on the career rushing list with 1,586 yards (on 333 carries, 4.8 average, 17 TDs), while DeMarco is seventh with 1,226 yards (on 324 carries, 3.8 average, 22 TDs), and Clough is 12th with 1,033 yards (on 192 carries, 5.4 average, 11 TDs).
PSU AT CURRIER FIELD: The Panthers continue to enjoy success at Currier Field, capturing over 70 percent of the games. Plymouth State now has an all-time home record of 129-54-3 for a .702 winning percentage. PSU is 3-0 at home this season after going 3-1 at Currier Field last fall, and is 10-3 at home since 2005.
PANTHER SENIORS: This year’s Panther senior class came to Plymouth State despite the 20-game losing streak the program was enduring, and their dedication, commitment and hard work has paid off with this year’s successful season. The group of 15, one of the largest senior classes for PSU Football in many years, includes Josh Brainard, Joe Conway, Mike Doucet, Dave Dyer, Aaron Ellston, Brent Gallant, Donny Lewis, Matt McKinnon, Drew Richardson, Justin Smith, Josh White, and co-captains Craig Baird, Jeff Ethier, Brad Largy and Adam Long. Congratulations, Seniors!!
NEFC HONORS: 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)
Oct. 8 QB John DeMarco (NEFC Honor Roll)
Oct. 15 QB John DeMarco (NEFC Honor Roll)
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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