By Adam Levine
Framingham State Rams lost to the undefeated Plymouth State Panthers 14-9 on Oct. 1 - their second conference loss of the season.
Framingham’s offense totaled 225 rushing yards and 119 passing yards, with their defense holding Plymouth’s offense to only 71 rushing yards and 87 passing yards.
Rams’ junior running back Devaun Ford rushed for an incredible 135 yards and had 31 receiving yards. Ford recognized that the team was “moving the ball pretty good,” but that the team “didn’t finish at the end.”
The Panthers began the game with an offensive drive. Framingham’s defense forced them to punt early in the game.
In the Rams’ first possession of the game, junior quarterback Noah Leonard led the offense down the field to the Panthers 21-yard line. On a 4th & 2 play, Ford came up short on his rush and the Rams gave up the ball on downs.
Defensive performances from both teams closed out the first quarter and the game remained scoreless.
The Rams started a drive with 3:05 left in the first quarter, but the Panthers’ defense stopped Framingham on the Plymouth 35-yard line, forcing the Rams to punt the ball early in the second quarter.
Another Rams’ defensive stop gave Framingham a chance to score. On 4th down, Rams’ senior kicker Henrique De Boni lined up for a 36-yard field goal attempt. The Panthers’ special teams unit was able to block the kick and get the ball back on their own 33-yard line.
Plymouth capitalized on their special teams play and scored a touchdown after getting possession of the ball. A long 42-yard pass from the Rams’ 44-yard line gave the Panthers a chance to score from the Rams’ 2-yard line.
The Panthers used this momentum, and with 2:36 left remaining in the second quarter, they scored a rushing touchdown. The touchdown and successful extra-point attempt put the Panthers up 7-0.
Neither team scored in the remainder of the second quarter, and Plymouth kept their 7-0 lead at halftime.
Framingham received the ball to begin the third quarter of the game. Their drive down the field ended with a failed fourth-down attempt on the Panthers’ 24-yard line.
After gaining possession of the ball on downs, Plymouth’s offense was stopped again by Framingham’s defense.
Framingham gained possession with 8:41 remaining in the third quarter, and they marched down the field. Rams’ freshman running back Omarion Otto trucked through Plymouth’s defensive line from the 2-yard line and scored the Rams’ first touchdown of the game. A successful extra-point attempt from Rams’ sophomore kicker Matthew Farley tied the game 7-7.
Plymouth’s offense overpowered the Rams in the next drive. Plymouth ran seven plays and traveled 68 yards across the field in just 3 minutes and 16 seconds. Another Panthers’ touchdown and successful extra-point attempt gave the Panthers the lead, 14-7.
Late in the game, Framingham got possession of the ball with 7:03 left in the fourth quarter.
Framingham graduate student Terry Smith stepped in as quarterback for the Rams’ possession. Smith took his offense down the field to the Panthers’ 6-yard line. Plymouth’s defense proved too much for the Rams, ending Framingham’s final drive.
The Rams’ turned over the ball on downs and the Panthers gained possession with 1:03 left in the game. As time expired on the clock, Framingham’s defense was able to score a safety, bringing the final score to 14-9.
The Rams fell to a 1-2 record in the MASCAC and an overall 2-3 record for the season. Fitchburg State will be traveling to Bowditch Field for another MASCAC matchup on Oct. 8.