BRIDGEWATER, Mass. -- In a New England Football Conference (NEFC) crossover game, the Panthers of Plymouth State University posted a 17-0 shutout victory over host Bridgewater State University on Saturday afternoon in Bridgewater.
Plymouth improves to 2-1 with the win, while Bridgewater falls to 2-1. The Panthers now lead the all-time series, 17-8-1.
The host Bears, who were playing without Preseason All-American running back Justin Fuller (Berkley, Mass.), suffered their first shutout loss in eight seasons. The last time Bridgewater was held scoreless in game was an 18-0 loss at home to Worcester State on November 2, 2002.
Plymouth got on the board with 10:55 remaining in the second quarter on a two-yard touchdown run by sophomore running back Ty Long (Dover, N.H.). The TD run capped off a 14-play, 80-yard drive which last eight minutes and 24 seconds.
The Panthers made it a 14-0 game with just 17 seconds left in the half as they took advantage of a bad snap on a BSU punt attempt. Taking over possession at the Bridgewater 20, Plymouth moved the ball inside the ten on an 11-yard run by sophomore running back Michael Malia (Waterford, Conn.). Three plays later senior quarterback J.J. Brooks (Seabrook, N.H.) connected with senior wideout John Creamer (Hanover, Mass.) on a seven-yard scoring strike.
Long finished with a game-high 63 yards rushing on 18 carries., while Brooks completed 4 of 9 pass attempts for 49 yards.
Plymouth added a 32-yard field goal by junior Christian Mulcahy (Norwich, Conn.) midway through the fourth quarter to round out the scoring.
The Bears were limited to 152 yards of total offense and converted just 2 of 13 third down attempts. Bridgewater was also 0-for-4 on fourth down.
Sophomore running back Nick Pistacchio (Johnston, R.I.) paced Bridgewater offensively with 59 yards on 14 carries. The quarterbacks and receivers however struggled all game long as the Bears completed just 6 of 19 passes for 39 yards which included a number of dropped passes.
Bridgewater's defense was solid throughout as Plymouth managed just 165 yards of total offense and finished 4-for-16 on third down conversions.
Junior defensive end Jacob Curren (North Attleboro, Mass.) paced the BSU defense with seven solo tackles, while junior linebacker Chris Chamberlin (South Easton, Mass.) added six solo stops. Senior defensive end Garrett Dyer (Easthampton, Mass.) registered five unassisted tackles including a sack to go along with a pass breakup.
Senior linebacker Brian Castellucci (Derry, N.H.) led the way on defense for Plymouth with nine tackles (seven solo) including one for loss. Senior safety Dan Kelly (Londonderry, N.H.) added eight solo stops, while senior cornerback Kevin Whalen (Wallingford, Conn.) recorded four tackles and a fourth quarter interception.
Divisional play will get underway in the NEFC next weekend. Bridgewater will host Bogan Division foe Framingham State University next Saturday at 1:00 PM, while Plymouth State travels to UMass Dartmouth to take on the Corsairs at noon.