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Dear Joe Flacco: I’ll never let ‘em forget how “elite” you were here in Baltimore

Posted on 17 March 2019 by Nestor Aparicio

Dear Joe:

As I told you when I tossed you a text five minutes after you were traded to the Denver Broncos last month, it was going to take me a little while to process it all and write an appropriate “exit” letter as you graduate on from the Baltimore Ravens and become a guy who is annually “in our way” whilst trying to win the next few Super Bowls.

Over the past few years, I have made it no secret that you are my all-time favorite Baltimore sports athlete. Oh, sure, others have Brooks or Cal or Ray – and I know and greatly respect those arguments and can make them myself – but you will forever be my No. 1 guy for a myriad of reasons both personal and professional that I will finally make public here upon your less-than-flattering departure.

As my WNST partner Brian Billick always likes to point out: “When you win a Super Bowl, they say they can never take it away from you. But that doesn’t stop them from trying…

Perhaps it’s the underdog Dundalk guy and Horatio Alger fire burning within me that admires you so much but your story has been my lifetime favorite to watch unfold and cover as a Baltimore sports fan who has had the pleasure to get to know you better than most since that fateful day in April 2008 when you became the “next quarterback up” after so many broken promises not named Trent Dilfer or Earl Morrall.

And, as you know, I’ve seen them all since the early 1970s and professionally since 1984. Marty Domres. Bert Jones. Art Schlichter. Mike Pagel. And all of the purple branches of the wilted, lavender Vinny Testaverde tree that you learned about upon your arrival.

Through all of the years and all the sports, you are my favorite story – the underdog, Division Not One quarterback who came down from Philly via my Aunt Clara’s hometown of Newark, Delaware and her beloved Blue Hens and delivered Baltimore a Super Bowl parade.

Joe, unless you go out to Denver and find the fountain of Kurt Warner, you’re not going to Canton for a bust measurement so that’ll always be the first knock on you because you’re not a Hall of Famer. And, of course, these last six years of not qualifying for January or winning enough postseason games that no longer made the Ravens believe in you as a franchise quarterback – in name, salary or depth chart – at 34 years old.

Oh, sure, last week there were heartwarming videos from Owings Mills that made the room dusty as your trade became official. And between now and whenever they bring you and your family back after you’ve acquired more silver on your temples and chin, you’ll have an afternoon to address Baltimore again whenever they immortalize you in the Ravens’ Ring of Honor.

But I wanted to wait to see what a press conference would look like with you in another uniform before I inked this farewell tome. I must say, with zero shock, that it looked just like the ones in Owings Mills except for the orange and blue horse and John Elway (as you know, an original Baltimore “Satan” from the history book of Irsay and the Colts) standing next to you.

John Elway says you’re entering your prime.

The Ravens made a teary-eyed video after benching your ass and trading you for a 4th-round draft pick.

From your point of view, let’s skip the formalities and talk Street Philly  – your profane language of choice, which makes me love you even more – for what really happened. They believed in you so little last April that they drafted your replacement, you got hurt midway through another potential playoff year and then you were never heard from again. They wasted no time in throwing your expensive ass outta here. Even though they loved you, they believed you were overpriced, and the “sell by” date on your carton expired sometime around 2017. They never called you “washed up” – but the Baltimore Ravens didn’t believe in you anymore and the world watched it unfold every time John Harbaugh praised Lamar Jackson at the podium after another

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Chapter 7: How to find a franchise quarterback

Posted on 19 February 2019 by Nestor Aparicio

 

“You can always look at how the guys play. You just look at the tape. But at the combine you find out what kind of people they are. What’s important to them? How important is football to them? How important is their family to them? If we get those two things right, we’ll be right most of the time.”

 – John Harbaugh (March 2008)

 

 

 

 

 

AN NFL SCOUT’S LIFE EXISTS with the perpetual hope that every time he shows up on a campus to watch a kid run, or gets on a plane to fly to a college town to see a game in the fall, or fires up his iPad to watch film, he wants to believe he’s about to find the next player who will help his team win the Super Bowl.

It’s the eternal quest for any NFL scout – find the next Pro Bowl player who can become a Hall of Famer. Or, at the very least, find a player who can help you win every year for the next decade.

By the time Baltimore Ravens area scouts Andy Weidl and Joe Douglas got in their cars and made the one hour drive north up Interstate 95 from Owings Mills to Newark, Delaware on November 10, 2007, Joe Flacco wasn’t a secret to the college scouting world. And he certainly was no stranger to Douglas, who joined the team in 2000 and is known to all in the Ravens organization as “Big Joe D,” whose job it was to scout the Northeast for the team from 2003 through 2008. Douglas was made famous during the Ravens’ summer of 2001 filming of “Hard Knocks” on HBO as “The Turk,” the lowly scout who has the duty of summoning players from the locker room to the office of the head coach where “Coach wants to see you, bring your playbook” means you’ll be leaving the campus and chasing your NFL dream elsewhere.

Incidentally, UrbanDictionary.com defines “turk” as “someone who is extremely brave.” Joe Douglas spent six months talking Ozzie Newsome, Eric DeCosta and Joe Hortiz into drafting a Division 1-AA quarterback from Delaware in the first round of the NFL draft.

Douglas, by any measurement, is as brave as Joe Flacco is fearless.

By 2007, Douglas had moved up the ranks of the scouting system and was making that fateful Saturday a “quarterback doubleheader” – a rare chance to see two teams in one day, both with targets who could be the next quarterback of the Baltimore Ravens. The afternoon game in Newark featured the Delaware Blue Hens hosting the Richmond Spiders in a Division I-AA matchup. The nightcap on the docket was Boston College visiting the Maryland Terps in College Park and Douglas would be joined by longtime Ravens scouts Eric DeCosta and Joe Hortiz, whom he’d meet at the I-95 Park and Ride near Catonsville so they could travel together to Byrd Stadium. Their target that evening was visiting Eagles quarterback Matt Ryan, who many thought would be the first quarterback – if not the first player – taken in the April 2008 draft.

Incidentally, Douglas was rooting hard for Richmond that afternoon and not out of disdain for Flacco or Delaware. Douglas was the starting left tackle for the Spiders from 1995-1998 and had been through many battles with the Blue Hens on the field. He was also quite familiar with many of the coaches and players in this contest. Even when he didn’t attend Richmond games – and it was rare to see his alma mater in person because NFL scouts don’t scout a lot of I-AA football games unless there’s a specific prospect they want to evaluate – his father would give him weekly Spiders reports from stands.

It was Douglas’ dad, Joel Douglas, who first told Big Joe D about Joe Flacco a year earlier after seeing the 2006 matchup in Richmond.

“He went to the game with my uncle and he called me up and said, ‘I don’t know who that Delaware quarterback was, but Richmond couldn’t stop him,’” Douglas said of a day when Flacco, then a junior who was making his seventh start for the Blue Hens, went 31-of-45 for 305 yards and a pair of TD passes in a come-from-behind 28-24 win over the Spiders. “Honestly, I was more mad that Richmond blew the lead than I was concerned about who Delaware’s junior quarterback was that day.”

The NFL scouting calendar begins in May after the draft. DeCosta and Hortiz enlist the entire organization to target potential candidates to scout for the following year. By August, the scouts plan their entire schedule for the fall, trying to chunk as many practices, games, campus visits and interviews as possible into the schedule while also trying to see the Ravens play some games at home and away. As an NFL scout, this is the most important time of

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Chapter 8: Just a regular Joe

Posted on 14 February 2019 by Nestor Aparicio

 

“That’s just Joe being Joe! Joe is always gonna be Joe.”

– Ray Lewis (Nov. 2012)

 

 

 

 

THE TALLEST BUILDINGS IN THE skyline over downtown Philadelphia are vividly clear over the gridiron at Audubon High School. Not too far from this small town in New Jersey in the distance you can see the Comcast Center and One Liberty Place tower over Center City in the City of Brotherly Love. The white cement structure that serves as bleachers behind a tiny brick school façade can almost be confused for something from a movie set in 1950s Americana.

It was a field of dreams for Joe Flacco, but not necessarily a field of victories. Hop on the internet and take a look at the picture of his wife snapping him a bottle of champagne as if it were a football as part of their wedding album. She’s the center. His groomsmen are the linemen. Then you will understand this field and this scene. This is the place where Joe Flacco led the Audubon Green Wave to a 4-6 finish in his 2002 senior football season.

“We stunk,” says Flacco of his tiny high school with less than 100 in each graduating class. “It was a small school, and we were never really good, but we loved playing here. Football here was always fun because it was always with your friends and the kids you grew up with from the neighborhood.”

To understand and to fully appreciate Joe Flacco, you need to visit Audubon, New Jersey and see his view of the world as a Super Bowl MVP and Baltimore sports hero, where for months after the win storefronts still had homemade posters and window stickers celebrating their unlikely hometown champion.

“Where I live and where I’m from it’s right in the middle of the middle of all hardcore Philly sports fans,” Flacco said. “Philadelphia is in Pennsylvania, but the Jersey side is the heart of the fan base for all of the teams. It’s all Eagles, Phillies, Flyers, and Sixers here. It’s always been like that, and it’ll always be like that. I’ve been around crazy, passionate, vocal fans all my life.”

These Philadelphia natives are the same fans who are famous for once booing Santa Claus. Toughness kinda came with the turf for Joe Flacco.

His hometown doesn’t look quite like a scene from Rocky, like the west side of the Delaware River or Highlandtown in Baltimore with traditional East Coast row homes and narrow, one-way streets. It’s more like something from a John Mellencamp song, like “Small Town” or “Pink Houses.” It’s more Main Street USA with the very apparent stability of blue-collar family life and small ranch-style homes separated by modest yards, and picket fences. If it were Baltimore, it’d be Parkville or Catonsville – just closer to downtown.

Audubon High School is exactly six miles from the front gates of Lincoln Financial Field, where Flacco had his own rocky homecoming vs. the Eagles in a Ravens 24-23 loss in Week 2 of the 2012 season, his only chance in five years as Baltimore Ravens quarterback to play a regular season game just a long jog from his hometown.

In Audubon, Flacco is, well, just a regular Joe for the most part.

“It’s almost like a different life because I grew up around here. I’ve always been around here, and I hope it stays like this,” he said. “It’s my home. It’s where I want to be, close to my family. All of my family is here.”

Flacco’s ascension to Super Bowl MVP and World Champion reads straight from the library of the Horatio Alger catalog.

Son of a mortgage banker Steve Flacco and his wife, Karen, who were high school sweethearts, Joe is the oldest of six children – five boys and a girl. Flacco played three sports and loved all of them as long as he can remember. Despite his dad being just 5-foot-10, Joe went through a surprising and dramatic growth spurt in high school, sprouting more than six inches. His unusually strong arm caught the eye of a handful of college

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Chapter 7: Finally, a 1983 World Series crown for Baltimore

Posted on 16 August 2018 by Nestor Aparicio

(Originally published as a prelude to “Free The Birds” walkout in Sept. 2006, this is Part 7 of a 19 Chapter Series on How Baseball and the Orioles berthed WNST.net. Follow @FreeTheBirds12 on Twiter for updated information regarding our April 5th events.)

Life was percolating along very nicely for me at the end of the summer of 1983.

There was that awesome trip to St. Louis, the Orioles were doing extremely well, the Phillies (again, I was an idiot!) were busting up Montreal in the NL East, I had a new girlfriend and my junior year at Dundalk High was coming.

Despite this “long distance” romance I was having with the Phillies, I was still VERY involved in going to Orioles games. I didn’t get to as many as I had before (again, once girls came along, it was all downhill for sports!), but I still did about 20 games on 33rd Street in 1983. And, like 1979, all in Sect. 10 General Admission seats, some with my Pop and some with my pals. All of those nights on those long, gold, aluminum benches, complete with the jar-rattling volume when banged on.

And the Phillies and Orioles, it would later be proved, were on a destiny’s collision course for the World Series in October.

But en route there was the AL Championship Series against the vaunted Chicago White Sox, led by Lamar Hoyt.

My Pop landed some right field seats for Games 1 and 2 of the ALCS at Memorial Stadium and we were all set. Right before the series my Dundalk buddy John Rafalides (at whose wedding I would later be the best man) gave me a buzz and told me his Dad, Pete, had an extra seat in Sect 39, Row 19 right behind home plate upstairs and asked if I wanted it since I was such an Orioles nut.

So, my Pop actually took my Mom to Game 2 and I went with Mr. Pete Rafalides, who was just a super cool guy. He was a realtor and connected with the Greek community. He loved talking sports with me and would always feed me cool munchies when I came to his home. And I mean he FED me! He always had the coolest snacks — Doritos, Dolly Madison cakes, Tastykakes, those chocolate malt balls, all sorts of great stuff!

I caught on quickly and made sure I got to go there every year for Thanksgiving! And later in life, when John became my roommate, I got the residual effect — the baklava, pastitsio, spanakopita, the grape leaves — from every Greek holiday!

But, for whatever reason, John’s dad liked me and off went we to Game 2 — me, Mr. Pete and two of his work friends. And we hung on every pitch! And Mike Boddicker pitched his ass off, a five-hit shuout over the White Sox, and we had a paaaaaah-tttaaaay in Sect. 39 that night. “Wild” Bill Hagy was going nuts over in Sect. 34. We had binoculars and I could see my folks over in right field having fun, too. That was just one of the greatest nights, even 23 years later.
I remember the smell of the air that night, the lights in the sky, how bright the field looked from up in that perch in Sect. 39. The steepness of the seats, the people crowded into that cozy ballpark and trees lined up in the outfield.

I can’t imagine my life without that night.

It was just a beautiful thing, that night. Life was perfect!

Two afternoons later Tito Landrum hit a 3-run homer off of Britt Burns that sent me and my 64-year old Mom onto Bank Street banging pots and pans with the shot heard ’round the beltway, a blast at Comiskey Park that sent the Orioles back into the World Series for the second time in four years and the sixth time in 17 years. I’ll say that again: the Orioles were in the World Series SIX times

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Ravens build more offensive depth with fifth-round picks

Posted on 02 May 2015 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — General manager Ozzie Newsome continued an offensive-minded 2015 draft in the fifth round with the selections of Delaware tight end Nick Boyle and Tennessee guard Robert Myers.

The 171st overall selection, Boyle was the second tight end drafted by the Ravens after they took Minnesota’s Maxx Williams with their second-round pick. The 6-foot-4, 270-pound lacks speed, but he possesses sound hands and will be counted on to primarily be a blocking tight end.

The selection of Boyle reinforces the idea that the Ravens can’t count on the return of veteran Dennis Pitta, who is still recovering from a second right hip dislocation and fracture suffered last September. Boyle caught 101 passes for 984 yards and 12 touchdowns in his four years with the Blue Hens.

Myers gives the Ravens depth on the interior line where standout guards Marshal Yanda and Kelechi Osemele are both set to become free agents at the end of the 2015 season. A Senior Bowl participant, the 6-foot-5, 330-pound lineman was a three-year starter at Tennessee State and was a favorite of Ravens offensive line coach Juan Castillo in the pre-draft evaluation process.

With Boyle and Myers both being taken in the fifth round, the Ravens drafted a total of three FCS-level prospects after selecting Texas Southern cornerback Tray Walker in the fourth round.

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Towson uses big second half comeback to top Delaware

Posted on 22 March 2014 by WNST Staff

TOWSON, Md. – Towson Lacrosse (7-2, 1-0 Colonial Athletic Association (CAA)) held Delaware (5-4, 0-2 CAA) scoreless for over 30 minutes en route to an 11-8 comeback win over the Hens on Saturday evening at Unitas Stadium.

After Delaware ended the first quarter with a 5-1 lead, the Hens increased their advantage to 8-4 just 1:18 before halftime on an unassisted goal from Beau Jones. But that was UD’s last tally of the evening as Towson outscored Delaware 7-0 over the final two periods.

Eight Tigers scored in the victory. Junior co-captain Greg Cuccinello, freshman Ryan Drenner and sophomore Ben McCarty each tallied two goals. Junior Justin Mabus posted a career-high five points on one goal and a career-best four assists. Steve DeLargy and Jeff Heath each had two goals for UD.

“All credit goes to Delaware; they came out firing at the start,” said Head Coach Shawn Nadelen. “We weren’t as focused as we should have been. Obviously it was a huge, huge turnaround for our guys in the second half and I couldn’t be more pleased and proud of our team.”

Towson started the game flat, while Delaware came out charging. The Hens scored the first five goals of the game before Mabus found the back of the net at 4:49 in the first quarter. He assisted senior Thomas DeNapoli’s extra-man goal at the start of the second quarter when UD was called for pushing.

Delaware stayed out in front of the Tigers, extending its lead to 7-2 on a goal from Tom Holland at 6:33 in the second frame. Drenner and Cuccinello scored back-to-back goals at 4:23 and 3:14, respectively, before Jones posted UD’s last goal of the night.

During the break Towson shook off its lethargy and stepped up its defense, limiting the Blue Hens to six total shots in the second half.

“I don’t think we shot that well,” said Cuccinello, of the first half. “What really got us going in the second half was being a man down [after a team penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct] and getting the stop. As an offense, we draw a lot of confidence from our defense. We kept getting stop after stop. We knew that if we kept shooting, they’d fall eventually.”

Freshman Joe Seider, McCarty and Cuccinello each scored in the third quarter before senior Max Siskindevened the game at 8-8 at 1:54 in the third. Siskind picked up an uncontrolled Delaware save and scored falling down from point-blank range. It was his team-leading fourth EMO goal of the season. McCarty notched the game winner at 10:25 in the fourth.

Next up, Towson travels to Hofstra on Saturday, March 29 for a 7 p.m. face-off.

NOTES: Towson is now 10-3 all time in CAA season openers … Towson and Delaware have now played six straight times in the Tigers’ CAA opener and Towson has a 5-2 overall record against the Hens in league openers … 32 games between TU and UD have been decided by three goals or less … Towson is 20-12 in those match ups.

COLLEGE MEN’S LACROSSE: Delaware 8, Towson 11
Delaware (5-4, 0-1 CAA) 5-3-0-0/8
Towson (7-2, 1-0 CAA)   1-3-4-3/11

GOALS: TOW – Cuccinello 2, Drenner 2, McCarty 2, Mabus, DeNapoli, Seider, Siskind, Grimaldi; UD – DeLargy 2, Heath 2, Kean, Kormondy, Jones, Holland. ASSISTS: TOW – Mabus 4, Cuccinello 2, Drenner; UD – DeLargy, Finigan, Keane, Kormondy, Martinelli. SAVES: TOW – T White (3, 60:00, 8 GA); UD – C Peaks (4, 60:00, 11 GA). SHOTS: TOW – 41; UD – 20. GROUND BALLS: TOW – 27; UD – 21. FACE-OFFS: TOW – 8-21; UD – 13-21. EMO: TOW – 2-4; UD – 1-3. CAUSED TURNOVERS: TOW – 5; UD – 2. ATT: 1076.

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Towson looks for sixth straight win Saturday against Delaware

Posted on 21 March 2014 by WNST Staff

TOWSON, Md. – Towson Lacrosse (6-2) will try to protect a five-game win streak when the Tigers end a three-game homestand with Delaware (5-3, 0-1 Colonial Athletic Association (CAA)) on Saturday, March 22 at 7 p.m.

Road Closure
Due to a construction project, Osler Drive will be closed on Saturday evening. Fans are advised to take an alternate route. From Charles Street:  divert at Emerson and route through West Village, reconnecting at Osler and to the stadium.

Coming from York Road Bypass, fan should continue south on York Road to Cross Campus and to Osler to approach the stadium.

Opening Face-Off

Towson’s 2013 CAA title defense begins Saturday against the Blue Hens. Towson extended its win streak to five games with a 10-8 win over UMBC on March 18 at home. Three Tigers scored two goals apiece en route to the win. Delaware lost its Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) opener to Hofstra, 11-9.

Updating the Tigers
The Tigers outlasted beltway rival UMBC on Tuesday, March 18 by the score of 10-8. The game was tied seven times. Seniors Max Siskind, Devin Grimaldi and Thomas DeNapoli each scored two goals. Junior Justin Mabus had two assists. Sophomore goalkeeper Tyler White made 12 saves on the day.

Scouting the Blue Hens
Delaware, whose win streak was the team’s longest since the 2010 season, jumped out to a 6-3 lead early in the second quarter, but the Pride scored six unanswered goals over the span of the second and third periods to take control and win their fourth straight game. A goal by Mike Malave with 9:58 left in the third quarter broke a 6-6 tie and put Hofstra up for good.

Towson-Delaware Series History
This is one of Towson’s oldest series. Starting in just the third season the Tigers had a program, the teams have met 54 times in the last 52 years. Towson has won six of the last nine meetings. Thirty-one have been decided by three goals or less; the Tigers are 19-12 in those games. Of the 31 matchups decided by three goals or fewer, 13 have been one-goal margins of defeat. Delaware holds the edge in those games, 7-6.

Last Time Out vs. Delaware: March 22, 2013 (Towson 7, Delaware 6 (ot))
Andrew Hodgson and Ben McCarty teamed up on the game-winning goal in overtime as Towson men’s lacrosse defeated Delaware, 7-6, at Delaware Stadium. For just the second time all season, Towson scored first and took a 2-1 lead into the second quarter. However Delaware scored five straight goals to take a 6-3 lead midway through the third quarter. The Tigers scored back-to-back goals in the fourth to trim the Hens’ lead to 6-5 with 8:09 remaining in the game and got last-minute heroics from Greg Cuccinello, who scored with 2.6 seconds left in regulation on a dribbler to send the game into overtime. Hodgson buried a high-low shot past the Delaware keeper from 13 yards out for the game winner with 1:45 showing on the clock in overtime.

Let’s Get It Started
The Tigers are 9-3 all-time in Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) season openers. Towson joined the CAA in 2002 and celebrated with an 18-4 win over Delaware. The Tigers and the Blue Hens have met six times in Towson’s CAA openers; the Tigers are 4-2 in those games. Tonight’s contest is the fifth-straight time Towson and UD have faced off in the Tigers’ league opener.

Next Up

The Tigers play the first of back-to-back road games when they take on the Hofstra Pride on Saturday, March 29 at 7 p.m.

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Towson hosts Delaware Monday for showdown of top CAA teams

Posted on 16 February 2014 by WNST Staff

TOP TWO TEAMS IN THE CAA SQUARE OFF ON MONDAY AS TOWON HOSTS DELAWARE
Tigers looking to give Blue Hens first CAA loss when the squads meet inside SECU Arena

TOWSON, Md. – The top two teams in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) are set to meet on Monday night as Towson hosts rival Delaware inside SECU Arena at 7 p.m.

The game can be seen live nationally on the NBC Sports Network with Mike Corey and Ron Thompson on the call. Fans can also listen to the game on the Towson Sports Network (TSN) with Spiro Morekas and Vince Angotti calling the action.

Delaware, which has won 13 straight games, is 19-7 overall and first-place in the CAA with a perfect 11-0 league record. Towson (17-9, 8-3 CAA) took control of second-place in the conference standings with an 85-70 win at William & Mary on Saturday.

The Blue Hens and the Tigers met earlier this season in Newark, Del. with UD pulling out an 83-76 win on its home floor.

Tiger senior Jerrelle Benimon scored 29 points and grabbed 16 rebounds in the first meeting between the squads. Benimon is currently tied for first in the nation in rebounds per game (11.6) and double-doubles (17).

Benimon was aided by the stellar play of classmate Mike Burwell in Towson’s win at William & Mary on Saturday. Burwell hit five three-pointers en route to scoring a career-high 23 points. The guard has scored in double figures in four of his last six games.

Delaware’s last loss came against St. Bonaventure on December 30. The Blue Hens boast the CAA’s top scoring offense at 80.3 points per game, led by senior Devon Saddler, who averages 20.4 points per game. Classmate Davon Usher averages 19.4 points per game overall and is leading the CAA by averaging 22.6 points per game in league contests.

Monday will be the 72nd all-time meeting between Towson and Delaware. The Blue Hens will pass Loyola as the Tigers most commonly played opponent of all-time. Delaware leads the all-time series 42-29 but Towson has won two of the last three meetings.

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Towson pays visit to rival Delaware Saturday

Posted on 24 January 2014 by WNST Staff

TOWSON TRAVELS TO DELAWARE ON SATURDAY FOR MATCH-UP OF TOP TWO CAA TEAMS
Tigers looking to win fourth straight road game

NEWARK, Del. — The Towson men’s basketball team will visit first-place Delaware on Saturday in a game that can be seen live on Comcast SportsNet.

Al Koken and John Feinstein will be on the television call, with the game scheduled to tip at 12:00 p.m. inside the Bob Carpenter Center.

Towson (12-7, 3-1 CAA) will be seeking its fourth straight road win and third straight victory over Delaware.

The Tigers are coming off a 57-54 loss to Northeastern on Wednesday. The loss snapped Towson’s five-game winning streak overall and 13-game home court winning streak.

Senior forward Marcus Damas led the Tigers with 21 points on 6-for-11 shooting, including a season-high five three-pointers. Damas has scored 20 or more points in two of his last three games.

Delaware (13-7, 5-0) is coming off an impressive 90-77 win at Drexel. The Blue Hens have won seven straight games overall and five straight at home. Senior guard Devon Saddler leads UD by averaging 21.8 points per game.

Delaware boasts the top scoring offense in the CAA as the Blue Hens average 81.1 points per game. UD also leads the league in free throw percentage (71.5) and three-point field goal percentage defense (30.7).

Saturday’s game will be the 71st all-time meeting between rivals, tying Delaware with Loyola as the Tigers most commonly played opponent all-time.

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Towson hosts Delaware in big CAA battle Saturday night

Posted on 01 November 2013 by WNST Staff

No. 7 TIGERS HOST No. 21 DELAWARE THIS WEEK

Tigers Face Blue Hens In Key CAA Contest

TOWSON, Md. –  Returning to Minnegan Field at Johnny Unitas® Stadium after two consecutive road games, Coach Rob Ambrose and the Towson University football team will host another Colonial Athletic Association contest between two ranked teams when the Tigers face Delaware at 7:00 p.m.

Ranked seventh in the NCAA FCS this week, the Tigers have an 8-1 overall record and a 4-1 CAA mark. The Blue Hens are 6-2 overall and 3-1 in the CAA.  Delaware moved into the Top 25 this week after its win over Rhode Island.

The game will be broadcast back to the Baltimore area on www.TowsonTigers.com with Spiro Morekas, Ron Meehan and Zack Maskavich calling the action.

The Tigers, who have won 12 of their last 13 games, will be seeking their second straight win over Delaware. Last season, Towson edged Delaware in overtime, 34-27. That ended Delaware’s five-game series winning streak. Towson and Delaware will be playing for the 15th time on Saturday night. Delaware owns a 9-5 series lead.

This week’s matchup will feature two of the top offenses in the CAA. Towson averages 41.3 points per game, eighth in the nation. The Tigers top the CAA in scoring while Delaware is third, averaging 34.2 points per contest. The Tigers also lead the CAA in total offense, averaging 489.2 yards per game.

While the Tiger offense is responsible for most of the Tigers’ 51  touchdowns, the Tigers have found other creative ways to score. Towson has scored five defensive touchdowns and two special teams touchdowns.

In the win over Richmond last week, the Tiger defense came up with two touchdowns. Sophomore safetyChristian Carpenter (Aberdeen H.S./Aberdeen, Md.) intercepted a pass and returned it 34 yards for a touchdown in the first half. Senior linebacker Telvion Clark (Granby H.S./Norfolk, Va.) returned a fumble 32 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Sophomore safety Donnell Lewis (Woodside H.S./Virginia Beach, Va. ) is responsible for two of the defensive touchdowns. He had a 43-yard fumble return for a TD at Stony Brook and he intercepted a pass and returned it 38 yards for a touchdown at Albany. Senior Thomas Bradley (Montgomery H.S./Gaithersburg, Md.) has the other defensive touchdown. He intercepted a pass and went 90 yards for a TD at Holy Cross.

Junior Derrick Joseph (McDonough H.S./Waldorf, Md.) scored both of the Tigers’ special teams touchdowns. He had kickoff returns for TD’s against Delaware State and Villanova.

Of course, junior running back Terrance West (Northwestern H.S./Baltimore, Md.) is responsible for most of the Tigers’ touchdowns. He leads the nation with 24 touchdowns in nine games. In fact, West has more touchdowns than five teams in the CAA and 46 teams in NCAA FCS.

A leading candidate for the Walter Payton Award, West also leads the nation in rushing with 1,402 yards in nine games. Last week, he became Towson’s career rushing leader in only his 30th college game. He now has 3,742 yards in his career and has scored a CAA record 66 rushing touchdowns. He has a total of 68 rushing touchdowns.

In the win over Richmond, West ran for a career high 272 yards on 29 carries and tied the school record by scoring five touchdowns. It was the second time this season that he scored five touchdowns in a game.

The matchup with Delaware is also a matchup of two of the best running backs in CAA history.

The Blue Hens are led by senior Andrew Pierce. The 10th-leading rusher in CAA history, Pierce has run for 4,278 yards in his career. He is sixth in the CAA in rushing yards with 641 yards on 133 carries.

Clark is having an outstanding senior season at linebacker for the Tigers. A two-time selection as the CAA Defensive Player of the Week, he ranks second in the CAA with 88 tackles in nine games. Clark is tied for the CAA lead with four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.

After making a career high 16 tackles at Richmond, he was named as the FCS National Defensive Player of the Week by The Sports Network.

After hosting Delaware this week, the Tigers will have a much-needed bye next week. The season resumes on Nov. 16 at William & Mary.

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