TIGERS HOST FORDHAM IN NCAA FCS PLAYOFF GAME
Seventh-Seeded Tigers Seeking 11th Win of the Season
TOWSON, Md. – Looking to advance to the quarter-finals of the NCAA FCS Championship, Coach Rob Ambrose and the Towson University football team will host Fordham University in a second-round FCS playoff game on Saturday, December 7 at Johnny Unitas® Stadium at 1:00 p.m.
The Tigers were one of eight seeded teams that received first-round byes. Fordham improved its record to 12-1 with a 37-27 victory over Sacred Heart in a first round game last week.
Saturday’s game will be broadcast on ESPN3 with Ryan Rose and former Delaware Coach K.C. Keeler calling the action.
While the two coaches in the game, Ambrose and Joe Moorhead, have many things in common, Towson and Fordham play two drastically different styles of football. While the Tigers rank among the national leaders by averaging 235.2 rushing yards per game, Fordham passes for 358.3 yards per game.
In 12 games, Towson has scored 61 touchdowns, 40 of which have come on running plays. Fordham has 63 touchdowns, 34 touchdowns on pass plays.
Both coaches are the head coaches at their alma mater. Ambrose graduated from Towson in 1993, and Moorhead is a member of Fordham’s Class of 1996. When Ambrose left the University of Connecticut to become the head coach at Towson, Moorhead succeeded him as the Huskies’ offensive coordinator.
Both Ambrose and Moorhead have orchestrated amazing turnarounds at their schools. In Ambrose’s first two seasons at Towson, the Tigers had a 3-19 record. In the last three years, Towson has a 26-9 mark. In 2011, Fordham was 1-10. In his second season as the Rams’ head coach, Moorhead has led Fordham to a 12-1 record.
In addition, both coaches recorded wins over NCAA FBS programs this season. In August, Ambrose coached the Tigers to a 33-18 victory over Connecticut. A few weeks later, Moorhead guided the Rams to a 30-29 win over Temple.
The Tigers, who are making their second NCAA FCS playoff appearance in the last three years, have won 14 of their last 16 games dating back to the 2012 season.
Last season, Towson posted a final record of 7-4 and finished the regular season with a four-game winning streak that included road wins against three nationally ranked teams. However, the Tigers did not receive a post-season bid to the NCAA FCS playoffs. That led to the motto for this year’s team, “Leave No Doubt.”
“Everybody had a bad taste in their mouths after last season,” recalls Coach Ambrose. “We were disappointed that we didn’t take care of business when we had the opportunity to do so. We won our last four games and beat some very good teams, but we left our fate in the hands of a committee. We didn’t want that to happen again.”
With their regular season mark of 10-2 and a top five national ranking in the final two polls, the Tigers left no doubt and earned a number seven seed.
The Tiger offense has been led by junior running back Terrance West (Northwestern H.S./Baltimore, Md.) and senior quarterback Peter Athens (Huntingtown H.S./Huntingtown, Md.). Towson ranks among the NCAA FCS leaders, averaging 459.9 yards of total offense per game and 37.2 points per conest.
One of three finalists for the Walter Payton Award, West leads NCAA FCS with 155.4 rushing yards per game. He has rushed for 1,865 yards on 301 attempts, an average of 6.2 yards per carry. He needs 135 rushing yards to become the 12th player in FCS history to run for 2,000 yards in a season. The Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Offensive Player of the Year, West has rushed for more than 100 yards in 10 of 12 games.
With a total of 31 touchdowns, West leads all of college football in touchdowns scored. In his career, he has scored 75 touchdowns in 33 games.
Athens is averaging 232.2 yards of total offense per game. He has completed 199 of 316 passes for 2,634 yards and 14 touchdowns. He has only been sacked nine times.
Senior linebacker Telvion Clark (Granby H.S./Norfolk, Va.) leads the Tiger defense. A first team All-CAA selection, he was named as the CAA Defensive Player of the Week twice. Honored as the FCS National Defensive Player of the Week by “The Sports Network” after the Tigers’ win at Richmond, Clark has made 107 tackles in 12 games. In addition, he leads the CAA with five forced fumbles and has recovered three fumbles, tied for first in the CAA.
The defense will be facing one of the top passing offenses in the nation when the Tigers host Fordham. The Rams average 38.3 points per game, 12th in the nation.
The Tigers will counter with a secondary that includes three All-CAA performers, senior cornerback Jordan Love(Deep Run H.S./Washington, D.C.), junior cornerback Tye Smith (Wakefield H.S./Raleigh, N.C.) and sophomore safety Christian Carpenter (Aberdeen H.S./Aberdeen, Md.).
A first team All-CAA selection, Love has made 43 tackles with nine pass breakups. Smith is third on the team with 85 tackles and has broken up 10 passes. He has also intercepted two passes and forced two fumbles. Carpenter was also a first team All-CAA honoree after making 65 tackles. He has also intercepted three passes and made two fumble recoveries.
The winner of the Towson-Fordham game will face the winner of the Eastern Illinois-Tennessee State game onDec. 13 or Dec. 14.