FRAMINGHAM, MA - The Framingham State University defense forced a pair of turnovers and held Plymouth State to just three field goals on 112 yards of total offense as the Rams defeated the Panthers 41-9 in a Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) football match-up at Framingham's Bowditch Field.
The Rams improve to 6-1 on the season and remain unbeaten in MASCAC action at 5-0, while the Panthers fall to 1-6 overall and are still in search of their first conference victory at 0-5.
The Framingham State defense held the Panthers to 98 yards on the ground and just 14 yards passing with a pair of interceptions. Plymouth State scored a field goal on the opening possession of the second half when they went 52 yards on nine plays. On the Panthers final six offensive possessions of the game the Rams forced a three and out each time and on two of those drives held the Panthers to negative yards.
The Ram defense was led by senior linebacker Pat McGrath (Everett, Mass.) who recorded a game-high 15 tackles including 12 solo stops, while junior Kevin Donahue (Norfolk, Mass.) recorded six solo stops. Senior Sam Hill (Lynn, Mass.) and junior Lewis Bailey (Chelmsford, Mass.) each had interceptions for the Rams.
Plymouth State got on the board first on a 39 yard field goal from junior Rob Giles (Derry, NH) with 4:39 left in the first. The Panthers lead would stand until the opening minute of the second quarter when freshman Aaron Owens (Springfield, Mass.) capped an 11 play, 80 yard drive with a 25 yard touchdown run where he spun off the pile and raced into the end zone untouched. Sophomore Sean Wlasuk (Peabody, Mass.) converted the extra point and the Rams led 7-3.
Senior running back Melikke Van Alstyne (Salem, Mass.) would extend the Rams lead with an 18 yard touchdown run with 10:27 remaining in the second. Giles pulled the Panthers to within eight with his second field goal of the game. This one from 31 yards out with 6:13 left in the second.
The Rams would go three and out on their next possession, but junior Phil Clain (Swampscott, Mass.), who dropped a pair of punts inside the five yard line, would pin the Panthers inside their own one with a booming 63 yard punt that swung field position in favor of the Rams. Framingham’s defense held the Panthers to just four yards on three plays forcing a punt. Freshman Jalen Green (Brockton, Mass.) fielded the punt at the Panther 38 yard line and returned it down to the 18 setting up the Rams final touchdown of the half – a two yard run by freshman quarterback Mike Luks (Manchester, NH) that gave the Rams a 20-6 lead at the intermission.
Plymouth scored on the opening possession of the third quarter going 52 yards on nine plays with Giles knocking home his third field goal of the day, this one from 38 yards. That was as close as the Panthers would get as the Rams, who were held scoreless in the third, tacked on three fourth quarter touchdowns.
Van Alstyne found the end zone from one yard out with 14:14 left in the game for his second score of the day. Junior Nick Colson (Franklin, Mass.) completed a screen pass to Jared Gauthier (Dracut, Mass.) for a 12 yard touchdown and senior Tyler Iarussi (Medway, Mass.) finished the scoring with a 17 yard TD run with just under two minutes remaining in the game.
Van Alstyne finished the game with 108 yards on the ground and two scores, while Colson completed 5-of-7 for 100 yards with a score. Owens finished with 68 yards on seven carries (9.7 per rush). Sophomore Travis Hayes (Framingham, Mass.) led the receiving core with two catches for 65 yards, while Gauthier finished with four for 35 and a score.
Plymouth received the bulk of their offense from senior Andrew Foglia (Montauk, NY) who racked up 77 yards on 24 carries. Quarterback Ryan Perron (Concord, NH) completed just 6-of-16 with two picks and was sacked once. The Panther defense was led by senior Josh Morgan (Foster, RI) with a team-high nine tackles including seven solo stops and one for a loss of five yards. Classmates Jake Matthews (Windham, NH) and Cory Gaff (Everett, Mass.) chipped in six tackles apiece.
Framingham State is back home next Saturday for the annual battle for the Kelley Cup as the Rams host Massachusetts Maritime Academy at 1 p.m.
Thanks to Kathy Lynch, Assistant Director of Athletics/Sports Information at Framingham State University for contributing this story. For more FSU RAMS sports info, box scores, calendar of upcoming games and sporting events, visit their website at: www.fsurams.com