PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Behind 303 yards rushing, the Plymouth State University football team defeated Worcester State University, 34-9, in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) opener for both teams at a sunny Currier Field on Saturday afternoon.
Seniors David Hamilton (West Deptford, N.J.) and Nick Lancia (Bedford, N.Y.) combined for 228 yards and three scores while the PSU defense limited the Lancers to 145 yards of total offense.
Plymouth State improves to 3-0 overall for the first time since 2016. Worcester State drops to 0-3 on the season.
The teams traded punts on their opening drives, before Worcester State took advantage of a PSU penalty to extend its next drive. Sophomore William McGlynn (Thompson, Conn.) converted a fourth-and-one on the ground inside the Panthers' ten-yard line, but PSU was able to limit the damage to a 30-yard field goal by sophomore Aaron-Moses Williams (Springfield, Mass.).
Plymouth State relied on its running game on the ensuing drive, with Hamilton and Lancia accounting for 52 yards. Lancia busted off a 12-yard run on third-and-six to keep the drive alive, and then scampered into the end zone from seven yards out to give the Panthers the lead, though the point after missed wide.
Worcester State went three-and-out on its next drive and Hamilton busted out a 40-yard gain on the ground to set up Lancia's 15-yard touchdown run as PSU pushed the advantage to 13-3 with 8:01 left in the half.
The Lancers were flagged for a hold on the kickoff return, pinning them on their own five and sophomore Quinn Girard (Glens Falls, N.Y.) jumped in front of Williams' pass for a three-yard pick-six as the Panthers surged ahead, 20-3.
After forcing a Lancers' punt, Plymouth State moved the ball 44 yards on the ground before senior Eddy Boamah (Worcester, Mass.) picked off a pass from sophomore Brett Lavanchy (Walpole, Mass.) to stop PSU's next drive. Each team would have one more possession in the half, but neither would result in a score as the Panthers took a 20-3 advantage to the locker room.
A Plymouth State fumble gave the Lancers the ball at the 30-yard line early in the third quarter. Sophomore Amir Mells (Dorchester, Mass.) rushed for a 12-yard gain to start the drive, but the Lancers would only pick up one more yard on the drive and were forced to punt.
Hamilton ripped off runs of 28 and 15 yards to start the Panthers' next drive. Lavanchy connected with sophomore Gavin Moody (Warner, N.H.) for an 11-yard gain on third-and-three and three plays later Hamilton busted through the line for a five-yard TD run to make it 27-3 with 2:49 to play in the third.
The visitors followed with their best drive of the game. Williams completed passes to senior Jordan Choquette (Warren, Mass.) and junior Colin Robinson (Centerville, Mass.) for gains of 14 and 15 yards and a Panthers' penalty tacked on another 15, before McGlynn found a hole from six yards out to cut the margin to 27-9. Worcester State was unsuccessful on its two-point conversion attempt.
PSU marched downfield on its next drive with sophomore Vito Aleo (Hazlet, N.J.) picking up 31 yards on eight carries. Lavanchy connected with junior Terrell Lewis (New Boston, N.H.) for a nine-yard strike on third-and-goal to push the lead to 34-9 midway through the fourth quarter and neither team would add to the scoreboard the rest of the way.
PSU racked up 303 yards rushing, while limiting the Lancers to just 57 yards on the ground. Hamilton finished with 142 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries, while Lancia added 86 yards and a pair of scores on 11 rushes. Mells and McGlynn combined for 50 of the Lancers' 57 rushing yards.
Through the air, Williams went 12-of-23 for 80 yards and an interception for Worcester State, while Lavanchy finished 7-of-14 for 54 yards with a touchdown and interception.
Juniors Elijah Bussell (Athens, Maine) and Derrick Terrazzano (Manchester, N.H.) and sophomore David Salazar (Waltham, Mass.) each finished with six tackles to pace the PSU defense. The Panthers made seven tackles for a loss, including a sack by sophomore Thanos Boulukos (Old Bethpage, N.Y.).
Worcester State sophomore Noah Peterson (Millbury, Mass.) led all players with 10 tackles, including eight solo stops, while the Lancers got sacks from sophomores Matt Johnston (Uxbridge, Mass.), Nick Ashley (Worcester, Mass.) and junior Anthony Dobronte (Brigantine, N.J.).
Both teams will be back in action next Saturday, Sept. 28. The Panthers travel to UMass Dartmouth for a 2 p.m. kickoff, while Worcester State hosts Western Connecticut for a 2:30 p.m. Homecoming kickoff.
Release courtesy of Plymouth State Sports Information.