New Hampshire Football Report

Western Conn. 34, PSU 27

PLYMOUTH – Junior Willie Lombard (Bridgewater, Mass.) had 267 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns, including an 87-yard kickoff return TD, and graduate student Jake Donahue (Hudson, N.H.) had a career high 121 receiving yards, but Western Connecticut State University spoiled the Homecoming celebrations with a 34-27 win over Plymouth State University in a Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) football game at Panther Field on Saturday afternoon.


WestConn took a 3-0 lead on a short field goal midway through the opening quarter, but Lombard took the ensuing kickoff 87-yards to the house to put the Panthers in front.

The visitors went back up, 10-6, early in the second quarter, but Lombard capped back-to-back drives with one-yard TD runs to give the hosts a 20-10 lead. WestConn responded with a pair of touchdowns in the final four minutes of the first half to take a 24-20 lead into the break.

The visitors extended the margin midway through the third quarter, but sophomore Braden Lynn (Littleton, Mass.) connected with Donahue in the end zone to make it a one-score game, 31-27, with 2:29 left in the third.

The WestConn defense was able to stuff the Panthers on fourth down on back-to-back possessions in the fourth quarter and added a field goal to account for the final score.

Plymouth State suffers its first loss of the year to dip to 4-1 (2-1 MASCAC), while WestConn moves to 3-3 and 2-2 in league play.

How it Happened:

  • After trading three-and-outs, the WestConn offense picked up chunks of yards through the air to get into the red zone. Junior Emmanuel Ughu (Milford, N.H.) made a key tackle to keep the visitors out of the end zone, though, as the visitors settled for a 21-yard field goal to take a 3-0 lead with 7:08 left in the first quarter.
  • Lombard got a running start on the ensuing return, then raced up the far sideline to the house to put the home team in front. A missed point after left the score 6-3.
  • The Wolves came back with a long scoring drive, burning nearly seven minutes before a short pass over the middle to the end zone made it 10-6.
  • Lynn connected with Donahue for a big 42-yard gain to jumpstart the next PSU possession, and Lombard ripped off a 28-yard gain on the ground to set up a first-and-goal from the 7-yard line, before finding pay dirt two plays later to put the Panthers ahead 13-10.
  • The WestConn offense stalled on its next drive and PSU got right back to work. Senior Manny Sanchez (Hartford, Conn.) had a 10-yard run and Lynn found Donahue for another 31 yards through the air to get the ball into WestConn territory. Lynn found senior Bryan Warren (Pine Bush, N.Y.) over the middle for an 18-yard gain to set up another scoring chance and three plays later Lombard danced through the line to make it 20-10.
  • The visitors came right back, scoring on a 14-yard QB run to pull within 20-17 with under four minutes remaining and the Plymouth State offense couldn’t get anything going on its next possession.
  • WestConn connected for a 58-yard TD pass to leapfrog in front, 24-20.
  • Lynn and Donahue connected for another big gain, 23-yards this time, as the Panthers attempted to get points on the board before the half expired. On third-and-one from the WestConn 33-yard line with just under a minute remaining, Lynn’s short pass was picked off and returned 33 yards, giving the Wolves a chance to add to the lead. Senior Bryce Wronski (Middleton, Mass.) blocked a field goal attempt with just seconds remaining, though, to send the game into the intermission.
  • WestConn’s defense came up with a big 10-yard sack on fourth-and-seven to stop the Panthers’ opening drive. The Wolves used the momentum to drive 62 yards for a touchdown to extend the margin to 31-20.
  • Once again, PSU answered right back. Lynn connected with four receivers during a 10-play, 78-yard drive, capping the drive with a 16-yard TD pass to Donahue to pull within 31-27 with 2:29 left in the third.
  • The Panthers’ defense got back-to-back big plays as sophomore Gustavo Regalado (Lawrence, Mass.) and graduate student Quinn Girard (Glens Falls, N.Y.) broke up a pair of passes to force a turnover on downs, but the WestConn defense stuffed Lynn on fourth-and-one at midfield to get the ball back.
  • The Wolves got the ball down to the PSU 2-yard line but were forced to settle for a field goal to extend the margin to 34-27 with 8:24 left.
  • Lombard and Sanchez picked up back-to-back first downs on the ground after carries of 12 and 11 yards, but the Panthers turned the ball over on downs in WestConn territory and the Wolves were able to convert five first downs on the following drive to run out the clock.

By the Numbers:

  • Lynn finished 16-for-19 for 209 yards, one TD and one interception, his first of the season.
  • Lombard had 11 carries for 79 yards and two touchdowns, while also adding 188 return yards with a score. His 87-yard kickoff return TD was his second return touchdown of the season.
  • Donahue finished with career highs of six catches and 121 receiving yards, while also pulled in a TD reception.
  • Sophomore Evan Wilson (Derry, N.H.) paced the defense with eight tackles (six solo), while Girard chipped in six tackles, four solo, and two pass break ups.
  • The Panthers stayed perfect from within the red zone this year, going three-for-three. They are now 16-for-16 with 13 TDs in the red zone this season.
  • Each of the last six meetings have been one-score games. Plymouth State spoiled WestConn’s Homecoming last fall with a 16-13 win in Danbury.


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