Towson takes tricky trip to Richmond Saturday

October 25, 2013 | WNST Staff

RICHMOND, Va. –  For the sixth time in nine games, Coach Rob Ambrose and the Towson University football team will go on the road this week when they visit Colonial Athletic Association rival Richmond on Saturday, Oct. 26 at 12 noon.

The game will be broadcast on Comcast SportsNet with Brent Harris and Qadry Ismail describing the action.

The Tigers, who are 7-1 overall and 3-1 in the CAA, will be facing a Richmond team that is much better than its record suggests. The Spiders have played in tough luck all season and have a 2-5 record. However, their five losses have come by a total of 20 points. Richmond has dropped three two-point decisions, losing to North Carolina State (23-21), Gardner-Webb (12-10) and Rhode Island (12-10).

“Their record means nothing to me,” says Coach Ambrose. “That is not an accurate reflection of how good they are. They have some great football players and they have some great coaches. You can throw out the records this week. This is another week in the CAA and we are going to have an extreme challenge.”

The Tigers enter the game at Richmond as one of the top teams in NCAA FCS football. Towson has been ranked in the NCAA FCS Top 10 all year long and was ranked third for three consecutive weeks. The Tigers’ 7-1 overall record is their best eight-game record as an NCAA FCS program.

The Tigers have been remarkably successful on the road. Towson has won eight consecutive road games, a streak that started on Oct. 27, 2012 with a 49-35 win at Villanova. The Tigers closed out the 2012 season with wins at Delaware and No. 7 New Hampshire to earn a share of the CAA championship with UNH, Villanova and Richmond.

Towson is 5-0 on the road this season, posting wins at Connecticut (33-18), Holy Cross (49-7), North Carolina Central (35-17), Stony Brook (35-21) and Albany (44-17).

The Tigers’ current eight-game road winning streak is the longest in program history.

“This team has a general mentality to focus and ignore the noise,” says Ambrose as he tries to explain the Tigers’ success on the road. “These guys are singularly-minded and they don’t pay attention to a lot of the other stuff that doesn’t matter. This team stays true to one another and does a good job maintaining its focus.”

Averaging 40.5 points per game, the Tigers are ranked eighth in the nation in scoring offense and they have been remarkably consistent. In their eight games, the Tigers have scored between 33 and 49 points every week.

Led by senior quarterback Peter Athens (Huntingtown H.S./Huntingtown, Md.), the Tigers are averaging 479.2 total yards per game. Athens has completed 144 of 289 passes for 1,981 yards and 11 touchdowns. He is ranked second in the CAA in passing yardage.

Junior Spencer Wilkins (Mount Hebron H.S./Ellicott City, Md.) has emerged as a dangerous wide receiver. In the last three games, he has caught 18 passes for 407 yards and three touchdowns. He has topped the 100-yard mark in three straight games, only the third Towson player to accomplish the feat. If he reaches 100 yards against the Spiders, he will be the first Tiger to reach that mark in four straight games.

Junior Terrance West (Northwestern H.S./Baltimore, Md.) enters the Richmond game as the leading rusher in the CAA. He has run for 1,130 yards on 191 carries and has scored 19 touchdowns. He enters the Richmond game as the second-leading rusher in school history with 3,470 yards and needs only 132 yards to pass Jason Corle, ’00 and become Towson’s all-time leader.

One of the leading candidates for the Walter Payton Award, West has rushed for more than 100 yards in six of Towson’s eight games this season. A three-time selection as the CAA Offensive Player of the Week, he has scored at least one touchdown in all eight games. In his career, West has scored 63 touchdowns in only 29 games.

Senior linebacker Telvion Clark (Granby H.S./Norfolk, Va.) leads the Tiger defense with 72 tackles in eight games. Clark ranks sixth in the CAA in tackles.

When the Tigers visit Richmond, they will be facing the Spiders for the ninth time. Richmond holds a 5-3 lead in the series and has won three of the last four contests.

The Tigers will be trying to reverse a disturbing trend when they visit Richmond. In the last four games, the Tigers have gotten off to very slow starts. In fact, the Tigers have been outscored by a 62-12 margin. Fortunately, the Tigers have bounced back to win three of those games.

At Stony Brook, the Tigers trailed by 14-0 before rallying for a 35-21 victory. In a 44-28 victory over New Hampshire, the Tigers had to overcome a 20-3 deficit. However, Villanova grabbed a 21-6 first quarter lead before holding on for a 45-35 win. Last week, the Tigers rallied from a 7-3 first quarter deficit and beat Albany, 44-17.

The Tigers have been a second half team all season. In the second half of games, the Tigers have outscored their opponents by a 159-49 margin. In the third quarter, Towson owns a 94-14 advantage.

After their trip to Richmond, the Tigers return to Minnegan Field at Johnny Unitas® Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 2when they host Delaware at 7:00 p.m.