Towson wraps regular season Saturday at James Madison

November 22, 2013 | WNST Staff

No. 7 TIGERS HOST JAMES MADISON IN REGULAR SEASON FINALE

Tigers To Honor 19 Seniors In Pre-Game Ceremonies

TOWSON, Md. –  Closing out the regular season against Colonial Athletic Association rival James Madison University, Coach Rob Ambrose and the Towson University football team will try to improve their resume for the NCAA FCS playoffs when they host the Dukes on Saturday, Nov. 23 at 3:30 p.m.

The Tigers, who are 9-2 overall and 5-2 in the CAA, have been ranked in the NCAA FCS for most of the season. They should be part of the playoff field but a win over James Madison could earn them a top eight seed.

The game will be televised on NBC SportsNet with Todd Harris and Anthony Herron calling the action.

“We don’t talk about the playoffs in the locker room, says Ambrose, who has guided the Tigers to their third consecutive winning season. “That’s a wasted conversation. We just focus on the next play and the next game. If we win, all of those things will take care of themselves.”

The Dukes, who have gone to the NCAA playoffs five times since 2004, bring a 6-5 overall record and a 3-4 CAA mark to Unitas Stadium for the 25th meeting between the schools.

James Madison holds an 18-5-1 series lead over Towson and has won the last eight meetings in a row. However, the last two games have been very close. In 2010, the Dukes escaped Unitas Stadium with a 17-13 victory. Last year, JMU had to come from behind to edge Towson in the final minute, 13-10.

“We see the bigger picture but we have to focus on the things that make us who we are,” adds Ambrose. “We still have a home game against a tough opponent and it is Senior Day for a group of seniors that helped lay the foundation for success long after this season and we need to celebrate them in the right way.”

The Tigers will be honoring a class that went from rags-to-riches over the last four seasons. When the seniors were freshmen in 2010, they had to endure a 1-10 season. However, they have led Towson to a 25-9 record over the last three seasons.

On Saturday, the Tigers will be honoring quarterback Peter Athens (Huntingtown H.S./Huntingtown, Md.), linebacker Telvion Clark (Granby H.S./Norfolk, Va.), guard Anthony Davis (Clover Hill H.S./Midlothian, Va.), linebacker Anthony DiSanzo (Don Bosco Prep/Fair Lawn, N.J.), kicker Drew Evangelista (Cedar Grove H.S./Cedar Grove, N.J.), tight end Will Fleming (Archbishop Hoban H.S./Akron, Ohio), defensive tackle Arnold Farmer (Poly H.S./Baltimore, Md.), linebacker Monte Gaddis (Central Catholic H.S./Cleveland, Ohio),  tackleRandall Harris (DuVal H.S./Lanham, Md.), guard Charles Johnson (Poly H.S./Baltimore, Md.), wide receiverLeon Kinnard (Loyola H.S./Reisterstown, Md.), cornerback Jordan Love (Deep Run H.S./Washington, D.C.), cornerback Ryan Mays (Franklin H.S./Reisterstown, Md.), tight end James Oboh (Sherwood H.S./Olney, Md.), running back Sterlin Phifer (Landstown H.S./Virginia Beach, Va.), tackle Eric Pike (DuVal H.S./Landover, Md.), linebacker Eric Schuster (Reservoir H.S./Laurel, Md.), center Doug Shaw (Loyola H.S./Woodbine, Md.) and kicker D.J. Soven (Cypress Bay H.S./Weston, Fla.).

In that group of 19 seniors, 10 of them are Maryland natives.

In addition, the senior class includes two All-Americans (Pike and Love) and five players who have earned All-Colonial Athletic Association honors.

Saturday’s game will be an important one for Pike, the Tigers’ 6-5, 298-pound tackle. On the Tigers’ first offensive play, he will set a school record by playing in the 46th game of his college career. Not only has he played in 46 games, he has also started every one of them.

The Tigers are coming off an impressive 15-9 victory at No. 16 William & Mary last week. Despite being held to their lowest offensive totals in 18 games, the Tigers pulled out the win by shutting out the Tribe in the second half.

In Saturday’s game, junior Terrance West (Northwestern H.S./Baltimore, Md.) will lead the Tiger ground game against the top run defense in the CAA. James Madison is allowing only 97.5 rushing yards per game and has given up only eight rushing touchdowns.

West leads NCAA FCS with 1,765 rushing yards on 279 carries, an average of 160.5 rushing yards per game. He also leads the nation with 28 touchdowns on the season.

Freshman Darius Victor (Northwestern H.S./Hyattsville, Md.) has also been a major part of the Tigers’ success on the ground. He has rushed for 411 yards on 64 carries with five touchdowns. He is averaging 6.4 yards per carry.

The Tigers, who top the CAA in scoring with a school record 418 points, also lead the CAA with 2,711 rushing yards and 5,237 yards of total offense. They have scored 57 touchdowns this season, matching the school record set in 2011.

Clark leads the Tiger defense with 99 tackles in 11 games. He has 4.5 sacks and 9.5 tackles for lost yardage. Clark has forced four fumbles and recovered three fumbles. A two-time selection as the CAA Defensive Player of the Week, he was the National Defensive Player of the Week after the Tigers’ win at Richmond.

Gaddis is tied for second on the team with 77 tackles in 11 games. He has two interceptions and one recovered fumble.

The Tigers, who have won 13 of their last 15 games dating back to last season, will learn their NCAA FCS post-season fate on Sunday, Nov. 24 at 11:30 a.m. The team will gather at PAWS in the University Union to watch the selection show. Towson football fans are invited to join the team at PAWS.

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