Tag Archive | "Peter Athens"

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Towson welcomes Delaware State for home opener Saturday

Posted on 13 September 2013 by WNST Staff

UNBEATEN TIGERS HOST DELAWARE STATEON SATURDAY

No. 4 Tigers Seeking Seventh Consecutive Victory

TOWSON, Md. – After opening their season with back-to-back wins, Coach Rob Ambrose and the fourth-ranked Towson University football team will make their home debut on Saturday evening, Sept. 14 against Delaware State University at 7:30 p.m. at Johnny Unitas® Stadium.

The Tigers, who are 2-0 on the season, will be facing a Delaware State team that opened its season with a loss at Delaware.

“It will be great to play a home game,” said Coach Ambrose. “Unitas Stadium is a great place to play and our players enjoy performing in front of our fans. Delaware State is extremely talented and athletic. Delaware State has a very rich football tradition. Delaware State may have one of the most explosive teams we will play this season.”

The Tigers, who earned their highest national ranking ever in FCS football, own the second-longest winning streak in NCAA FCS (six games). It is also the longest winning streak by a Tiger football team since 1996-97 when theTigers won six games in a row.

Towson and Delaware State are meeting for the 16th time in a series that began in 1980. However, the teams have not played since 1994. Towson owns a 9-6 series advantage.

Towson is hoping to extend its history of success in home openers. The Tigers are 34-10 in home openers and have won their last nine home openers. Coach Ambrose is 4-0 in his home openers with two wins over Coastal Carolina and a victory over Morgan State and a win over William & Mary.

The Tigers enter their home opener with an explosive offensive team and a defensive unit that has allowed only 25 points in two games.

Led by senior quarterback Peter Athens (Huntingtown H.S./Huntingtown, Md.), the Tiger offense is averaging 41.0 points and 459.0 yards per game. Athens has completed 30 of 43 passes for 424 yards with one interception and three touchdowns. He is 18th in NCAA FCS in pass efficiency after two games.

Junior running back Terrance West (Northwestern H.S./Baltimore, Md.), a strong candidate for the Walter Payton Award, is tied for third in the nation in rushing, averaging 141 yards per game. West, who is the third-leading rusher in school history, has scored four touchdowns in the first two games. In his career, West has scored 48 touchdowns in 23 games.

Led by senior linebacker Telvion Clark (Granby H.S./Norfolk, Va.), the Tiger defense has allowed only three touchdowns in two games. The Tigers have yet to allow a rushing touchdown.

Towson’s defense ranks first in NCAA FCS in red-zone defense and has allowed only 33 per cent of teams reaching the red zone to score. Clark leads the team with 20 tackles.

Overall, the Tiger defense is ranked 12th in the nation, allowing 276.5 total yards per game.

The Tigers, who play four of their first five games on the road, will be back on the road next week when they visit North Carolina Central.

TIGER TALES: Last season, the Tigers were ranked third in FCS football in time of possession at 34:02 … In their first two games, the Tigers have controlled the clock for 36:13 … Towson is ranked sixth in FCS football.

With seven first downs in eight tries in the first two games, the Tigers lead FCS in fourth downs made and attempted … The Tigers have converted seven consecutive fourth down attempts and they have scored four touchdowns on those plays.

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Athens leads first practice after being named Towson starting QB

Posted on 23 August 2013 by WNST Staff

TOWSON, Md. - Only six days before the Tigers’ season opener at the University of Connecticut, fifth-year senior quarterback Peter Athens took control of the team’s offense at their Friday afternoon workout.

Athens, who started six games as a first-year freshman in 2009, was named as the team’s starting quarterback by Coach Rob Ambrose on Thursday afternoon. He had been engaged in a competition with sophomore Connor Frazier since the start of the pre-season.

“Pete earned the starting job because of his experience,” said Coach Ambrose. “We liked the way he took leadership of the offense and got the players to follow. He is an extremely good passer and we are confident he will do a great job.”

Athens calls the opportunity “a blessing.”

He added, “I am so grateful for this opportunity. Connor and I had a great competition for the last two weeks and we really pushed each other. We are great friends and he’s a good quarterback. He will get his chance.”

The Tigers will return to the practice field on Saturday night for a 7:15 practice under the lights at Unitas Stadium.

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Towson QB’s solid in final preseason scrimmage

Posted on 21 August 2013 by WNST Staff

TIGERS CONDUCT FINAL PRE-SEASON SCRIMMAGE

Athens, Frazier Continue To Compete For Starting Quarterback Job

TOWSON, Md. – With eight days remaining before the season opener at the University of Connecticut, the Tigers held their final scrimmage of the pre-season on Wednesday afternoon.

Coach Rob Ambrose guided his team through a 74-play scrimmage that featured some solid performances by the offense and some solid efforts by the defense. In addition, the team spent a lot of team on special teams play as well as situational offensive formations.

“This was a really good situational scrimmage for us,” said Coach Ambrose. “We did a lot of special teams work and ran our two-minute offense as well as red zone plays.

“I thought our first team offense and our first team defense looked sharp,” he added. “We aren’t ready to win a game yet but we will be ready by next Thursday.”

Senior Peter Athens and sophomore Connor Frazier turned in strong showings in their competition for the starting quarterback job.

On the first possession of the game, Athens drove the Tigers 75 yards in five plays for a very quick touchdown. On the drive, he completed all three pass attempts for 48 yards. He also capped off the drive with a 19-yard touchdown pass to junior Spencer Wilkins.

With Frazier at the controls, the Tiger offense scored on the third possession of the game. Frazier directed a 74-yard, nine-play march in which he completed all four pass attempts for 49 yards. Senior Sterlin Phifer capped off the drive with a one-yard touchdown run.

Senior wide receiver Leon Kinnard provided the biggest play of the drive when he made an acrobatic catch for a 35-yard gain to the defense’s 22-yard line.

Athens finished the scrimmage by completing six of nine passes for 70 yards and a touchdown. Frazier was also impressive a s he completed 12 passes in 16 attempts for 128 yards.

The Tigers will have a day off on Thursday before they start final preparations for the season opener next Thursday night.

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Towson shows improvement during second preseason scrimmage

Posted on 17 August 2013 by WNST Staff

TIGERS SHOW IMPROVEMENT DURING 2ND PRE-SEASON SCRIMMAGE
Derrick Joseph Has Productive Performance

TOWSON, Md. –
 With just 12 days remaining before the season opener at the University of Connecticut, the Towson University football team held its second scrimmage of the pre-season as they ran about 120 plays and went for more than two hours at Johnny Unitas® Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

At the end of the scrimmage, it was obvious that junior Derrick Joseph had improved his status on the team.

Joseph, a reserve wide receiver and an explosive kick return specialist during the last two years, took the opening kickoff of the scrimmage and returned it 92 yards for a touchdown. Then, he excelled at wide receiver, a spot where he is competing for playing time.

On the third possession of the scrimmage, he scored the first offensive touchdown of the game when he caught a 10-yard swing pass from Connor Frazier and avoided two tacklers on his way to the end zone. Later in the scrimmage, Joseph capped off a 55-yard, four-play touchdown drive by catching a 43-yard TD pass from senior quarterback Peter Athens.

He finished the scrimmage with four receptions for 81 yards and two touchdowns.

“Derrick is having one of the best pre-seasons of anyone I’ve had in my four years as the head coach,” said Towson Coach Rob Ambrose. “We are excited about the impact he can have with our team. He deserves a lot of credit because he has committed himself to being a complete football player.”

However, Coach Ambrose has still not decided who will be the Tigers’ starting quarterback when they open the season. Frazier and Athens appear to be the top two contenders for the spot.

“I’ve said all along that our starting quarterback will be the one who consistently outperforms the others,” he said. “We are looking for someone who does well in all phases of the game, efficiency, passing, running and directing the offense. Both Connor and Pete made some really nice plays today and they are getting better.”

Athens completed 11 of 15 passes for 173 yards and threw a pair of TD passes. In addition to his 43-yard TD pass to Joseph, he threw a 38-yard touchdown pass to junior Brian Dowling, a transfer from the University of Massachusetts. Frazier, who ran the ball well, completed five of six passes for 36 yards and a touchdown.

Coach Ambrose was especially pleased with the way the defense is playing. He said, “With the guys we have up front, we are a stout unit and we can do a good job stopping the other team’s running game. Arnold Farmer and Jon Desir do a great job closing off the gaps.”

With 12 days before the season opener, Ambrose admits “We aren’t there yet but we are getting better. The improvements are incremental but we are going in the right direction.”

After taking Sunday off, the Tigers will return to their two-a-day practice schedule on Monday.

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Athens leads two TD drives in Towson’s first summer scrimmage

Posted on 10 August 2013 by WNST Staff

TIGERS STAGE FIRST PRE-SEASON SCRIMMAGE 
Rob Ambrose Pleased With Tigers’ Performance

TOWSON, Md. – The Towson University staged an 80-play football scrimmage on Saturday afternoon and CoachRob Ambrose was very happy at the conclusion of the event.

“It was hot out here and I like it that way,” he said. “Everyone got a chance to play and everyone will get evaluated. The greatest thing about today was that we were better than yesterday and that’s what you are looking for.”

Prior to the scrimmage, hundreds of fans showed up to receive autographs and take photographs with the Tiger football team. Coach Ambrose and his players appeared, along with the Tigers’ mascot, Doc.

On the opening drive of the scrimmage, quarterback Connor Frazier directed a 75-yard, 14-play drive. Darius Victor, a first-year freshman, capped off the drive with a one-yard touchdown run. Frazier completed five of seven passes for 50 yards on the 14-play march.

Senior quarterback Peter Athens also led the Tiger offense on a scoring drive as the team marched 59 yards in only four plays. Athens completed all four passes for 44 yards and threw a 14-yard TD pass to Derrick Joseph.

Athens also led a 60-yard, two-play drive on his next possession as Navassa Brown scored on a 12-yard run. He set up the touchdown with a 48-yard pass completion to first-year freshman Andre Dessenberg.

Dessenberg was one of the standouts of the scrimmage with six receptions for 87 yards.

Those were the only two touchdown drives of the game although place kicker D.J. Soven booted a 48-yard field goal.

Linebacker Joe McCargo had the biggest defensive play of the scrimmage when he intercepted a pass and returned it 46 yards for a touchdown.

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Athens competing for starting QB job as Tigers continue practice

Posted on 06 August 2013 by WNST Staff

TOWSON, Md. - Four years ago, Peter Athens was a very young football player when he found himself starting at quarterback for the Tigers’ season opener at Northwestern University.

Only months removed from graduating from Huntington High School, he lined up behind center for Coach Rob Ambrose’s first game as the Tigers’ coach.

Athens was the Tigers’ starting quarterback for the first six games of the 2009 season. He led the Tigers to wins over Coastal Carolina and Rhode Island while passing for 691 yards and six touchdowns. He also ran for 132 yards on 31 carries and scored a touchdown.

However, his college career took a detour in the Tigers’ Homecoming Game against Delaware. Athens suffered a torn ACL injury in the first quarter against the Blue Hens and missed the rest of the season.

In 2010, he spent the season as an injury red-shirt and sat out the season. During the 2011 and 2012 seasons, he served as the backup quarterback behind Grant Enders as Enders led the Tigers to back-to-back Colonial Athletic Association championships.

As he goes through his fifth pre-season camp with the Tigers, Athens finds himself competing for the starting position at quarterback. Every day at practice, he competes with junior Joe Brennan, sophomore Connor Frazier and red-shirt freshman Ryan Egolf for the starting quarterback position.

Whomever gets the starting nod will face a very formidable task – replacing Enders, an All-CAA selection.

“We have some players who can do the job at quarterback,” says Coach Ambrose. “It has been a great competition between them. What we need to determine is who will do the best job leading our offense.”

If Ambrose knows who will be the Tigers’ starter when they open the season at Connecticut, he isn’t saying. Of Athens, he says “Pete has a strong knowledge of our offense. He is talented and has experience so he will be a strong contender.

He also has words of praise for Brennan and Frazier. He says, “Joe has all the tools to be a very good quarterback. He is very talented and will get a long look.”

As for Frazier, Ambrose says “Connor is very young and intellegent. He has a bright future here.”

The Tigers return to practice on Wednesday with two practice sessions scheduled. It will be the Tigers’ first two-a-day this year.

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Towson football set to open preseason camp this week

Posted on 30 July 2013 by WNST Staff

TIGERS OPEN PRE-SEASON PRACTICE SESSIONS THIS WEEK 
Tigers Open Preparations For 2013 Season

TOWSON, Md. – Coming off back-to-back Colonial Athletic Association championship seasons, Coach Rob Ambrose and the Towson University football team open pre-season preparations this week when 93 players report to the pre-season camp. The Tigers report to camp on Thursday, August 1 and start practice on Friday, August 2.

The Tigers will hold 27 practice sessions between now and their season opener on Thursday, August 29 at the University of Connecticut.

Highlighting the Tigers’ pre-season practice schedule are Fan Day on August 10 and Media Day on August 21. The Tigers will have five days in which they practice twice.

The Tigers, who have posted a 16-7 record over the last two seasons, have eight starters returning on offense and seven starters on defense. A consensus NCAA FCS Top 25 pre-season selection, Towson was picked to finish second in the Colonial Athletic Association in a pre-season poll of coaches and media.

Seven Tigers were named to the CAA’s Pre-Season All-Conference team, including running back Terrance West (Northwestern H.S./Baltimore, Md.), tackles Eric Pike (Duval H.S./Landover, Md.) and Randall Harris (Duval H.S./Lanham, Md.), fullback Emmanuel Holder (Calvert Hall H.S./Baltimore, Md.) linebacker Monte Gaddis (Cleveland Central Catholic H.S./Cleveland, Ohio) and cornerbacks Jordan Love (Deep Run H.S./Washington, D.C.) and Tye Smith (Wakefield H.S./Raleigh, N.C.).

While the Tigers return all five starting offensive linemen and the top running back, the quarterback competition will be one of the main features of pre-season camp. Senior Peter Athens (Huntingtown H.S./Huntingtown, Md.), sophomore Connor Frazier (Damascus H.S./Gaithersburg, Md.) and junior Joe Brennan (Camden Catholic H.S./Audubon, N.J.) are the top candidates for the job.

Named as the CAA Pre-Season Offensive Player of the Year, West has run for 2,340 yards in two seasons while scoring 43 rushing touchdowns in 21 games.

Along with Gaddis, sophomore Bryton Barr (Mechanicsburg H.S./Camp Hill, Pa.) and senior Telvion Clark(Granby H.S./Norfolk, Va.) return to lead the Tigers’ linebacking corps. Last season, Gaddis and Barr tied for second on the team with 74 tackles while Clark made 49 tackles.

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Towson holds first spring football scrimmage

Posted on 06 April 2013 by WNST Staff

TOWSON, Md. - On Saturday morning, the Tigers held their full scrimmage of the spring season and Coach Rob Ambrose was encouraged by most of what he saw.

“Considering it was the first time that we played 11-on-11 football since last November at New Hampshire, it wasn’t too bad,” said Coach Ambrose. “We have a lot of guys that we need to evaluate and this was a great opportunity to see them play.

“This was ‘real deal’ football,” he added. “We ran 90-to-100 plays and they were much-needed. We had a chance to play as 11 and it was encouraging.”

While he was pleased with most of the team’s performance, Ambrose admitted he was very disappointed in the play of his quarterbacks. Peter Athens, Joe Brennan and Connor Frazier have been battling for the starting position and none of them has stepped up to claim the job.

“We have been very disappointed with the play of the quarterbacks – all of them,” said Ambrose. “We expect better. We need to find someone who can move the ball consistently and run the offense with confidence. But, we’ve got a lot of practices to figure that out.”

The Tigers will resume their spring practice schedule on Tuesday morning at 5:30 a.m.


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Towson to start practices at 5:30am during Spring football

Posted on 27 March 2013 by WNST Staff

TIGERS TO OPEN SPRING SEASON ON THURSDAY MORNING

Tigers To Conduct Early Morning Practice Sessions 

TOWSON, Md. – For the third year in a row, Coach Rob Ambrose and the Towson University will be getting an early start to their Spring Football practices. The Tigers will hold their weekday sessions at 5:30 a.m. for the next five weeks.

The Tigers will practice at 5:30 a.m. on Tuesday and Thursday during the week. On Saturday, the Tigers will hold practice sessions at various times. The Tigers’ spring season will conclude with Tiger Bowl III on Saturday, April 27.

Despite the loss of 16 seniors from last year’s team, Coach Ambrose and his staff will welcome 58 returning letter winners when the Tigers open their spring practice session on Thursday, March 28 at 5:30 a.m.

Coach Ambrose and his staff have been conducting early morning practices the last two years, and the results have been noticeable.

In 2011, the Tigers were the most-improved team in FCS football as they posted a 9-3 record and won their first Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) championship. They finished the season as the ninth-ranked team in the nation and earned a berth in the FCS playoffs.

Last year, the Tigers won their last four games of the season and finished with a 7-4 record. They also earned a share of the CAA championship as they tied for the title with New Hampshire, Richmond and Villanova. However, the Tigers did not receive an at-large bid to the NCAA playoffs.

“It is a common belief in the CAA that we have one of the toughest teams in the conference and I think it all starts with our early-morning practices,” says Ambrose. “It has been said that ‘the strong steel comes from the hottest fire’ and that’s part of what we are doing.

“The things that we are doing before many people eat breakfast help to make us who we are now,” he adds. “We also feel that this schedule is tremendous from the ‘student’ aspect. Our players are done with their football obligations by 10 a.m. every day and that leaves them the rest of the day to be regular students.”

Despite some significant losses to graduation, Coach Ambrose has high hopes for the Tigers. The Tigers return all five starters on the offensive line and All-American running back Terrance West (Northwestern H.S./Baltimore, Md.). On defense, the Tigers have all three starting linebackers returning in addition to a pair of All-CAA cornerbacks.

“We are looking forward to a very productive spring,” says Ambrose. “Everybody has a bad taste in their mouth after the way last season ended. Although we were hoping for an at-large berth to the playoffs, we were disappointed that we didn’t take care of business when we had the opportunity.

“Winning a CAA championship is extremely difficult,” he adds. “Winning back-to-back championships is darn near impossible. We have had a 13-3 record in the CAA the last two years, but there has been zero conversation in the locker room about what we’ve done. This team is focused on what we need to get it done again.”

According to Ambrose, the Tigers have several needs to address.

“We need to find our quarterback and figure out who our wide receivers will be,” he said. “Defensive line is also an area where we have to figure out who will play. We lost three starters on the defensive line.

“But, we are not concerned,” he adds. “We have quality players in all of these areas, but we need people to step up and claim the positions.”

Senior Peter Athens (Huntingtown H.S./Huntingtown, Md.), junior Joe Brennan (Camden Catholic H.S./Audubon, N.J.) and sophomore Connor Frazier (Damascus H.S./Gaithersburg, Md.) are the top candidates for the starting position at quarterback. Athens has started seven games in his career while Brennan is a transfer from the University of Wisconsin. Frazier appeared in three games as a back-up last year.

Sophomore Price Litton (Providence Day School/Matthews, N.C.) and red-shirt freshman Ryan Egolf (Bishop Shanahan H.S./Phoenixville, Pa.) will also receive a long look.

The quarterback who emerges as the Tigers’ starter will have the luxury of working behind a talented and experienced offensive line. The Tigers could have a veteran senior starting at all five positions.

Seniors Eric Pike (DuVal H.S./Landover, Md.) and Randall Harris (DuVal H.S./Lanham, Md.) return as the two tackles.  Pike and Harris were each named All-CAA first team selections as juniors. Pike is the more experienced of the two tackles and he has started all 34 games of his career.

Senior Doug Shaw (Loyola Blakefield H.S./Woodbine, Md.) returns at offensive center. A third-year starter, he was named second-team All-CAA last season. Seniors Anthony Davis (Clover Hill H.S./Richmond, Va.) and Charles Johnson (Poly H.S./Baltimore, Md.) could be the team’s starting guards. However, they will be pressured by some talented young linemen who will be trying to impress the coaching staff this spring.

For the last two years, the Tigers have had one of the top running games in FCS football, averaging 229.0 yards per game. With the return of West, that shouldn’t change. In two seasons, West has run for 2,376 yards in 21 games and has scored an amazing total of 43 rushing touchdowns. Senior Sterling Phifer (Landstown H.S./Virginia Beach, Va.) and junior Trea Jones (Wake Forest Rolesville H.S./Wake Forest, N.C.) will back him up.

Linebackers Monte Gaddis (Central Catholic H.S./Cleveland, Ohio), Telvion Clark (Granby H.S./Norfolk, Va.) and Bryton Barr (Mechanicsburg Area H.S./Camp Hill, Pa.) return as the heart of a defense that was top-ranked in the CAA last year.

Gaddis earned second-team All-CAA honors last season after making 74 tackles in 10 games. He ranked among the CAA leaders with 12 tackles for lost yardage and five sacks. A transfer from Virginia Tech, Clark made 49 tackles and recovered a fumble. As a first-year freshman, Barr made an immediate impact. A starter in 11 games, he had 74 tackles with two sacks. He also led the team with two fumble recoveries.

Senior Jordan Love (Deep Run H.S./Glen Allen, Va.) and junior Tye Smith (Wakefield H.S./Raleigh, N.C.) return at the cornerback positions. A transfer from Georgia, Love had 35 tackles and intercepted two passes. He was named second team All-CAA. A two-year starter at cornerback, Smith was a third team All-CAA selection. He led the Tigers with 75 tackles and had two forced fumbles.

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