Nov. 1, 2008
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Senior Jeff Mack rushed for 221 yards and two touchdowns to lead Plymouth State University past MIT, 27-14, Saturday at Steinbrenner Stadium. The Panthers scored 20 points off MIT turnovers en route to clinching the New England Football Conference (NEFC) Boyd Division title.
Mack led all rushers after topping 200 yards for the fourth time this season. Sophomore Chris Francher added 67 yards and a touchdown while Plymouth State (8-1, 6-0 NEFC) totaled 306 yards on the ground and 397 yards of total offense.
MIT (5-4, 3-3) junior DeRon Brown, who entered the tilt as the nation’s leading rusher, finished with 165 yards and a touchdown in pacing the Tech attack. Brown had a season-low 35 yards at halftime, but exploded for a 56-yard touchdown run near the end of the fourth quarter to top 100 yards while scoring a rushing touchdown for the ninth straight game.
The Engineers threw an interception and lost a fumble on their first two possessions while the Panthers converted the second turnover into the first points of the game. Capping an eight-play, 45-yard drive, Chris Dopp kicked a 25-yard field goal at 5:13 of the first quarter to give PSU a 3-0 lead.
The Cardinal and Gray responded by taking their only lead of the afternoon on the next possession. Junior signal-caller Rick Mancuso connected with senior wideout Kevin Vogelsang from 20-yards out for the initial score while Vogelsang also hauled in the ensuing two-point attempt as MIT grabbed an 8-3 advantage.
Following another turnover as MIT fumbled attempting to convert a fourth-and-one, Mack moved Plymouth State back in front with an eight-yard rush midway through the second quarter. Mack set-up the score with a 37-yard run down the left side line on the first play of the drive.
Leading 10-8 at the break, Francher extended the Panthers’ lead with a 14-yard scoring run at 7:30 of the third frame. The six-play, 58-yard drive was highlighted by a 42-yard completion from senior John DeMarco to sophomore J.J. Brooks.
Plymouth State added 10 points in the final stanza off two more MIT turnovers. The lost opportunities for the Engineers’ attack yielded two PSU drives that totaled 12 plays, 135 yards and nearly 13 minutes of game time. Mack added his second score of the day with a four-yard run and 2:30 remaining in regulation.
Defensively, the Panthers were led by Zack Brooks who totaled a team-best eight tackles. Dan Kelly added two interceptions while Zach Parsons had two fumble recoveries as Plymouth State held MIT to its second-lowest offensive output of the season. Alex Rubino made a game-best nine tackles including a sack to lead the Engineers.
In addition to committing a season-high five turnovers, the Engineers were also whistled for a season-high six penalties.