CHENEY, Wash. – With a berth in the NCAA FCS championship game on the line, Coach Rob Ambrose and the fifth-ranked Towson University football team will visit No. 3 Eastern Washington in a semi-final match-up on Saturday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. (EST).
The game will be televised nationally on ESPNU as Mark Neely and Jay Walker call the action.
The Tigers, who have won a school record 12 games, come into the game with a four-game winning streak and own an 11-game winning streak on the road. The Eagles, who are also 12-2, have a 7-0 record at home and a 10-game winning streak.
For the third consecutive game, the Tigers will be facing high-powered offense led by an outstanding quarterback. In the second round of the NCAA FCS playoffs, the Tigers faced Fordham University and quarterback Michael Nebrich. The Rams came into the contest averaging 38.2 points per game but Towson prevailed, 48-28. Last week, the Tigers faced the top-ranked quarterback in FCS, Jimmy Garoppolo, and Eastern Illinois, the top scoring team in NCAA FCS with a 48.3 average. However, the Tigers came from behind to beat the Panthers, 49-39.
Eastern Washington is averaging 40.1 points per game and is ranked sixth nationally. The Eagles also rank fourth in NCAA FCS with 530.1 yards of total offense per game.
“It’s like the Pro Bowl times three,” says Ambrose of having to face a top-flight quarterback for the third straight week. “From Fordham, to Eastern Illinois to Eastern Washington, we’ll have faced the top three quarterbacks in the country by every stat you can imagine. The offense is great, the defense is good and each week the margin for error is smaller.”
In its two NCAA post-season games, the Tiger offense has been very efficient. While averaging 48.5 points per game, the Tigers are averaging 538.5 yards of total offense per contest. The Tigers are also averaging 8.5 yards per play.
All-American running back Terrance West is the focal point of the Tiger offense. West is coming off a record-setting effort against Eastern Illinois, a game in which he broke the NCAA FCS playoff record by running for 354 yards on 39 carries with five touchdowns. West leads all of college football with 2,295 rushing yards and earned first team All-America honors for the second time in his career.
The 2013 Colonial Athletic Association Offensive Player of the Year, West was named as the CAA Offensive Player of the Week four times. A three-time All-CAA first team selection, West has scored 39 touchdowns this season, tying the FCS record for touchdowns in a season. He leads all of college football in touchdowns scored.
For Eastern Washington, this is the Eagles’ third appearance in the FCS semi-finals in the last four years. The Eagles won the NCAA FCS championship in 2010.
The winner of the Towson-Eastern Washington game will advance to the NCAA FCS championship game on Jan. 4 in Plano, Texas.