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Football Hosts Plymouth State On Saturday

Plymouth State College Panthers (0-5, 0-3 FFC) at Springfield College Pride (4-1, 3-0 FFC)
Saturday, Oct. 19, 2002 • 1:30 p.m. • Benedum Field
The Series: SC leads the series, 4-3. The Pride has not lost to Plymouth State at Benedum Field in three meetings.
The Last Meeting: The Panthers held off the Pride, 9-7, on Oct. 13, 2001 in Plymouth, N.H.
Last Time Out: The Pride beat No. 14 Western Connecticut, 18-15; Plymouth State lost at Kings Point, 28-14.
About the Pride: Saturday's game is part of Springfield College's Homecoming Weekend ... SC took sole possession of first place in the Freedom Football Conference (FFC) with the win over previously undefeated Western Connecticut. The winner of the FFC earns an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament. The Pride captured the conference title and the NCAA Tournament berth in 1998 and 2000. SC also won the FFC crown in 1996, but did not compete in the post-season ... since its two-point loss to Plymouth State last season, SC is 7-2, including a 5-1 mark at Benedum Field ... SC is ranked in the top 20 nationally in five statistical categories, and is third in the nation in rushing (320.8 ypg). The Pride ranks at the top of the FFC in 11 categories ... the Pride has scored 13 of 15 times in the red zone (86.7%), which is the best in the conference. Of the 13 scores, 10 are touchdowns and the rest are field goals ... the Pride has outscored the opposition, 82-9, in the first quarter.

Gold Helmet: Senior CB Mike Capotosto won the Coca-Cola Gold Helmet College Division Award for his performance in the Pride's win over Western Connecticut. Capotosto, who leads the FFC in interceptions (four/0.8 per game), picked off a pass in the end zone with 2:34 in the third quarter as the Colonials tried to extend a 15-10 lead. He also had two passes defended and two solo tackles ... for the second time this season, junior place kicker Greg Switaj was named FFC Special Teams Player of the Week. Switaj drilled a career-long 45-yard field goal in the driving rain vs. Western Connecticut to give the Pride a 10-8 halftime lead. Switaj is 6-of-7 in field goals this season (86.7%). He also converted an extra point on SC’s first touchdown of the game.

Movin' On Up: SC is listed under 'Others Receiving Votes' in the latest American Football Coaches Association Poll. The Pride, which is tied with Johns Hopkins with 63 points, trails No. 25 MacMurray-Ill. (80 points) ... in the Division III New England Poll, the Pride is ranked second (up from fifth) behind top-ranked Westfield State.

Division III New England Poll (Oct. 14)
1. Westfield State (5-0)
3. Williams (4-0)
4. Western Connecticut (4-1)
5. UMass-Dartmouth (6-0)
6. Amherst (4-0)
7. Worcester State (5-1)
8. Trinity (3-1)
9. Tufts (3-1)
10. Nichols (3-3) and Wesleyan (3-1)

Playmakers: The Pride has used the big play as a major weapon this season. SC has had 12 passing or rushing plays go for 30-or-more yards, including sophomore QB Michael Judge's 97-yard touchdown run at Kings Point (Sept. 21) ... SC's defense has produced five plays of 30-or-more yards, including three touchdowns against Coast Guard (Sept. 28).

By the Numbers: In addition to boasting Division III's third-ranked rushing offense (320.8 ypg), the Pride ranks in the top 20 nationally in four other categories:
Scoring Offense: 39.4 ppg (rank:t-16th)
Pass Efficiency Defense: 85.4 rating (rank:20th)
Total Defense: 233.0 ypg (rank:15th)
Turnover Margin: +1.4 (rank: t-20th)

Balancing Act: The Pride's success can not be directly attributed to one player. Four players have won FFC Weekly Awards, and senior CB Mike Capotosto won the Coca-Cola Gold Helmet Award (Oct. 14) ... the platoon of sophomore quarterbacks Michael Judge and Ryan Sylvia has been very effective. The duo has combined for 171.4 ypg of total offense and 12 touchdowns (eight rushing, four passing) ... three SC backs have eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark: Judge (142 yards vs. Kings Point), sophomore HB Will Davis (145 yards vs. Salve Regina) and sophomore HB Tim Lutgens (127 yards vs. Salve Regina).

On The Front Line: d3football.com honored the SC offensive line as its 'Offensive Line of the Week' (Sept. 11). The Pride's offensive front of C Nick Asermelly, RT Ben Bristol, RG Matt Fritze, LG Andrew MacFadyen and LT Carl Mintken paved the way for 553 rushing yards against Salve Regina (Sept. 6) ... SC's veteran offensive line features a trio of three-year starters: Bristol, MacFadyen and Mintken ... SC's offensive front also provides quarterbacks with tremendous protection. The Pride allowed a conference-low eight sacks in nine games in 2001, and has allowed just four sacks this season, which leads the FFC.

The Last Time Out: SC 18, Western Connecticut 15
Springfield College sophomore quarterback Michael Judge scored on a five-yard rush with 2:25 to play in the game to lift the Pride to an 18-15 win over No. 14 Western Connecticut State in a Freedom Football Conference game at Benedum Field.

With 10 seconds to play, Western Connecticut junior place kicker Andy Benicewicz missed a 32-yard field that would have sent the game into overtime.

Since 1998, the winner of this game has gone on to win the conference championship and earn the FFC’s automatic berth to the NCAA Division III Tournament.

Rainy conditions resulted in a total of nine fumbles (four lost by the Pride, two by the Colonials). Western Connecticut quarterback senior Mike Scipione threw three interceptions.

SC sophomore fullback Will Davis rushed for 71 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries. Davis’ touchdown just 1:59 in to the game gave the Pride a 7-0 lead. The Colonials scored on a safety when SC freshman punter Padric Noonan could not handle the snap in his own end zone.

Leaderboard: Senior CB Mike Capotosto leads the FFC in interceptions (0.8 ipg, also tied for 17th nationally) .... freshman KR Mitch Dupuis is the FFC's top kick returner (24.8) ... junior PK Greg Switaj leads the FFC in field goals (1.2 per game, also tied for 10th nationally) and point-after percentage (91.3), and is fourth in scoring (7.8 ppg) ... junior PR Mike Kimmel is second in punt return average (9.7 ypr) ... sophomore QB Michael Judge (73.2 ypg) is fourth in rushing, and sophomore HB Will Davis (60.0 ypg) and sophomore QB Ryan Sylvia (48.4 ypg) are sixth and seventh, respectively ... Judge is eighth in all-purpose yardage (73.2 ypg) and tenth in total offense (94.2 ypg) ... senior DE Dwayne Robinson is fifth in sacks (0.8 spg) and ninth in tackles- for-loss (1.5 per game).

Running Wild: The Pride, which is currently ranked third in rushing yardage (320.8 ypg) in Division III, led the FFC in rushing for the seventh consecutive season at 278.7 ypg in 2001, which was sixth nationally. SC is 6-1 in games when it rushes for more than 300 yards over the past two seasons ... SC captured its second consecutive NCAA Division III rushing title in 2000, and third in five seasons. Only three other teams have won it three-or-more times. SC averaged a Division III-record 427.5 ypg on the ground in 2000. In 1999, the Pride averaged 375.3 ypg and, in 1996, SC rushed for 351.2 ypg.

Pride of New England: SC football has earned its reputation as one of the region's elite programs. Springfield has the fifth winningest program currently playing Division III football in New England. SC had a 461-401-55 (.533) record in 109 seasons entering the 2002 campaign. Williams (564 wins, 121 seasons), Amherst (549 wins, 122 seasons), Trinity (470 wins, 117 seasons) and Wesleyan (465 wins, 119 seasons) are the top four ... with 106 overall wins in 20 seasons (including two at Maine Maritime), SC head coach Mike DeLong is second among active Division III New England coaches and is tied for 21st in Division III. DeLong has won more games (94) than any other coach in the 109 seasons of the SC program.
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Head Coach Mike DeLong Mike DeLong enters his 32nd season as a head football coach in the fall of 2013, including his 30th year as the head coach at his alma mater, Springfield College. To date, DeLong currently has the second-most career wins of any active Division III football coach. Read more.

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