DEFENSE DOMINATES TIGER BOWL III AS BLACK DEFEATS GOLD, 7-0
TOWSON, Md. – Since Tiger Bowl III was dominated by the defenses, it was somewhat appropriate that a huge defensive play set up the only touchdown of the game.
Early in the fourth quarter, safety Thomas Bradley of the Black team intercepted a pass at the Gold team’s 30-yard line and returned it to the two-yard line. Three plays later, quarterback Price Litton scored on a one-yard run to the Black team a 6-0 lead. Drew Evangelista’s conversion kick gave the Black team a 7-0 lead.
In a game in which the offenses combined for 417 yards, there were five turnovers and three missed field goal attempts.
“We didn’t have any ambulances coming on the field and nobody got carried off the field injured,” said Coach Rob Ambrose. “So I am happy.”
Bradley, who started at strong safety last season as a sophomore, was one of the defensive stars of Tiger Bowl III. He made a game high 12 tackles and had the interception and 28-yard return.
“Thomas has done well this spring,” said Ambrose. “He has grown into his role and he has grown into a young man. He will be an important player on our defense this season.”
All six quarterbacks on the roster saw action in Tiger Bowl III and the results were not what Ambrose was hoping for.
“Every one of our quarterbacks has potential and the ability to lead our football team,” he said. “However, I am disappointed in the lack of consistency. Whoever shows the ability to execute the game plan successfully without turning the ball over and without making mistakes will be our quarterback.”
Senior Peter Athens was the most productive quarterback in Tiger Bowl III. He completed 17 of 21 passes for 174 yards. He also ran for nine yards six carries. Junior Joe Brennan, a transfer from Wisconsin, completed 5 of 11 passes for 57 yards but he was sacked five times.
Litton completed five of six passes for 52 yards while Ryan Egolf threw one incomplete pass. Freshman Heath Dahlgren completed his only pass for 12 yards while sophomore Connor Frazier was 5-for-10 for 57 yards with two interceptions.
“It’s probably not a good thing to read too much into this game,” cautioned Ambrose. “We had a number of regular starters who didn’t play in the game. For instance, Eric Pike didn’t play because of an injury. He is an All-American tackle who has started every game the last three years. When you take him out of the lineups, there are going to be more sacks.”
In fact, there were 10 sacks recorded in the Tiger Bowl. Sophomore defensive tackle Tungie Coker had four sacks while Syd Holt made two sacks.
Coker and defensive back Walt Dunston led the Gold team with six tackles each.
Sophomore Navassa Brown was the top ball carrier in the game. He ran for 61 yards on nine carries and had a 27-yard run. All-American Terrance West picked up 30 yards on seven carries for the Gold team.
Junior Spencer Wilkins led all players with seven catches for 61 yards while senior tight end James Oboh had a very strong performance. He caught five passes for 100 yards and had the longest play of the game when he hailed in a 35-yard reception.
“James Oboh showed what he can do today,” said Ambrose. “He has been growing into his role. James took a big step today because he kept making plays when he was tired. That was a great sign.”
Freshman Javani Rodriguez caught six passes for 89 yards to lead the Black team.
“This has been a very productive spring,” admitted Ambrose. “”We weren’t dealing with many of the distractions that we had last season. We were very focused. There was no conversation about sharing the Colonial Athletic Association championship. We are upset about what we didn’t do last year and the focus has been fantastic.”
Ambrose also added, “We have a very talented freshman class coming in. I can imagine that some of them will work their way on to the roster and contribute this season.”
The Tigers, who were 7-4 last season and shared the CAA championship, will open the 2013 season on August 30 when they visit the University of Connecticut.