New Hampshire Football Report

PSU 41, Bridgewater State 34

PLYMOUTH – Plymouth State University twice rallied from a two-touchdown deficit and senior Quinn Girard (Glens Falls, N.Y.) broke up a game-tying TD throw in the end zone in the final seconds as the Panthers held off Bridgewater State, 41-34, in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) opener for both schools at Panther Field on Saturday.


The Bears held leads of 21-7 late in the second quarter, and 28-14 early in the third, but PSU battled back. Junior Willie Lombard (Bridgewater, Mass.) ripped off a 90-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to spark the comeback and senior Manny Sanchez (Hartford, Conn.) sliced through the defense on an 18-yard TD run to tie the game at 28-28 in the final minutes of the third.

Sanchez punched the ball in from a yard out to give the Panthers their first lead, 34-28, with nine minutes remaining, but Bridgewater State answered on the next possession. The visitors had a chance for the lead, but a botched point after kept the score tied and graduate student Jake Donahue (Hudson, N.H.) broke a tackle and found the end zone for a 28-yard TD reception to put PSU up for good with four minutes left.

Bridgewater State moved the ball to the PSU 4-yard line in the final minute, but a holding penalty and 10-yard sack by junior Collin Crowe (Simsbury, Conn.) made it fourth-and-goal for the Bears from the PSU 26-yard line. BSU nearly tied the game as the fourth down throw was in the hands of a receiver in the end zone, but Girard was able to knock the ball loose to seal the win.

The win was PSU’s first over the Bears since the 2017 season, improving the Panthers to 3-0 (1-0 MASCAC). Bridgewater State drops to 0-3 (0-2 MASCAC) on the year.

The Basics:

  • Plymouth State 41, Bridgewater State 34
    • Plymouth State (3-0, 1-0 MASCAC)
    • Bridgewater State (0-3, 0-1 MASCAC)

Top Performers:

How it Happened:

  • Neither team was able to put points on the board over the first two possessions, but Bridgewater State broke through late in the first quarter on a 14-yard touchdown pass for a 7-0 lead.
  • The Panthers came right back, driving down the field to answer. Sophomore Braden Lynn (Littleton, Mass.) connected with Lombard for a 22-yard gain, then the duo picked eight yards on a catch-and-run on fourth-and-seven to extend the drive. PSU converted another fourth down and graduate student Thanos Boulukos (Old Bethpage, N.Y.) crashed through the line from two yards out to cap the 17-play drive and tie the game.
  • Bridgewater State answered right back two plays later as a receiver got behind the defense for a 66-yard TD catch putting the visitors back in front, 14-7.
  • After a PSU three-and-out, Bridgewater State extended the margin to 21-7 with a 22-yard touchdown pass.
  • Plymouth State responded on its next drive, as a 53-yard completion to Donahue set up a Lynn toss to junior Kyle Baker (Pelham, N.H.) in the back corner of the end zone to make it 21-14.
  • Sophomore Evan Wilson (Derry, N.H.) and junior Emmanuel Ughu (Milford, N.H.) came up with a huge stop on fourth-and-two to stop the next Bears’ drive and keep it a one-score game at the half.
  • PSU went three-and-out to start the third quarter and the Bears efficiently moved the ball downfield, with a deep 25-yard pass to restore the two-possession lead, 28-14.
  • Lombard fielded the ensuing kickoff at the PSU 10-yard line, then slashed through the coverage, 90 yards to the house to fire up the home crowd.
  • Wilson and Girard made another big fourth down stop on the Bears’ next drive, and PSU marched down the field to tie the game. The 10-play, 70-yard drive was capped off by an 18-yard TD run for Sanchez, with two minutes left in the third.
  • Plymouth State chewed up big yardage on its next drive, with Lynn connecting with junior Jon Proia (Chelmsford, Mass.) for a 16-yard gain, and Donahue for another 11 yards, before Lombard ripped off a 14-yard rush to get to the BSU 7-yard line and three plays later Sanchez pushed the pile into the end zone to give PSU its first lead. The Bears took advantage of a high snap on the PAT attempt to block the kick, though, making the Panthers’ lead just 34-28.
  • The back-and-forth continued as the visitors used a roughing the passer penalty to get a new set of downs, and a long 22-yard run set up a game-tying TD. The extra point sailed wide, though, keeping the score deadlocked at 34-34.
  • The Panthers answered once again, with Lynn hooking up with Proia for 17 yards to the right sideline before Donahue caught a pass, slipped out of a tackle, and sprinted up the sideline for a 28-yard score.
  • BSU had one final chance to pull even, converting a pair of third downs to push the ball all the way to the PSU 4-yard line. The Bears’ running back slipped in the backfield and a holding penalty made it third-and-goal from the 16-yard line, before Crowe broke through the line for a 10-yard sack with less than 30 seconds remaining. Forced to fire to the end zone on fourth-and-long, it looked like Bridgewater State might extend the game again as a Bears’ receiver had the ball in his hands, but Girard was able to knock it loose to preserve the wild win.

By the Numbers:

  • Sanchez finished with 23 carries for 94 yards and two touchdowns, while Lombard added 55 yards on the ground and 58 yards receiving, to go with 186 kickoff yards and his return TD.
  • Lynn finished 13-of-22 for 213 yards and a pair of TDs.
  • Wilson, Girard, and senior Bryce Wronski (Middleton, Mass.) all finished with ten tackles, while senior Kayden Baillargeon (Derry, N.H.) added nine, all solo, to lead the PSU defense.
  • The Panthers were 8-for-14 on third-down and two-for-two on fourth-down conversions.
  • PSU was perfect in four red zone opportunities and is now 11-for-11 with eight TDs in the red zone this season.
  • Neither team turned the ball over.
  • The Panthers’ last win over Bridgewater State came in the 2017 season. The Bears had won eight-of-nine head-to-head matchups prior to today.


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