Sept. 24, 2009
NORTH DARTMOUTH, MA-For the third time in four weeks, the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's football team will play at home when they meet Plymouth State in the first New England Football Conference Boyd Division game of the season Saturday afternoon. Kickoff is set for 12 noon at Cressy Field for the annual Homecoming game.
The Corsairs will be looking for their first victory of the season after falling at Fitchburg State last week, 23-7. PSU has won its last two games, and stands at 2-1 after a 28-17 win against Coast Guard last Saturday.
With this being Homecoming weekend, a large crowd is expected, and UMass Dartmouth Head Coach Mark Robichaud would like nothing better than to start off the Boyd Division portion of the schedule with a victory.
"Our first three games are almost like the pre-season, and the next seven determine the post-season," said Robichaud. "The Boyd Division games are very important. Hopefully, we'll have a big crowd, and we've got to be ready to play a very good football team."
The Panthers are the defending division champions, and their only loss this year was a five-overtime game at Division II Saint Anselm. "Plymouth State went to the playoffs last year, and I think they're a better team this year," said Robichaud. "J.J. Brooks, who was probably their best receiver last year, is their quarterback this year. He has a good arm, he throws well and runs well, and he runs the option extremely well. Their offensive line gets off the ball very well, and they have three good running backs. Steve Campbell hurt us on both sides of the ball last year, their running backs are all tough, and their offensive line is big and quick. Defensively, they are strong and very aggressive."
The Corsairs have been hurt by injuries, but they hope to be healthier by Saturday. "We hope that getting some people back will help us," said Robichaud. "(Senior quarterback) Chris Pinheiro (Norton, MA/Norton HS) made some nice throws last week, and is starting to get more comfortable throwing the ball. Hopefully, that will be something that we can take advantage of this week."
In each of their first three games, UMass Dartmouth has moved the ball, but has been unable to take advantage of their opportunities. Robichaud said that must change this week if the Corsairs are to be successful.
"We have to score points," said Robichaud. "We're averaging something line 6.7 points per game, and we need to score more than that. Our defense needs to become consistent, and they are starting to come around. We need to be more effective in the red zone and score more points in order to win."
UMass Dartmouth will hit the road next weekend to play MIT and will return home to play Western New England College on Saturday, September 10th.
UMASS DARTMOUTH FOOTBALL