TOWSON, Md. – More than two weeks after opening their season at Kent State University, Coach Rob Ambrose and the No. 12-ranked Tiger football team returns to Minnegan Field at Johnny Unitas® Stadium when the Tigers host Colonial Athletic Association rival William & Mary (0-2, 0-0) on Saturday, September 15 at 12 noon.
The Towson-William & Mary game will be nationally-televised on the NBC Sports Network. Todd Harris is the play-by-play announcer while Ross Tucker will handle the color commentary. Carolyn Manno is the sideline reporter.
The game will also be aired on the Tigers’ web site, www.TowsonTigers.com with Spiro Morekas and Ron Meehan calling the action. The Tigers’ internet broadcast also features a one-hour pre-game show.
When the Tigers host William & Mary on Saturday, they will be seeking their eighth consecutive win in a home opener. Towson has not lost its home opener since 2004 when Northeastern beat Towson. The Tigers have an all-time record of 33-10 in home openers.
Saturday’s game will be “Hometown Heroes Day” with members from the Maryland National Guard, Wounded Warrior Project, Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs, Towson University Veterans Services, Fort Meade, and Baltimore County Police and Fire Departments participating in a special pre-game ceremony honoring America.
Prior to the National Anthem, members from the participating organizations will walk out onto the field holding a piece of American History – the National 9/11 Flag. Found in the aftermath of World Trade Center attacks on September 11, the National 9/11 Flag has been experienced by over 300 million Americans. The flag has been on a journey across America, stopping in each of the fifty states to be stitched back together by local heroes.
The National 9/11 Flag is steeped in history stemming out of the tragic 9/11 attacks. It has been stitched by survivors of the 2009 shooting at Ft. Hood in Texas, by World War II veterans on the deck of the USS Missouri in Pearl Harbor, and by the family of Martin Luther King, Jr. It has also been stitched by Members of Congress and by thousands of everyday service heroes nationwide. Recently, a piece of the flag that Abraham Lincoln was laid to rest on was stitched into the fabric of this truly meaningful flag.
At the conclusion of the pre-game ceremony, the National 9/11 Flag will be on display on the South Concourse located inside Unitas Stadium.
Saturday’s game will also be Banner Day as the Tigers’ 2011 Colonial Athletic Association championship panel on the scoreboard will be unveiled.
The Tigers, who posted a 9-3 record last season and won the CAA with a 7-1 mark, had their bye week after their season-opening loss at Kent State. Coach Ambrose said the bye week was very beneficial to the team.
“The bye week was actually good for us,” says the Tigers’ fourth-year coach. “We spent the time working on focus, fundamentals and ball security. We also got a few players healthy. These are guys who weren’t able to play at Kent State.”
Last season, the Tigers beat William & Mary in Williamsburg, handing the Tribe its first-ever loss to Towson. Prior to the Towson victory, William & Mary had beaten Towson seven times in a row.
When the No. 15 Tigers handed No. 14 William & Mary a 38-27 last year, they improved to 6-1 overall and reached the halfway mark of their CAA schedule with a 4-0 record.
The Tribe comes into Unitas Stadium with an 0-2 record. William & Mary has dropped a pair of close games, dropping a 7-6 decision at Maryland and falling to Lafayette, 17-14.
“William & Mary’s defense is very good,” says Coach Ambrose. “At Maryland, their defense played out of its mind. They were truly impressive. Their loss to Lafayette doesn’t reveal too much because of the weather issues. We expect William & Mary to come into Unitas Stadium fully revved up to make everyone forget we actually beat them once.”
Turnovers and special teams mistakes were very costly at Kent State. The Tigers turned the ball over six times as Kent State converted those turnovers into 27 points. On special teams, the Tigers gave up 155 yards on kickoff returns and fumbled twice.
Senior quarterback Grant Enders (right) led the Tiger offense at Kent State. He completed a career high 26 passes in 36 attempts. Enders threw for 251 yards and a touchdown.
After falling behind by 17-0 in the opening ten minutes at Kent State, the Tigers didn’t run the ball as much as they planned. Although sophomore Terrance West was held to 36 yards on 14 carries, he did score two touchdowns. In 2011, West led NCAA FCS with 29 touchdowns scored. West has scored at least two touchdowns in his last nine games and now has 31 career touchdowns.
On defense, senior defensive end Romale Tucker and sophomore linebacker Kenton Powell led the Tigers in tackles at Kent State. Tucker and Powell are tied for the team lead with six tackles each.
The Tigers’ game against William & Mary is the first of two consecutive home games. Next week, Towson hosts its Homecoming Game against St. Francis (Pa.) at 7 p.m.
TIGER TALES: Saturday’s game is the second of six Tiger games that are scheduled to be televised … It is also the Tigers’ first appearance on the NBC Sports Network … Towson’s games at Villanova and Delaware later this season will also be televised by NBC Sports Network.
Although the Tigers dropped a 41-21 contest to Kent State, they actually outgained the Golden Flashes … Towson had 331 yards of total offense while Kent State had 267 yards … Towson also had 20 first downs while Kent State had 15.
With 273 yards of total offense at Kent State, Enders ranks second in the CAA in that category … He is also second in the CAA with 251 passing yards.