GAME #9: Plymouth State University (7-1, 5-1) at Salve Regina University (2-6, 1-5)
Saturday, Nov. 3, 2007, 1:00 p.m., Toppa Stadium, Newport, R.I.
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – The Plymouth State University football team wraps up the regular season this Saturday with a New England Football Conference Boyd Division game at Salve Regina University in Newport, R.I.
The Panthers and Seahawks will kick off at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday on Senior Day at Toppa Stadium. PSU is enjoying its best season this decade and looks to clinch second place in the Boyd Division, while Salve wants to continue its momentum after breaking a five-game losing streak last Saturday.
PSU, ranked seventh in this week’s New England Division III poll, improved to 7-1 overall and 5-1 in the division with a 27-0 win over MIT in the final home game last Saturday. The seven victories match the most since the 2000 team finished 7-3. Curry College has clinched the Boyd Division title, but Plymouth State can wrap up second place with a win this Saturday.
The Panthers continued to do against MIT what they do best, which is run the ball, control the clock and put points on the board. PSU scores an average of 32.8 points per game and gains 283 of its 391 yards per game on the ground. The defense, which held MIT to 89 yards on a muddy field last Saturday, has recorded two shutouts, and allows just 20.6 points and 300.4 yards per game.
Senior Jeff Mack (Milford, N.H./Milford) is one of the top running backs in the NEFC, rushing for 964 yards and 10 touchdowns. Junior QB John DeMarco (Milford, N.H./Milford) has rushed for 466 yard and 10 TDs and thrown for 865 yards and eight scores. Sophomore Jay Baird (Worcester, Mass./Holy Name), subbing at fullback for injured junior Brandon Clough (Gonic, N.H./Spaulding), rushed for 97 yards and a TD against MIT.
PSU has also been solid in the kicking game, as senior Brad Largy (Litchfield, N.H.) is second in the NEFC in punting average (38.2 yards per boot) and senior Chris Dopp (Epsom, N.H.) is one of the leading kickers, converting 32-of-35 extra point attempts and all four field goal tries.
Salve (2-6, 1-5) stopped its five-game losing streak last Saturday with a wild 41-34 victory over Western New England College. The Seahawks led 34-19 with 11:33 remaining in the game, but WNEC rallied to tie the game at 34-all with 5:48 left. Both teams had possessions in the final five minutes, but Salve pulled it out with an 11-yard touchdown pass with two seconds remaining.
CAREER SERIES: Plymouth State has a 3-1 lead in the career series between these two schools, with two of the four meetings coming in ECAC post-season games. The first three games came within a 365-day span, including the two ECAC games. Salve took the first contest, 36-6, in Newport, R.I. on Nov. 21, 1998, to capture the ECAC Northeast title. The two teams met again to open the 1999 regular season in Plymouth, with PSU winning 16-7, and they made it three contests in less than a year when the Panthers captured a 13-7 win over Salve for the ECAC Northeast Championship on Nov. 20, 1999, in Plymouth. The fourth game in the series was last year, and the Panthers won, 27-7, 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 1,776 yards (on 361 carries, 4.9 average, 19 TDs), while DeMarco is seventh with 1,269 yards (on 337 carries, 3.8 average, 22 TDs), and Clough is 12th with 1,033 yards (on 192 carries, 5.4 average, 11 TDs). Mack also needs only 36 yards to become the ninth Panther running back to rush for 1,000 yards in a season.
NEFC HONORS: Senior RB Jeff Mack (Milford, N.H.) made a return trip to the NEFC Honor Roll after his career-high 190 yards rushing and two touchdown performance last Saturday against MIT. 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)
Oct. 29 RB Jeff Mack (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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