Towson looks for 2-0 start at Holy Cross Saturday

September 07, 2013 | WNST Staff

WORCESTER, Mass. – Hoping to extend their five-game winning streak, Coach Rob Ambrose and the fifth-ranked Tiger football team will travel to Holy Cross on Saturday afternoon to face the Crusaders at Fitton Field. Kickoff is set for 1:00 p.m.

The Tigers, who opened their season with an impressive 33-18 victory at Connecticut last week, have won their last five games dating back to last season. The Tigers finished off the 2012 season with four straight wins over Villanova, Delaware, Rhode Island and New Hampshire. The win over UConn extended the winning streak. Towson has the second-longest winning streak in FCS football, topped only by North Dakota State.

The Towson-Holy Cross game will be broadcast back to the Baltimore area on withSpiro Morekas, Ron Meehan and Zach Maskavich describing the action.

Strangely enough, this will be the third consecutive game that the Tigers will play in New England. They closed out the 2012 with a 64-35 win at New Hampshire and they opened the 2013 campaign with a win at UConn.

The Tigers, who have their highest-ever FCS national ranking this week, will be facing Holy Cross for the eighth time. The teams met seven times from 1997 to 2003 when both schools were members of the Patriot League. Towson owns a 4-3 series lead and won the last two contests between the schools. Holy Cross has a 2-1 record against Towson at Fitton Field.

“Holy Cross is a good football team,” says Towson Coach Rob Ambrose. “They are very good on offense and they can pile up a lot of yardage and a lot of points when they are clicking.”

The Tigers, who were ranked 11th in the nation prior to their win at Connecticut, were led by junior running backTerrance West and senior running back Sterlin Phifer in the win at UConn. Both West and Phifer scored two touchdowns in the win.

West, who was named as the Colonial Athletic Association Offensive Player of the Week for the fourth time in his career, ran for 156 yards on 36 carries and scored touchdowns on a five-yard run and a six-yard run. Phifer, who transferred from Boston College prior to the 2011 season, caught a 23-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Peter Athens and scored on a five-yard TD run at UConn. Phifer ran for 39 yards on eight carries against the Huskies.

West enters this week’s game with 2,496 rushing yards in his career. He has scored 46 touchdowns in 22 career games and will tie Jason Corle’s career record when he scores his next touchdown.

In the win over UConn, the Tigers’ defensive unit played very well, holding the Huskies to 287 yards of total offense, including 81 rushing yards. Senior linebacker Telvion Clark led the Tigers with a career high 13 tackles. He also recorded one of the Tigers’ five sacks in the win.

Sophomore linebacker Bryton Barr had eight tackles, including 1.5 tackles for lost yardage. Sophomore defensive tackle Jon Desir had four tackles in the first start of his career. He also came up with one of the biggest plays of the game when he tipped a screen pass into the air and intercepted at the UConn 29-yard line. That play set up Phifer’s five-yard touchdown run which put the Tigers ahead to stay in the second quarter.

Playing in his first game as a Tiger, junior defensive end Ryan Delaire (made three tackles and had 1.5 sacks. Delaire is a transfer from the University of Massachusetts.

Delaire is one of two transfer students from UMass on the Tiger roster. Junior Brian Dowling  had an important 45-yard reception in the win over UConn.

Next week, the Tigers return home to host Delaware State on Sept. 14 at 7:30 p.m.

TIGER TALES: Towson was one of seven FCS programs to post a victory over an FBS team on the first weekend of the college football season … North Dakota State, Northern Iowa, Eastern Washington, Southern Utah, McNeese State and Eastern Illinois also pulled off upsets.

When the Tigers beat Connecticut, it marked the 30th time that a CAA school had beaten an FBC program … CAA schools are responsible for some of the most surprising FBS/FCS upsets … In 2006, New Hampshire beat Northwestern (34-17) … In 2010, James Madison upset Virginia Tech (21-16).

Last season, the Tigers were ranked third in FCS football in time of possession at 34:02 … In their season opener, the Tigers continued that trend as they controlled the clock for 36:23 … That ranks seventh in FCS football.