Plymouth State victory requires extra effort
PLYMOUTH - Graduate student Dustin Matthews scored a touchdown from a yard out in overtime Saturday afternoon, leading Plymouth State University past Nichols College, 20-14, in New England Football Conference Boyd Division action at Currier Field.
Matthews' winning score came on Plymouth State's first possession in the overtime session after PSU's defense denied Nichols on its first series. Senior Josh Morgan intercepted a Bison pass attempt at the Panther 20-yard line. The winning score was set up by an 11-yard completion from senior quarterback Jake Tyler to Matthews, and an 11-yard rush by senior Andrew Foglia.
Plymouth State improved to 2-3 overall and 1-1 in the NEFC. Nichols dropped to 0-5 and 0-2.
Nichols forced the overtime when junior quarterback Jacob Shoup connected with classmate Dylan Rimski on a dramatic 41-yard touchdown pass with 2:23 left in fourth quarter, evening the score at 14 apiece.
The Panthers had broken a 7-7 deadlock midway through the final quarter when Tyler plunged in from 2 yards out. That score was set when PSU sophomore Chris Smith blocked a Nichols punt on the Bison 33-yard line that was downed at the Nichols' 4-yard line.
Despite being out-gained in total yards 355-164, the Plymouth State defense had several outstanding performances. Morgan had 12 tackles (11 solo) including four tackles for loss and a forced fumble to go along with the interception. Smith had five tackles and an interception, and senior Louis Montegari added eight tackles, two pass break-ups and a fumble recovery.
Plymouth State opened the scoring early in the second quarter when freshman running back Tristenn Clark ran in from 3 yards. The extra point by classmate Ryan Bentley gave the home team a 7-0 lead that carried into the intermission.
The Bison took the opening drive of the second half 74 yards on six plays, capping it when Shoup found junior Mark Parker with a 4-yard scoring strike. Shoup kept that drive alive with a 49-yard pass completion to Joe Lambert on third down with the ball on his own 31-yard line. Freshman Casey Lombardi added the extra point that drew the visitors even.
Shoup finished the afternoon by connecting on 18 of 38 passes for 276 yards and two touchdowns. Rimski had eight catches for 155 yards and a touchdown. Lambert hauled in five passes for 63 yards.
The Panthers were led on offense by Clark, who finished with 52 yards on eight carries (6.5 avg.). PSU senior punter/kicker Nick Cavallo played a big role in the victory with 10 punts (39.1 avg.), two of which landed inside the 20.