PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Freshman quarterback Darrell Russian (Sparta, N.J.) completed 12 of 20 passes for 190 yards and two touchdowns Saturday afternoon as William Paterson University stopped a 10-game losing streak with a 26-7 non-conference football victory over Plymouth State University at Currier Field.
William Paterson scored 26 unanswered points, including 23 in the second half, to post its first road victory since November of 2001. WPU is now 1-2 this season, while Plymouth State drops to 0-2.
Plymouth State scored the first points of the game when freshman quarterback Mike Griggs (Hudson, N.H.) connected with senior Harold Roy (East Boston, Mass.) on a 34-yard pass play on the first play of the second quarter. The touchdown came three plays after the Panthers recovered a fumble on the WPU 29-yard line.
The Pioneers got on the board with 3:41 to go in the first half on a 24-yard field goal by freshman Brian Kalendak (Spotswood, N.J.). That was set up when William Paterson blocked a punt deep in PSU territory, and brought the visitors to with 7-3 at the intermission.
“We could’ve been up by more if we had done some things right in the first half,” said PSU head coach Paul Castonia. “Our defense was pretty good in the first half, so if they don’t block that punt…”
WPU took the lead early in the third quarter when Russian hit freshman WR David Packard (Howell, N.J.) on a 32-yard TD pass. The Pioneers added another touchdown on their next possession when Russian connected with senior WR Bryant Richardson (Elizabeth, N.J.) on a 12-yard scoring toss to give WPU a 16-7 advantage.
“Our special teams made mistakes in the second half that gave them good field position,” said Castonia, “and that did us in. They took advantage of the field position they had. When they scored the second time, the momentum swing for us was not good. I could see a turn in our young guys.”
Kalendak capped a 10-play Pioneer drive later in the third quarter with a 26-yard field goal, and sophomore Qaadir Majeed (Monroe, N.J.) closed out the scoring midway through the fourth quarter with a 52-yard interception return for a TD.
The Pioneers outgained the hosts 350-281 in total yards. Griggs completed his first career start 7-for-22 for 140 yards and one touchdown.
“I think (Griggs) did a good job,” said Castonia. “He’s in a tough spot, but he’s improved dramatically since the first week.”
The Pioneers play another tough non-conference road game next Saturday at Western Connecticut, while the Panthers hit the road for the Freedom Football Conference opener at Norwich.
“We need to show our kids that we did some good things today,” said Castonia. “We need to continue to improve and correct the mistakes that we made. We did do a lot of good things today and we need to impress that upon them.”
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