New Hampshire Football Report

PSU gives one away

 PLYMOUTH – Junior running back David Hamilton ran for 101 yards and a touchdown for the second straight game and classmate Jacob Szulc caught a pair of TD passes, but Plymouth State University was tripped up by Western Connecticut State University, 32-28, in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) opener for both schools Saturday afternoon at Currier Field.

PSU held a 21-6 lead with less than four minutes remaining in the first half, but WestConn got into the end zone just before the intermission to cut the Panther lead to eight. The two teams traded touchdowns on their first possessions of the second half and the Colonials cut the deficit to 28-26 early in the fourth quarter following a failed two-point conversion attempt. The visitors came up with a key interception returned for a touchdown on the next Panther drive to pull in front 32-28 with 11:22 remaining, and neither team scored after that.

Plymouth State dropped to 1-1 (0-1 MASCAC), while WestConn improved to 2-0 (1-0 MASCAC).

     How it Happened:

* WestConn took a first quarter lead when senior Khalil Patterson capped an eight-play, 52-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run, but the Colonials missed the point after.

* Plymouth State responded with a 60-yard drive, aided by a 20-yard scramble by senior quarterback Zack Edwards and a key unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on WCSU, but the drive stalled out at the Western Connecticut 11-yard line and the Panthers’ field goal try went wide right.

* After a three-and-out by the WestConn offense, Plymouth State put together another drive with the help of some untimely Colonials’ penalties. PSU capped the eight-pay, 49-yard drive with Szulc’s first touchdown grab, a 3- yard score to the back right corner of the end zone. Sophomore kicker Jeremy Martin put the Panthers in front 7-6 after converting the PAT.

* WestConn moved the ball to its 36-yard line on the next drive but the PSU defense stepped up. Junior Nick Photos came up with a 5-yard sack and the Colonials were forced to punt. The Western Connecticut punter was unable to handle the snap and sophomore Matt Tosone  jumped on the loose ball at the Western 23-yard line to give the Panthers great field position.

* It looked like the ensuing PSU drive would stall when Edwards’ pass on fourth and eight fell incomplete, but Western Connecticut was called for roughing the passer and a pair of Hamilton rushes resulted in a Plymouth State touchdown and 14-6 lead.

* The Panthers forced a three-and-out and started their next drive in Western territory thanks to a personal foul penalty on the punt return. Junior Nick Lancia opened the drive with a 15-yard run, and two plays later Edwards connected with Szulc for a 26-yard strike and 21-6 lead.

* With just 3:39 remaining in the half, WestConn drove 54 yards while converting four third downs to score just before the clock expired. Senior quarterback David James connected with freshman Will Daniels for 14 yards on a third and ten, and later James found freshman Antoine Sistrunk for another 11 yards on third and five. With ten seconds left in the half and WestConn on the PSU 21-yard line, James hit Daniels in the front left corner of the end zone after a Panther defensive back slipped to cut the lead to 21-13 at the half.

* PSU opened the second half with another touchdown drive. Hamilton had a big 19-yard run to help set up Edwards’ third TD pass of the afternoon, this time a 6-yard toss to sophomore Max Osgood, as PSU extended its lead to 28-13.

* WestConn came right back on the next drive. James hooked up with senior Austin Calamita for a 19-yard gain on third and ten, and later the duo connected from one yard out to pull the Colonials to within 28-20 with just over three minutes left in the third.

* After the Panthers were forced to punt, Western Connecticut put together its longest drive of the day, covering 85 yards on eight plays. Patterson capped the drive with a four yard scamper into the end zone, but James was stuffed on his two-point conversion attempt and PSU maintained a slight advantage, 28-26.

* On PSU’s ensuing drive, senior Jaret DeVellis jumped in front of an Edwards pass and returned it 32 yards to put the visitors in front, 32-28, but Plymouth again thwarted the two-point attempt.

* PSU’s last drive started at the WestConn 48-yard line. Edwards and Szulc connected for a 15-yard gain, and Edwards extended the drive with a key third-down conversion to senior Matt Ordway. On third and nine from the WCSU 19-yard line, Edwards fired a ball to Szulc in the back of the end zone, but the ball was deflected and scooped up by sophomore Daija Fitzpatrick (Bristol, Conn.) for the interception and WestConn was able to run out the clock from there.

            Inside the Numbers:

* Edwards has thrown for five TDs through the Panthers’ first two games.

* Hamilton carried the ball 20 times for 101 yards, topping the century mark for the second time this season.

* After being held without a score in the opener, Szulc found the end zone twice while catching four balls for 58 yards.

* Junior Matt Shea had a big day for PSU, finishing with a game high 12 tackles, including nine solo.

* James finished the afternoon 23-of-29 for 283 yards and two scores for the Colonials.

* Calamita finished with 10 grabs for 122 yards and a TD for the visitors.

            Straight from the Coach’s Mouth:

“Our offense had some opportunities but we didn’t capitalize on them,” Plymouth State head coach Paul Castonia said. “We should have been able to finish a couple of drives. Defensively we needed to tackle better and we let them off the hook on some third downs. Overall we can be more consistent on offense and better on third down defense, but that’s also a credit to WestConn for getting it done when they had to.”

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