Remember the guy who scribbled what (at least looking back on it) was nearly a love letter to San Diego Chargers WR Malcom Floyd last summer?
Remember the guy who pounded on the desk for days during his first full week as host of “The Reality Check” on AM1570 WNST.net about how much he wanted to see the Baltimore Ravens add Floyd to their receiving corps for 2011?
Remember the guy who received ridicule for not being excited (and frankly showing a level of discontent) after the Ravens failed to acquire Floyd and instead dealt for Buffalo Bills WR Lee Evans?
The name’s Glenn Clark. It’s good to talk to you again. In case you were wondering, I haven’t stopped bitching about the need for the Ravens to add size to their receiving corps.
After a relatively quiet start to the 2012 NFL Offseason, the Ravens will absolutely add players this week. The Ravens have eight picks in this weekend’s NFL Draft, and will have the opportunity to address both depth and need over the course of the weekend. Fans and analysts have debated the order of the team’s needs, largely agreeing that Offensive Line, Interior Linebacker, Pass Rusher, Running Back, Safety, Wide Receiver and Kick/Punt Returner tend to make up the list.
I don’t particularly care what order the Ravens use to rank their own needs. As we all know, General Manager Ozzie Newsome and company won’t suddenly move away from the “best player available” philosophy that has worked so well for them in recent years.
I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that at some point during the course of the weekend the team will draft at least one receiver.
My rallying cry will remain the same. When they do, they need to find a receiver who can get up and get the football.
In 2011, six of the top seven total offenses in the National Football League included a significant contributor (either at WR or TE) who stood at least 6’5″ or taller. The other team (the Philadelphia Eagles) had a 6’4″ TE target in Brent Celek.
The Baltimore Ravens have two tight ends (Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson) who are both listed at 6’4″ but who have been unable to establish themselves as legitimate red zone threats at the pro level. This has at least something to do with why the Ravens managed to score TD’s on just 50% of their trips to the red zone in 2011, a mark good enough for only 18th in the NFL.
(The lack of a singular red zone receiving target isn’t necessarily the ONLY reason why the Ravens have struggled to score TD’s in the red zone, but it’s hard to fathom mutual exclusivity here.)
Towson will host Drexel in a crucial CAA clash Saturday night at Johnny Unitas® Stadium. Both squads are fighting for playoff positioning with the CAA Tournament less than two weeks away. Saturday will also be the final home game for 14 Tigers. The group will be honored during a ceremony prior to the start of the game. Saturday’s game sponsor is Union Memorial Orthopedics and Sports Medicine. Opening face-off is set for 7:30 p.m. and fans can listen to the game live on WNST-AM 1570 with Spiro Morekas and Hunter Lochte on the call.
Updating the Tigers
After winning five straight games, Towson has now dropped back-to-back contests to fall to 7-5 overall and 2-2 in CAA play. The Tigers are currently tied with Hofstra for the fourth and final spot in the CAA playoffs. The Tigers own the tiebreaker over the Pride due to their 10-9 come-from-behind victory in Hempstead on March 31. During Towson’s five-game winning streak, the Tigers averaged 12.4 goals per game. During its two recent losses, Towson only managed to score six total goals. Senior Matt Lamon proved to be the lone bright spot on the Tiger offense against Penn State last Saturday, netting two goals. Lamon is tied for third on the squad with 14 goals this season. Junior goalkeeper Andrew Wascavage was also solid in the cage for TU last week, tying his career-high with 17 saves against the Nittany Lions.
Scouting the Dragons
The Dragons come into tonight’s game with a 5-7 overall record and a 3-2 mark in CAA play. All seven of Drexel’s losses have come to teams currently ranked in the Top 20 nationally. In six of those seven losses, the game has been decided by two goals or less. The Dragons are coming off back-to-back narrow defeats, a 10-9 loss against No. 16 Penn State on April 7 and an 8-6 loss verse No. 1/2 UMass on April 14. Robert Church leads the Dragons with 32 points on 19 goals and 13 assists. Kyle Bergman has scored 12 goals, dished out 11 assists and scooped 26 groundballs. In the cage for the Dragons is Mark Manos. The senior boasts a 8.09 goals-against-average and has made 106 saves in 12 games.
Towson-Drexel Series History
The Tigers and Dragons will be meeting for the 42nd time tonight with Towson owning a 37-5 all-time record against Drexel. The Tigers have won three of the last four meetings, but fell 13-9 in Philadelphia last year. Towson is 16-1 all-time in home games against the Dragons.
Kenyon Moving Up The Tiger Record Books
Tiger senior John Kenyon caused a career-high four turnovers last week against No. 16 Penn State and the defenseman now sits in sixth all-time at Towson with 36 career caused turnovers. Kenyon trails Matthew Mehrer (‘07) by just eight caused turnovers for fifth all-time in Tiger history. The senior, getting set to play his final game in Unitas Stadium tonight, leads this years squad with 14 caused turnovers. He caused 12 as a junior, two as a sophomore and eight as a freshman.
One Point Streak Ends, Another Grows Longer
Senior attackman Sean Maguire saw his impressive point streak of 14 games snapped Saturday against Penn State. However, junior Matt Hughes now has a point in every game this season and his streak is at 13 games dating back to last year. Hughes tallied an assist against Penn State Saturday to extend his streak.
Wascavage Playing His Best
Junior goalkeeper Andrew Wascavage has been stellar in the cage lately. In his last three games, Wascavage has totaled 49 saves, including a career-high tying 17 saves twice.
Prior to tonight’s game, 14 Tigers will be honored as they are playing their last home game. The ceremony honoring - Matt Hanzsche, Michael Brashears, Ian Mills, Sean Maguire, Travis Love, Matt Lamon, Dan Kramer, Carl Iacona, Shane Casey, Doug Kohlenstein, Matt Thomas, Alec Jernstedt, John Kenyon and Sean Sheehe - will get underway at 7:09 p.m.
Opening Face-Off Riding a five-game winning streak, the 19th-ranked Towson men’s lacrosse team travels to second-ranked and undefeated UMass on Saturday. The Tigers (7-3, 2-0 CAA) will be seeking their third consecutive road win, while the Minutemen (9-0, 2-0 CAA) will look to remain unblemished at home in six games. The battle of CAA heavyweights is set for 1 p.m. and all the action can be heard live on WNST-AM 1570 with Spiro Morekas and Hunter Lochte calling the action.
Updating the Tigers
The Tigers have won back-to-back games with thrilling fourth quarter comebacks. Just four days after erasing a 9-3 fourth quarter deficit and winning in double overtime at Hofstra, Towson scored the final four goals of the game to upend UMBC, 12-11, Wednesday night at Johnny Unitas ® Stadium. Junior goalkeeper Andrew Wascavage was a rock in the cage for the Tigers on Wednesday, registering a career-high 17 saves. Wascavage has made 86 saves this season while boasting a 9.15 goals-against-average and a .544 save percentage. Five Tigers have scored at least 10 goals this season, led by Sean Maguire’s 17. Sophomore Thomas DeNapoli, who has 10 points in his last two games, leads the Tigers with 25 points on 15 goals and a team-high 10 assists this season. Junior Matt Hughes (13), senior Matt Lamon (12) and senior Carl Iacona (10) have also scored double-digit goals this year.
Scouting the Minutemen
UMass is ranked No. 2 in both the Nike/InsideLacrosse Media Poll and the USILA Coaches Poll. The Minutemen are also receiving first place votes in each poll – 5 of 20 in the media poll and 2 of 10 in the coaches poll. At 9-0, the Minutemen are joined by just Loyola as the only remaining unbeaten teams in the country. UMass ranks fifth nationally in scoring offense (12.8 goals per game) and third nationally in defense (6.6 goals allowed per game). CAA and NEILA Player of the Week Will Manny is the nation’s fifth-leading scorer with 3.22 goals per game. He also ranks second nationally with 5.3 points per game and 8th nationally with 2.1 assists per game. Goalie Tim McCormack ranks second nationally in save percentage (.633) and third in goals-against average (6.35).
Towson-UMass Series History
Saturday’s game will be just the fifth all-time meeting between Towson and UMass. The two programs met in 1963, but then did not play again until 2010. The squads will be playing for the fourth time since 2010 when they battle on Saturday. The all-time series is tied 2-2 and this will be just the second matchup in Amherst. Towson won the only meeting at Garber Field, 10-9, on April 10, 2010. The Minutemen were victorious last season, 9-8, in overtime at Johnny Unitas ® Stadium.
Opening Face-Off Seeking its fifth straight win Wednesday, Towson welcomes crosstown rival UMBC to Johnny Unitas® Stadium. The Tigers are coming off the largest fourth quarter comeback in the 53-year history of the program on Saturday at Hofstra. Towson trailed by six goals with 11:27 left in the game, but it mounted a furious rally and won the game, 10-9, in double overtime on a Justin Mabus strike. Wednesday’s game against the Retrievers will be the final non-conference contest for the Tigers this season. The game is also sponsored by the University Store and they will be providing 200 rally towels to the first 200 fans in attendance. Opening face-off is set for 7:30 p.m. and fans can catch the game live on WNST-AM 1570 with Spiro Morekas and Hunter Lochte calling the action.
Updating the Tigers
Towson (6-3, 2-0), which is ranked No. 19 in the latest Nike/Inside Lacrosse Media Poll, has won four straight games, including each of its first two CAA contests. The Tigers are off to their best start since opening the 2007 season at 7-3 before advancing to the NCAA Tournament that year. Sophomore Thomas DeNapoli is coming off a career night at Hofstra. The midfielder had a career-high six points (3g, 3a) to lead Towson to a dramatic come-from-behind win. Of the sophomore’s three goals, two came in the fourth quarter, including the game-tying tally with two seconds remaining in regulation. DeNapoli’s three goals tied his career-high and his three assists set a new career best.
Scouting the Retrievers
UMBC (3-4, 1-0 America East) was listed as receiving votes in the latest Nike/Inside Lacrosse Media Poll after topping Hartford, 16-12, on Saturday. The 16 goals scored was a season high for the Retrievers. Junior attackman Scott Jones, who scored four goals against Hartford, leads UMBC with 21 points. Jones has scored in 13 consecutive games and has multiple points in 12 of those contests. Junior attackman Joe Lustgarten posted a career-high five goals and eight total points in the win over Hartford on Saturday. Lustgarten, the current America East Player of the Week, leads his team with 11 assists and is second with 18 points. Junior goalkeeper Adam Cohen is sixth in the nation with 12.29 saves per game.
Towson-UMBC Series History
The Tigers and Retrievers will be meeting for the 43rd time tonight. Towson has only played Loyola (54) and Delaware (53) more often in its history. The Tigers own a 27-15 advantage in the all-time series, including a 10-7 win the last time these squads met at Unitas Stadium on April 7, 2010.
Joining the Rankings
The Towson men’s lacrosse team broke into the national rankings this week. The Tigers find themselves ranked No. 19 in this week’s Nike/Inside Lacrosse Media Poll. It’s the first time Towson has been ranked since checking in at No. 20 in the May 3, 2010 poll. The Tigers narrowly missed being ranked in the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) poll as they are the top squad in the receiving vote’s category. The Colonial Athletic Association boasts three schools in the Top 20 as Towson joins No. 2 Massachusetts and No. 16 Penn State in the rankings.
Freshman midfielder Justin Mabus was selected as the CAA Men’s Lacrosse Rookie of the Week for the second time in as many weeks, it was announced by league officials on Monday. Mabus, who is tied for the team lead with nine assists this season, did his damage this past week at No. 20 Hofstra by netting the biggest goal of his young career. The freshman capped off the largest fourth quarter comeback in the 53-year history of the program by scoring the game-winning goal with just 38 seconds remaining in double overtime.
We’re going to see “American Reunion” Thursday night/Friday morning at midnight in White Marsh. If you’re not going to see “American Reunion” Thursday night/Friday morning at midnight you’re a terrible human being and I don’t want to be your friend. So just make it simple and come with us. We’ll probably hit Tilted Kilt before then.
But honestly, if you don’t go see this movie you’re just the worst person of all time…
The Tigers (5-3, 1-0 CAA) will be seeking their fourth straight victory when they travel to Hempstead, N.Y. to take on No. 20 Hofstra (4-4, 1-1 CAA) Saturday evening. The contest will be the first CAA road game for Towson, which is 2-2 away from Johnny Unitas® Stadium this year. Opening face-off is set for 7:00 p.m. and fans can catch the game live on WNST-AM 1570 with Spiro Morekas and Hunter Lochte calling the action.
Updating the Tigers
With a 5-3 overall record, Towson boasts its best mark after eight games since the 2007 season in which the Tigers started 5-3 as well. Towson ended that year with a 9-7 overall record and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. The Tigers have seen a number of significant contributions during their winning streak, including a four-goal effort from senior Matt Lamon against Mercer and a three-assist day for freshman Justin Mabus against Delaware. Six different Towson players have double-digit points for the season, led by Sean Maguire’s 20 points on a team-high 15 goals and five assists. With Mabus’ three assists against the Blue Hens, the rookie now leads the team in that category with nine. The well balanced Tiger offense is coming off a game in which five different players registered two goals.
Scouting the Pride
After starting the season 1-2, Hofstra has won three of its last five games and is ranked No. 20 in the latest United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) national poll. The Pride have played three nationally-ranked foes, topping then-No. 20 Delaware (13-5) and falling to current No. 15 Fairfield and No. 6 Notre Dame. The loss to the Fighting Irish occurred in overtime while the setback against the Stags was a triple overtime heartbreaker. Junior Adrian Sorichetti paces Hofstra with 27 points on 18 goals and nine assists while goalkeeper Andrew Gvozden ranks second in the CAA averaging 11.12 saves per game.
Towson-Hofstra Series History
The Tigers and Pride will be meeting for the 43rd time on the lacrosse field Saturday. Towson has only played Loyola (54) and Delaware (53) more often in its history. The Pride own a narrow 24-18 advantage in the all-time series history, including four straight wins. The last time the Tigers won in Hempstead was April 17, 2004.
Tigers Receiving Votes In National Polls
Riding a three-game winning streak, the Towson men’s lacrosse team received votes in the latest United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) national poll. After the 20 ranked teams, the Tigers are in a group along with Bryant, Drexel, Yale, Navy, Harvard, Robert Morris and UMBC that are receiving votes and on the brink of breaking into the national Top 20.
CAA Honors Mabus
After dishing out three assists and scoring his first goal of the season last week, Towson freshman Justin Mabus earned CAA Rookie of the Week honors, the league announced Monday. Mabus currently leads the Tigers with nine assists in just six games.
In The National Rankings
Towson ranks Top 10 in the nation in a pair of categories. The Tigers are second in the country in shot percentage by scoring on 37.4 percent of their shots. Only Bucknell (41.0 percent) ranks higher. Additionally, the Tigers are eighth in the nation in man-up offense. In 22 man-up opportunities this season, Towson has tallied 11 goals.
Starting next week, “The Starting Nine (Ten)” will go from becoming about fantasy baseball topics to being about fantasy baseball. How about that?
Our final fantasy topic Wednesday on “The Reality Check” was “Players We’d Take As Our Tag Team Partners.” We did that because-as you know-WrestleMania 28 is this Sunday. Wait. You didn’t know that? I don’t think we’re really going to be friends.
These are “modern era” guys. But you knew that since you were listening to the show.
You’re going to have to indulge me on this one. I have no one to yell at and no incredible statement to make about a current sporting event.
Instead, if this column was called “Your Saturday Reality Check”, I would have gotten this perfectly to the date.
Ten years ago-Sunday, March 24, 2002-the University of Maryland met the University of Connecticut in the East Region Final (or the Elite 8 if you well) of the NCAA Tournament. The game was at the Carrier Dome at Syracuse University.
For full disclosure, I wasn’t there. It was my freshman year at the University of Maryland, but I didn’t make the trip. I didn’t make the trip to the Georgia Dome for the Final Four either, which is one of the greatest regrets of my still very young life. I actually think our own Luke Jones was at the game, but I’m just rambling now.
You certainly remember the shots that defined the game. The Terrapins trailed the Huskies 77-74 with just under four minutes to play as Caron Butler simply wouldn’t let UConn go away quietly. Juan Dixon calmly sank a three pointer from near the top of the key to even the game back up. Then in the final minute, a previously scoreless Steve Blake altered a play call in the huddle and used a ball fake to create an open three for himself to put the Terps up 86-80, effectively the final nail in the coffin of a 90-82 victory.
What I remember was how the game felt like the most intense college basketball game I had ever witnessed. While Gary Williams likely ruined an expensive suit due to sweat that afternoon, Glenn Clark also ruined a number of t-shirts and a pair of pajama pants. This was a game where neither team ever appeared to have the upper hand. Lonny Baxter was absolutely dominant in the paint against future NBA standout Emeka Okafor, but Butler’s 32 points kept the Huskies at Maryland’s heels all afternoon.
We’re planning to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the University of Maryland’s only basketball championship throughout the week on “The Reality Check” on AM1570 WNST.net. I’ve admitted regularly that I openly wept at Cole Field House that early April night (the anniversary of the championship is this Sunday for those scoring at home) in College Park. I had two goals for my life from about the time I was eight years old. One was to become a professional broadcaster, the other was to attend the University of Maryland.
Being a “Terp” was in my blood. My grandmother (a journalism teacher in Baltimore County and later professor at Morgan State University) is a University of Maryland alum. While I was too young for the Bob Wade era of Maryland basketball to mean much to me, the early years of the Gary Williams era (which were not always pretty) shaped who I wanted to be when I stepped on a basketball court at Chapel Hill Elementary School or Perry Hall Middle School. I pretended to be Evers Burns. I pretended to be Kevin McLinton. I ABSOLUTELY pretended to be Walt “The Wizard” Williams, Joe Smith, Keith Booth and Sarunas Jasikevicius.
I really had no idea I’d ever witness my heroes playing in a Final Four or for a national championship. I had felt the 1999 team (lead by Steve Francis) had a legitimate chance, but Erick Barkley and St. John’s extinguished those hopes in the Sweet 16. Just weeks before Maryland’s initial Final Four run in 2001 there were calls for the head of Gary Williams after an embarrassing streak of five losses in six games (including a “rock bottom” defeat at the hands of Florida State on Valentine’s Day).
But there was something about the 2001-2002 Terps that made you believe the entire time that team was capable of finally breaking through. The heartbreak of blowing a big loss to Duke in the Final Four the year earlier seemed to fuel them to an ACC regular season championship and back to that afternoon at the Carrier Dome. The confidence of an incredible group of upperclassmen was never lacking at any point during the season.
Maryland’s run to the National Championship was unprecedented. After an opening round win over Siena, the Terps faced a modern day “Murderer’s Row” of basketball programs as they ran through Wisconsin, Kentucky, UConn and then Kansas and Indiana. Maryland faced the highest seed they could possibly face in every round as a 1 seed (16, 8, 4, 2, 1, 1) as well. Yet somehow they never really seemed to be in danger of losing.
In the Final Four a huge second half lead was cut into by the Jayhawks, but it never appeared particularly nerve-racking. The Hoosiers briefly held a second half lead in the National Championship game, but a quick baseline jumper from Dixon turned the game back toward the favor of Maryland.
The only game that involved great drama was the UConn game. It was the type of drama that sees eight ties and seven lead changes in the final 13 minutes. It was the type of drama that almost could never be fairly described in words. (ESPN’s Dick Vitale described it as a “Maalox Masher” immediately after the game. He’s certainly a wordsmith if nothing else.)
It was the type of drama that made you think “whoever wins this game is winning a national championship” in the second half. At least it made me feel that way…and I was right.
To this day, this is still my absolute favorite game I’ve ever watched. More so than the Tennessee Titans/Baltimore Ravens AFC Divisional Playoff in 2001, more so than the Mike Mussina/Randy Johnson showdown at Camden Yards in Game 4 of the 1997 ALDS, even more so than the Andre Agassi/James Blake thriller at the 2005 U.S. Open. If your heart can take it, it’s worth reliving below.
I’m not sure mine can, but I’m still grateful for these memories some ten years later.